Make Your Own Fire Cider
Written & Photographed Holly J. Coley, The Upstate Edit
My parents are Seventh Day Adventists, so when it came to health, my household was big into holistic medicine of the preventative variety. As a kid, the moment my mom heard me cough or sneeze she’d make me drink one of her “stop that cold dead in its tracks” concoctions, usually made of lemon juice, onions, garlic and honey. My 10-year-old tongue thought it was the gnarliest-tasting thing (I preferred the synthetic grape flavor of Dimetapp), but to my immune system? Liquid gold. Today a similar elixir, known as Fire Cider, can be found at health markets worldwide. Unfortunately for my mother, she didn’t invent it.
Although it’s grown in popularity in the last five years, Fire Cider is nothing new. The health tonic made of apple-cider vinegar, ginger, garlic, onions, hot peppers, horseradish and honey has been a staple in herbal medicine for centuries. It’s considered an oxymel, which translated literally means acid and honey. Most oxymels include herbs, roots, fruits and other medicinal edibles. Hippocrates even mentioned them in his writing, and you know how he felt about food being medicine.
Fire Cider contains a myriad of ingredients that are 1) natural germ fighters and 2) immune enhancers. Traditional recipes call for horseradish, but when it’s not in season you can use citrus fruit (very high in flavonoids) like in this DIY. However, don’t skip the antiviral ginger, or garlic, which in several studies was shown to be effective at reducing the severity of colds. Onions have histamine-regulating effects, and hot peppers like jalapeños contain capsaicin, which is an inflammation fighter and vasodilator, meaning it promotes blood flow and can ease the muscle aches that sometimes accompany a cold or flu. Honey is antibacterial and soothes the throat, while apple-cider vinegar has naturally occurring, tummy-friendly bacteria, protein and enzymes.
It can be taken by the shot glass or tablespoon daily to strengthen your immune system or just when you’re feeling the early signs of sickness. It’s spicy but sweet, and a total sinus clearer. The only downside is that it takes a month for all the ingredients to meld together. The good news is that once the process is complete, you can keep the cider for months in your fridge or a dark, cool place in your home. █
1 bulb of garlic (peeled and chopped)
1 medium white onion (peeled and chopped)
1 large ginger root (peeled and grated)
2 small jalapeño peppers (destemmed and chopped)
1 lemon (pegged)
1 large orange (pegged)
¼ cup of honey
Apple-cider vinegar with “the mother” (a colony of beneficial bacteria)
2. Pour apple-cider vinegar to top of the jar and seal with lid.
3. Place jar in fridge or in a cool, dark place for three to four weeks to fully infuse.
4. Once ingredients have completely fused, strain ingredients so only liquid remains.
5. Place in a sterile jar/bottle.
Good for six months.