Make Your Own Immune Boosting Fire Cider at Home!

(Last Updated On: September 4, 2018)

In early October I will be offering a Fire Cider workshop in North Portland.

Time and date to be announced shortly.

Make Your Own Fire Cider Today!

Fire Cider, or any of the other similarly named spicy vinegar tonics are really great to have around the house during the fall and winter months.  It has a bunch of immune boosting, anti-microbial ingredients that may help ward off the cold and flu.

If wanted to purchase a 12 oz bottle of tonic in the store it is going to cost you about $25.00.  The good news is that although it takes a little bit of time, you can make this at home for about a quarter of the price and its easy to do.

Time: 20-40 minutes prep time,  4-8 weeks fermenting

Yields: About 17 oz or 34 servings

Ingredients – Basic Recipe

  • 10 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 cup of horseradish grated or thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup of ginger grated or thinly sliced
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 2 Jalapenos sliced in half (or hot pepper of your choice)
  • 17 oz of raw apple cider vinegar with the mother
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Honey to taste

Optional Ingredients

  • 1-2 Tbs of fresh or powdered tumeric
  • 1-2 sprigs of rosemary
  • 1 lemon – juice and zest
  • 1 tbs of pepper corns
  • 1 cinnamon stick or powdered cinnamon
  • Your favorite herb immune boosting herb

Just remember, don’t add so many ingredients that you don’t have enough vinegar to cover them!


  • Knife
  • Cutting board
  • Rubber gloves – good idea when cutting  hot peppers or tumeric
  • 1 qt Mason jar and parchment paper if using metal jar lid.
  • Cheese cloth or strainer
  • Food processor, grater, garlic press (optional)


  1. Make sure your mason jar is clean and that you are in a well ventilated room.  Set out all of your ingredients and put on gloves if you are using them as is recommended
  2. Chop or grate any of the vegetables you are adding: horseradish, ginger, onions, garlic, turmeric and peppers and add them to your jar.
  3. Add cayenne and any of the  other ingredients you are using: cinnamon, black pepper, dried turmeric, rosemary etc.
  4. Cover the ingredients with apple cider vinegar.  You want to make sure there is enough vinegar to cover the other ingredients by an inch or so.
  5. Cover tightly with lid and shake well.  Use a plastic lid or use parchment paper under metal lids to prevent a reaction with the vinegar.
  6. Put in a cool dark place for 4-6 weeks.  Remember to shake it daily.  You don’t want any veggies floating on the top for extended periods.
  7. After 4-6 strain liquid into a clean jar, and discard the veggies or use them in a stir fry, to flavor a soup or compost.
  8. At this point you can add enough honey to taste (optional).
  9. Store in the refrigerator with lid tightly secure for up to 6 months.

How to use this tonic

  1. As a preventative for cold and flu:  1 tablespoon daily
  2. At a cold and flu remedy: 1 tablespoon, 3 times daily
  3. As a salad dressing: Add some olive oil to the vinegar
  4. As a hot beverage: Add 1-2 Tablespoons to hot water.
  5. As a cool beverage: Add 1-2 tablespoons to carbonated water.
  6. Cough remedy: Honey is the part of fire cider that really helps that tickle in the throat that causes coughing.  So, if like me, you like to add honey as you go, or you only lightly sweeten your cider, go ahead and go a little heavy handed with the honey when you have a cough. I’ll often put cider in a shot glass, add some extra honey,  stir it up and shoot it.

**Remember, it is never safe to give honey to any children under 12 months of age due to the risk of botulism.**


Although all of these ingredients are foods and generally considered safe, they may not be ideal for some people.

  1. Start out slow, take 1/4 tsp at a time and see how you do before trying to take more.
  2. If you have ulcers or acid reflux, use caution and do not take on an empty stomach.
  3. Many of the ingredients in this recipe can help thin the blood, do not take if you are currently on blood thinning medications without first consulting your doctor.
  4. There is evidence that Horseradish is unsafe in excess amounts during pregnancy.  Do not use without first consulting your doctor if you are pregnant or nursing.
  5. This is a high acid tonic with additional spicy constituents, it is always OK to mix with a bit of water to prevent irritation of the esophagus or to follow it with a different

Why These Ingredients!

Horseradish has been historically used to medicinally help with bronchitis. There is research indicating that it has antibiotic properties and can be helpful for acute bronchitis and sinusitis.  In fact, it will probable clear out your sinuses while you are cutting it.

Garlic has antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal properties and could possibly help prevent or decrease the duration of the cold and flu.  Additionally, garlic has benefits for your heart by helping to lower lipids and blood pressure,,.

Ginger is known to have properties that are antibacterial, and that can reduce cough, fever and pain; all good when you are not feeling well.

Turmeric is well known for anti inflammatory properties and it may also be helpful in reducing seasonal allergies  You can increase its bio-availability by adding black pepper to your fire cider when you are making it and/or using it together with a healthy fat like in a salad dressing.

Onion, like garlic, has some antibacterial components and some studies shows that it can help with bronchial constriction.

Cayenne, ironically, can help relieve sore throats and increase circulation.

Honey has been shown in some studies to better than over the counter cough suppressant dextromethorphan. I know I’d rather take the 2 teaspoons of honey for a cough.

Apple cider vinegar has B vitamins, Vitamin C and live bacteria that is good for your micro-biome. It also has been shown to increase insulin sensitivity, good news for those who have blood sugar issues.

A Few More Things

My favorite thing about making this fire cider is that its very forgiving.  The ingredients don’t need to be in exact measure and you can throw in something extra if you want.

Making this at home is simple, and it saves money. This can be made at home for about 25% the cost of store bought.  You probably have most of the ingredients at home right now.

If you want to kick your tonic up a notch with some more herbal help, look no further than the herbal tea section of your local grocery store.  Find the tea that looks most helpful for what ails you; I like Yogi Tea and Traditional Medicinals for this. When you are making your cider, just open a couple of the tea bags into it for an extra specific boost to your cider.

If you want the whole story on Fire Cider and its creator Rosemary Gladstone then follow this link.



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