Today marks a very important day in the herbal community as it is the day that herbalist are fighting back to FREE the tradition of Fire Cider from being trademarked by Shire City Herbals. So in solidarity with the FREE FIRE CIDER movement, make your own batch or if you have some already made, pour yourself a shot and send the ladies fighting back good vibes!
Fire Cider is the delicious spicy concoction of spicy herbs and vegetables that infuses in a bath of apple cider vinegar and honey for four weeks, I let mine sit a week or two longer. It is taken as a tonic during cold, flu and allergy time for preventive and for treating one when when sick. A herbal remedy founded thirty five years ago by Elder Herbalist, Rosemary Gladstar. Rosemary published books with the recipe, she has taught classes and other herbalist began teaching the tradition of Fire Cider. For over three decades folks have been making their own version of Fire Cider, it's all over the internet even folks like Martha Stewart have shared Fire Cider recipes. In 2014 the herbal community became aware that the generic name Fire Cider had been trademarked by Shire City Herbals. I will refer you to read more about the battle of the trademark on FREEFIRECIDER.COM.
Shire City Herbals is making a product, hijacked the name of a tradition and have taken legal action amongst those who are selling Fire Cider or anything that sounds like Fire Cider, like Fire Tonic etc.. How can one trademark a tradition? It is as ludicrous as saying pepperoni pizza is trademarked. In solidarity for the fight to free the trademark of Fire Cider and support traditions, we in the herbal community are showing our support by boycotting Shire City Herbals. Teaching folks and hosting FIRE CIDER workshops, sharing the information on this battle, approaching shop owners carrying Shire City Herbals and informing them on what SCH is doing. While one of the business partners of Shire City Herbals claims to own the name Fire Cider and claims it was taught to him by their German grandmother which was not a written recipe, they have ZERO proof of actual ownership of this recipe or name. Yet the traditional Fire Cider recipe is found in books and articles proving of the existence of Fire Cider that pre-dates Shire City Herbals.
By the way if one was to assume that Shire City Herbals is a company ran by herbalist, do not be fooled by "herbals" in their name. No herbalist would do such a ridiculous thing, well none that I know of. SCH are not herbalist, just pirates portraying to know something about herbs and capitalizing off a tradition. So support tradition and not trademarks and learn to make your own or support those herbalist who are making this spicy tonics.
So here is my recipe for a basic Fire Cider. I make many different variations as I like switching it up and incorporate flora that is within my region of the Mojave Desert and I call it Desert Fire Cider. This is a recipe for a standard Fire Cider incorporating herbs and vegetables that are accessible in your neck of the woods.
1/2 cup grated Horseradish Root
1/2 cup grated Ginger Root
1/2 cup Yellow Onion chopped
1/2 cup dried nettle or 1 cup fresh nettle.
1 to 2 Jalapenos chopped (or hot peppers of choice)
1 small Orange
10 cloves of Garlic chopped.
2 tablespoons cinnamon powder
1 tablespoon Cloves (grounded)
1 tablespoon Black Pepper (freshly grounded if possible)
Several springs of fresh Rosemary or 1 tablespoon dried Rosemary
1 tablespoon Thyme or several springs of fresh Thyme
Organic Apple Cider Vinegar
1/4 cup organic honey or to taste
1/2 gallon glass jar with lid
wax paper or clean cloth and rubber band
Chop and grate your vegetables, herbs and fruit. For the fruit I like using the zest then finely chopping the peel and adding it to my mix. I like to repeat layers of the ingredients so there is not just one layer of Horseradish but several. If you can't find a half gallon mason jar you can use a wide mouth quart jar. I prefer the half gallon so that the ingredients are not packed solid and have space to expand and bathe.
After all of the ingredients are in the jar, cover with Organic Apple Cider Vinegar. Give a good stir with a wooden spoon.
When it comes time to cover your Fire Cider, do not use the metal lid directly to cover the jar. When vinegar touches metal it will cause corrosion which will render your creation unuseable. So cut a good size of wax paper and cover the top of the glass jar then add the lid to cover. Another option is using a rubber band around the top of the glass jar over the wax paper. If you don't have wax paper you can use a clean cloth in the same way. There are also wide mouth plastic lids that are now made for jars which can be found in the canning section of most stores or online. Canning Supplies can be purchased here too.
Label and date and store in a cool dark place for four weeks. Give it a good stir everyday for the first week or two with a wooden spoon, I like using chopsticks for this. If you are using a plastic lid then you can give it a good shake.
When it comes time to press (strain) I like using a fine mesh strainer lined with a cheese cloth and press the plant material. You can also use a nut milk bag. Add the liquid to a clean jar and add honey other honey alternatives is using Vegetable Glycerine which is a plant based syrupy like and sweet natural preservative that contains no sugar even though it can fool you by how sweet it is. The nice thing about vegetable glycerine is that it does not spike sugar levels. It doesn't contain carbohydrates, sugar or starches. I actually love working with vegetable glycerine in place of honey.
Next label and date. You will want to once again use a buffer between the metal lid and glass jar. I linked above where to source plastic lids if you prefer to do that along with canning supplies.
Below are a couple tasty ways of using the remaining plant material. You can compost, certainly do not toss in the trash. There are other ways of using the left over stuff. Read below
Being that vinegar, honey and vegetable glycerine are natural preservatives the shelf life of your Fire Cider should keep for up to a 18 months if kept in a cool dark place. I keep mine in the fridge because it gets hot in summer so I like to keep it cool and pour off some in a two ounce dropper bottle so I can have as needed when I am on the go.
I take a shot glass of this tonic when I am starting to feel like I am coming down with a bug. Preventive I take a tablespoon daily.
FIRE CIDER CHUTNEY
This was taught to me by one of teachers Julie James of Green Wisdom Herbal Studies. It is a brilliant way of using the left over plant material. I usually make an electury or seasoning spice with it but a chutney is so tasty! After straining, take the plant material, put it in a blender and blend it all up. Sweeten to taste with honey or vegetable glycerine. Keep in the fridge as this will have a shorter shelf life.
FIRE CIDER SEASONING
Press all of the remaining liquid out and lay on dehydrating sheets lined with wax paper. Take the dried plant material also known as the marc, blend it all up and use as seasoning.
FIRE CIDER ELECTUARY
Follow the above steps as mentioned for the FIRE CIDER SEASONING, powder up the herbs really good then stir into honey till it has a thick consistency. Though the medicinal properties have been extracted in the Fire Cider, this is moreso for flavoring. I feel the kick of the horseradish, jalapeno and garlic is still present that it will help open a stuffy nose. I like stirring in a teaspoon of my electuaries into hot water its a form of a tea.
Cheers to health and vitality.