This post will teach you how to make Fire Cider, a traditional winter tonic.
This post contains affiliate links based on my personal experience with products that support a seasonal lifestyle. As an amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. I hope you find them useful.
What is Fire Cider?
Fire Cider is a generic term for an apple cider based tonic intended to support wellness during the winter months. Recipes reflect regions and seasonal variations. At its core, onion, garlic, horseradish, and honey are steeped in unfiltered apple cider vinegar to create a tonic traditional for winter wellness regimens.
Herbalist Rosemary Gladstar explains the origins of Fire Cider rests in an experimental and instructional exercise with her students some 40 years ago. They were gathered in a course called Herbs for Winter Health at the California School of Herbal Studies in Sonoma County, CA.
She worked with students to “create a remedy using common, readily available kitchen ingredients that could be taken as a daily tonic to warm and energize the body, raise immunity, and aid in circulation” ( From Fire Cider!, Rosemary Gladstar and friends, 2019. pp.1)
Admittedly, similar tonics were already commercially available. This class was simply seeking to create something from scratch using the student’s newly gained herbal skills.
Since then, creating Fire Cider has become a seasonal tradition in many a household. It is a simple act of welcoming winter into the kitchen.
Galvanizing the Herbal Community
In 2012, a company name Shire City Herbals filed to Trademark the name Fire Cider for a tonic they made and sold at local farmers markets. This, as you can imagine, mobilized the sometimes disparate herbalist community to take steps to ensure the term Fire Cider remained in the public domain.
On October 13, 2019, the courts decided that fire cider is, in fact, a generic term. Herbalists and kitchen witches everywhere celebrate the age-old tradition of sharing herbal knowledge freely in the pursuit of health and wellness everywhere.
This post is my celebration of that decision and those warriors who preserved the egalitarian practices of herbalism for future generations.
Rosemary Gladstar is an herbalist, teacher, conservationist, and activist. She is sometimes called the mother of modern herbalism.
For well over 40 years she has been creating the standard by which professional herbalists are trained, build businesses, and conduct their herbal practices with heart and professionalism.
To review the path of Rosemary’s work is to walk the timeline of American herbalism. I invite you to spend time with these websites that detail Rosemary’s contribution to the field of herbalism and medicinal herb conservation.
You can get a sense of her knowledge and energy in this lovely interview.
Uses and Benefits of Fire Cider
Fire Cider is an apple cider based tonic infused with fiery flavors from horseradish, garlic, onions, hot peppers and the like.
It is ingested on a regular basis, like 1 ounce per day, during the winter months as a way to warm and energize the body, enhance immunity, and increase circulation.
When cold and flu symptoms arise, many will take a shot of Fire Cider 3-4 times a day. This helps build the body’s natural resistance to illness.
Making Fire Cider is a part of my seasonal life. It is central to my seasonal practices that welcome winter into my home, especially the kitchen. The process of chopping, infusing, extracting, and finally consuming the tonic mark the full submersion into the darkest days of the year.
Herbs are like that in my life, seasonal markers that indicate where I am in time. The arrival of herbs like nettle and dandelion reminds me to detox and nourish after a long and sometimes sedentary winter.
The fruits of summer remind me that life is sweet, if not transient, and to enjoy those sunny moments while they last.
As much as fire cider enhances health to promote wellness, for me, it also marks the turning of the seasons. Its uses and benefits are multidimensional and pervasive.
I am not a trained herbalist. The teas and tonics you find on the website are central to my own seasonal practice. I offer them to you with love and hope for extended wellness in your seasonal life.
If you have health concerns or wish to become a certified herbalist, please consult professionals in those fields.
In no way to do suggest that Fire Cider will prevent illness.
I strongly encourage anyone seeking such a remedy to consult a medical professional.
Be smart. Take gentle care. Be responsible for your decisions.
Why I Make Fire Cider
Like I said above, I am not a trained herbalist.
