Fire cider (also sometimes called Master Tonic) is a traditional folk remedy infused with powerful anti-microbial, decongestant, and circulatory herbs and spices. Adding a tablespoon of this to your diet every day can help boost your immune system, stimulate digestion, and warm you up on cold days. How perfect to make for a mid-winter pick-me-up!
Because this is a folk remedy, the ingredients can change from season to season depending on what’s growing around you at the time you make it. The base ingredients are apple cider vinegar, garlic, onion, ginger, horseradish, and hot peppers, which are mighty by themselves, but there are plenty of other herbs that can be added for extra strength, depending on what’s available to you.
Once you’ve made the fire cider recipe, this powerful brew needs to steep in a dark cupboard for a month to extract all the goodness from the ingredients. Some people even bury their jar of this master tonic in the ground for a month while it extracts—which I wouldn’t advise if you live where the ground freezes.
Using Your Fire Cider Master Tonic
Once fully brewed and strained, fire cider can be taken straight by the spoonful, added to vegetable juice, splashed in rice dishes, or drizzled on salad with olive oil.
You can also sautée some of the strained pulp with shredded carrots, cabbage, broccoli, and fresh herbs to make delicious stir-fries and spring rolls.
For daily immune support, gargle and swallow one tablespoon of fire cider every day after breakfast. If you are fighting a cold or infection, take 1 Tablespoon of the tonic 5-6 times a day. Do not dilute the tonic in water as it will reduce the effect.
Be careful: The tonic is very strong and hot, especially if you did not add honey! Do not use on an empty stomach, and start with a teaspoon for the first few times. The tonic can cause nausea on an empty stomach if you are not used to it.
Fire cider is safe for pregnant women and children (use small doses!) because the ingredients are all-natural and contain no toxins.
FIRE CIDER MASTER TONIC
- 24 oz. raw apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup garlic minced
- ¼ cup onion minced
- 1/2 cup fresh ginger peeled and grated
- 1/2 cup horseradish peeled and grated
- 2 pieces turmeric root peeled and grated, OR 2 tbsp turmeric powder
- 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 2 hot peppers (jalepeño, habanero, etc., minced)
- Zest and juice from 1 lemon
- raw honey to taste (OPTIONAL, local is best)
Using a peeler and a food processor, peel and grate all the roots.
Mince the garlic, onions and hot peppers, then zest and squeeze the lemon. (Gloves will be handy for handling the peppers.)
Combine all the ingredients in a ceramic or glass bowl, except for the vinegar and honey, and mix well.
Transfer the mixture to a one-quart Mason jar. Hold your face away from the jar as you fill it.
Pour in apple cider vinegar until you fill it to the top.
Use a piece of parchment paper under the jar lid to keep the vinegar from touching the metal, or better yet, use a BPA-free plastic lid made for Mason jars.
Store in a dark, cool place for one month and shake daily.
After one month, use cheesecloth or a nut milk bag to strain out the pulp, pouring the vinegar into a clean jar. Be sure to squeeze as much of the liquid as you can from the pulp.
You can use the tonic straight or, if you prefer, add 1/4 cup of honey and stir until incorporated to make cider. Taste your cider and add another 1/4 cup of honey until you reach the desired sweetness.
Use the rest of the dry mixture as seasoning when cooking.
Note: Turmeric stains everything, the peppers are hot, and horseradish root is strong enough to clear not just your sinuses, but the whole room. You may want to wear a mask to protect from horseradish fumes, and gloves to keep your hands clean and cool. Use only fresh and preferably organically grown herbs if possible as this will make the most potent and effective Master Tonic. Substitute dried herbs only in an emergency if fresh is unavailable. If one of the ingredients is not available (fresh horseradish is difficult during certain times of the year), then substitute another hot pepper such as habanero.