I may be in the minority here but I’m kind of obsessed with apple cider vinegar. The health benefits of ACV are pretty impressive (even if it does taste like pungent socks) and it’s an awesome addition to homemade cleaning, bath and beauty products.
Most days I just add a tablespoon to a large glass of water and slowly sip away, but it’s admittedly not everyone’s cup of tea. That’s why I give major kudos to whoever invented those fancy vinegar-based drinks like shrubs, switchel, and my most recent discovery, fire cider.
Fire cider recipes have been floating around the herbal world for years, thanks to wise women and their tales of miraculous healing. But if you’re not familiar with it, fire cider is simply an infused apple cider vinegar said to support the immune system, calm inflammation and improve circulation in the body. Swallow it by the spoonful or create a fire cider mocktail (my favorite) and sip your way to good health.
How to Make Fire Cider
While not hard to make, fire cider does require quite a few ingredients. Most traditional recipes call for fresh horseradish, hot peppers and ginger, which give the cider its spice. Next comes the garlic, a potent anti-viral, and onions, which are rich in vitamin C. I also like adding lemons and oranges to give it a sweet, fruity flavor and an extra dose of vitamin C. Last but not least, raw honey helps mask the flavor and gives it immune-boosting nutrients.
Simply chop up your ingredients, add your apple cider vinegar and let steep. I wasn’t lying when I said it was easy, but for more detailed instructions, check out this quick video:
It takes about a month to mature, meaning it’s best to make a large batch ahead of time (typically in the fall if you want to get a jump on cold season) and sip it throughout the colder months. But if you’re running behind like me, spring works too. In a pinch, you can even start drinking it a little early. Simply make a double batch and open one of the jars early, leaving the ingredients in the jar to steep while you skim vinegar from the top.
To use, take one or two tablespoons daily throughout cold and flu season. Or every three to four hours if you’re currently feeling sick.
Here are some of my favorite ways to drink it:
- In seltzer water or juice – I like to mix about an ounce of cider with 8 ounces seltzer water, a drizzle of honey, lemon juice and a sprig of rosemary. It’s like a wellness mocktail that you can sip in the evening or whenever you’re feeling rundown. Or you can add a tablespoon of cider to fresh juice, which is especially helpful for sick children (or husbands).
- As a “wellness shot” – if straight vinegar doesn’t make you gag, pour some fire cider into a shot glass and drink straight up.
- As a marinade or salad dressing – Mix a tablespoon with some olive oil and drizzle over leafy greens or meat.
- As a tea – Add cider to a cup of warm water and breathe in the steam as you sip.
- Wash and chop all the fruits and vegetables
- Add all the ingredients except the vinegar to your mason jar and pack down lightly so that the jar is about 3/4 full. Use a stone fermentation weight to hold the veggies down, or place heavy roots at the top so that they will weigh down the herbs and jalapenos, which tend to float.
- Pour apple cider vinegar into the jar so that it covers everything and your vegetables stay submerged (to prevent them from spoiling).
- If you’re using a metal lid, line it with wax paper so that the vinegar doesn’t corrode it, then put the lid on. Place in a dark, room temperature cabinet for 2-4 weeks (the longer the better). Gently shake the jar every few days to circulate the ACV.
- When the cider is ready, strain using a mesh sieve. Store in the fridge.
- To make a fire cider mocktail, combine 1 ounce fire cider with 8 ounces seltzer water. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, a sprig of rosemary and raw honey to taste.