I am an avid food preservationist.
One of my favorite food preservation techniques is creating cordials and bitters. When I first saw the recipe for Fire Cider, it reminded me of the basic recipe I use for rhubarb bitters. I became curious and had to give it a try!
Fire Cider is comprised of seasonal harvests from my own kitchen garden. Ingredients like horseradish, garlic, fresh herbs, turmeric, and onion rise from the land of my farm.
Making Fire Cider just seemed like a fun and smart way to preserve some of that harvest in a way that supports my health.
For me, its kitchen witchery!
How to Make Fire Cider | Recipe
Here are the recipe cards for the Fire Cider I made this year (2019). Each year my recipe is different based on what’s on hand in my own pantry. What I find available in the organic sections of the local supermarket and food co-op also influences the final mixture.
I always add citrus to my Fire Cider. I don’t always grow turmeric.
Click on the recipe images to get a printable version. I’m not asking for your email. They are yours for the taking! I do this often on Instagram. I place recipe cards in my stories where followers can take a screenshot for later reference.
It’s an art…
As I mentioned above, my Fire Cider recipe changes every year. The more consistently you make it, the better you will know what ingredients best support your winter wellness needs.
There are a gazillion recipes online and in books. Try each one that resonates with you until you find the right combination of ingredients for your body.
What’s an oxymel?
An oxymel is an herbal preparation that preserves herbs in honey and vinegar.
Oxymels are an herbal technique that preserves summer harvests for winter uses.
Fire Cider! by Rosemary Gladstar
Intrigued by the story of Fire Cider?
Want access to a variety of recipes selected by Rosemary Gladstar from her friends and colleagues?
Is your interest in herbalism piqued?
This well written, informative, and instructive book can help you get basic herbal skills under your belt. It will certainly help you begin to build an herbal medicine chest.
Use it to learn how to make your own apple cider vinegar. You can also learn how to make other vinegar tonics, hot vinegars, berry oxymels, and other herbal recipes with a vinegar base.
Looking to lessen your footprint on the planet while cooking healthy? Check out this guide to the best vegan cookbooks of 2019!
While you are exploring ways to lessen your footprint on the planet, consider adding a few more plant-based meals to your weekly diet. To help you not be overwhelmed, I created this list of best selling vegan cookbooks by category, including for beginners, for meat lovers, and for athletes.
The post also lists the top vegan blogs and podcasts to help you better understand vegan cooking techniques, philosophy, nutrition, and the entire lifestyle.
Seasonal Wellness and the Seasonal Living Framework
Finding kitchen practices that preserve the best of garden harvests is at the heart of seasonal living. At Lorrie Season we support you in creating your seasonal life through 4 pillar practices: gardening, cooking, personal wellness, and activism.
In the story of Fire Cider, we find the quintessential example of these four pillars and the perfect practice to bring the theory into our daily lives. The tonic includes garden harvests and local ingredients, plenty of time handcrafting in the kitchen, a way to naturally tend to personal wellness, and a shining example of meaningful activism.
If you want to dive deeper into the seasonal living framework, I invite you to download my workbook and follow along with the email sequence that will guide you through the four pillars.
It’s free and it’s yours if you’d like. Just click here to download!
There’s a party happening and we’re waiting for you to arrive!
We also gather over email once a week to focus on one specific garden, kitchen, or wellness topic in-depth, with lots of step-by-step how-to’s. The best way to jump into the email conversation is with the Seasonal Living Workbook, you can download it here and explore the seasonal living framework with an email course!
So much love and free information in one place, but it’s not the same without YOU!
Fire Cider is a generic term for an apple cider based tonic intended to support wellness during the winter months. Recipes reflect regions and seasonal variations. At its core, onion garlic, and horseradish, and honey are steeped in unfiltered apple cider vinegar to create a hot tonic traditional for winter wellness regimens.
An oxymel is an herbal preparation that preserves herbs in honey and vinegar.