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Fire Cider Season Is Here!

By Ruth Ann Smalley

A spicy kick from a traditional remedy can be a welcome addition to your winter wellness routine. Honest Weight carries a delightful variety of fire ciders and elixirs made locally, ranging from Underground Alchemy, Weathertop Farm, and Hany’s Harvest Earth Cider, to the many delicious Immuneschein Ginger Elixirs. 

But in case you get the DIY urge and wish to immerse yourself in the process of crafting this healing brew, we’ve gone to the Scoop archives to fetch this fantastic recipe from member contributor, Mary Theresa Julien (Autumn 2015):

Fire cider is a folk preparation, so the ingredients traditionally vary, depending on the season and what’s available. The base ingredients are apple cider vinegar, garlic, onion, ginger, horseradish, honey, and hot peppers, with a lot of acceptable variation in additional ingredients. Lemon is usually added, but lime, grapefruit, or orange can be used instead. If you have thyme, rosehips, parsley, rosemary, or oregano still growing in your garden, they can be added as well.

The health benefits of fire cider are off the charts! Most of the ingredients alone are significant health supplements, but combining and infusing them yields a remarkably powerful tonic. This spicy and delicious vinegar has antimicrobial, decongestant, and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as aiding circulatory, digestive, and immune system processes. I always add turmeric too. Not only is the flavor wonderful, the curcumin in turmeric has been shown to exhibit antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and anticancer activities. Although regular apple cider vinegar can be used, raw apple cider vinegar is preferable, as is locally produced honey, since both have additional, undisputed benefits.

Start with the following ingredients: 

  • 1 large horseradish root, about 7 inches long (scrubbed well)
  • 1 cup grated ginger root
  • 2 medium onions, peeled
  • 1-2 lemons, or 1 orange and 1 lemon, with rind
  • 16 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 4 habanero, jalapeño, or other variety of hot pepper, stems removed
  • ½ tsp organic cayenne powder
  • 2 Tbsp ground turmeric
  • Raw apple cider vinegar
  • Local honey
  1. Simply grate the roots and roughly chop the onions, citrus, garlic, and peppers. When you grate your horseradish, be prepared to clear your sinuses! An open window is recommended.
  2. Divide the ingredients between two quart jars, or use one half-gallon jar. 
  3. Sprinkle the turmeric and cayenne on top, dividing between jars if two are used.
  4. Pour the raw apple cider vinegar over the contents. Allow it to settle and add more so that the contents are covered and the jars are full. Jars with plastic lids are preferable. If using metal lids, they will rust, so lay a piece of parchment paper over the rim of the jar, then screw the lid tightly in place.
  5. Let the mixture sit in a dark, cool place, allowing it to infuse for 4 weeks, shaking once daily.
  6. When it’s time to strain the mixture, line a colander with muslin or layers of fine cheesecloth, set it over a large pot and empty your fire cider mixture into it. Let it drain for 30 minutes, then pull the corners of the cloth together and squeeze the contents. The solids can be reserved and used in stir-fries or other dishes, or composted.
  7. Add honey, starting with just ¼ cup. Mix thoroughly and add more to taste if needed. 
  8. Store your finished fire cider in sterilized bottles in a cool, dark cabinet for up to a year. Shake well before using.

Fire cider can be taken straight by the spoonful or added to salads or to dishes when cooking. Taking one tablespoon each morning will help to warm you up and keep your immune system stimulated. Plus, it tastes fantastic. Some claim that it is a very effective hangover cure, too! The co-op sells most of the ingredients needed for fire cider, as well as bottles. 

If you do plan to make fire cider, think about making it in time for holiday gift-giving or to bring along when visiting friends. What better way to show you care when the winter wind howls than by giving a gift of warmth prepared with love from nature’s bounty. Be well!


Ruth Ann Smalley, PhD, is our Content Editor. An educator and writer with a 4 digit Co-op member number from the early 90s, Ruth Ann offers wellness, writing, and creativity coaching through her practice at or

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