Fire cider is a traditional folk remedy that has been made for a long time. There are many variations of the recipe, but usually it involves horseradish, ginger, garlic and onion, apple cider vinegar and honey. This hot, spicy and sweet medicine has been used for ages to support the body in times of colds and flu. Herbalist Rosemary Gladstar was the first to use the name 'fire cider' for this remedy, about 30 years ago. Since then, people continued to call it that way, make it and use it.
But recently, a company has trademarked the term.
Will this open the door to trademarking other traditional home remedies for profit? What's next? A trademark on elderberry syrup? Stinging nettle soup? Dandelion pesto? Plantain poultices? Personally, I strongly believe that herbal medicine is the people's medicine and it should remain that way. Everybody should be free to make & use it. Fire cider should remain in the public domain, where it belongs.
Here's my recipe:
- 1/2 cup grated ginger (use fresh ginger)
- 1/2 cup grated horseradish (use fresh horse radish only) -
- 1/2 preserved lemon, chopped (it's fine to use unfermented, fresh lemon, I just happened to have some at hand)
- a few sprigs of rosemary
- 10 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 piece of fresh turmeric, chopped (you can use dried, about 1 tablespoon)
- a bunch of hairy bittercress, chopped
- apple cider vinegar
- local raw honey
Place all plant material in a glass jar and cover with the apple cider vinegar. All herbs and spices should be totally immersed. Let steep for 2 weeks. Strain. Add honey to taste. Use as a dressing or in a shot glass (I usually dilute it with water a bit).
Caution: if you are making this in a jar with metal lid, the vinegar will corrode the metal. You can prevent this by placing some parchment paper between under the lid.
Horseradish Armoracia rusticana
You can dig it up and bring it to your nose and maybe you won't be impressed. But wait , just wait, until you grate it! Some people even have to wear gloves to make this bearable. You might cry. Don't rub your eyes (it contains mustard oil, folks!). You won't easily forget the powers of horseradish, that's for sure. It will clear up your sinuses and works as an overall natural antibiotic. You want to use this fresh and raw, to get maximum power. It's in the same family as mustard and wasabi, just to get an idea of what you are dealing with. In fact, when you are using the Japanese condiment wasabi in your kitchen, it may be made with horseradish because the wasabi plant has become rather scarce.
Horseradish is also very high in vitamin C, and it was widely used as an anti-scurvy food in the past, ususally in vinegar, to preserve the characteristics of the raw and fresh root.
Dig horseradish root up in late fall/winter, but don't hesitate to pick some of the greens in spring and flowers in summer. I use these in small amounts in green salads and infused vinegars.
(By the way: did you see in the pictures how mine was a twin root? As a twin mom, I love it when that happens. You don't get them like that in the store.)
Hairy bittercress Cardamine hirsuta
Dutch: Kleine veldkers
French: Cardamine hirsute
German: Behaarte Schaumkraut
This is one of the earliest spring plants and has a similar flavour to garden cress or water cress. Again, the key here is fresh and raw, to get the best nutrients out. It's in the same family as horseradish, has roughly the same characteristics, but acts more gently. You can eat it in a salad without your eyeballs wanting to pop out. You can chop it without wanting to call the fire brigade.
Other than adding it to fire cider or eating it in a salad, I like to infuse it in apple cider vinegar or add it to one of my home made herbal salts. Do try it, it's a lovely wild green to work with in the kitchen. Don't let the name put you off, it is hardly hairy, nor very bitter.
- Sign the petition here.
- Make your own and post your pictures on instagram & twitter #freefirecider
- Get hundreds of fire cider recipe ideas on pinterest.
- You may want to join this facebook group and like this facebook page.
- HerbalRootsZine made a special edition on Fire Cider that you can download for free here (at the bottom of the linked post)
Thank you for participating! May your kitchen smell spicy and your kisses like garlic ;)