Foraged Fire Cider

Foraged Fire Cider

  • Cook time

    -

  • Skill level

    Beginner

  • Season

    Fall, Winter

Chef’s notes

We just had our third frost here in Maine, which means people are starting to sniffle and sneeze. It also means that it’s time to make a new batch of fire cider—an age-old tonic for human health during cold and flu season.

There’s really no telling exactly when the first fire cider was made. I think it’s a safe bet, though, that it was shortly after people realized if you forget a cask of wine in the cellar, it turns into (something we now know and love), vinegar, which happened around 5000 B.C.E.

It wasn’t a big leap to pair the invigorating properties of vinegar with the medicinal compounds of plants. You can use all kinds of plants to make all kinds of vinegar extracts like herbal tinctures, tonics, and oxymels. In this realm of infinite concoctions, if I can liken herbalism to French cookery for a moment, fire cider would be a mother sauce. More than a recipe; it’s a foundation.

The herbalist Rosemary Gladstar did coin the name “fire cider” when she shared her favorite method, but she shared it along with the ancient methods that she learned from and didn’t stake any claim to the tonic, just the new, spicy name. It quickly became as popular and beloved as Rosemary herself in the herbalist community. Recipes and methods were shared freely and nearly every health food store had a different, local twist of fire cider on their shelves, until 2014.

A company called Shire City Herbals decided to trademark the name “fire cider” and the formula, which effectively banned anyone else from making and selling it. The normally quiet community of herbalists all of a sudden got quite loud and stayed loud until they finally won the case in 2019. Now, “fire cider” is officially a generic name and everyone is welcome to use it.

As a prime example of the expansiveness and inclusiveness of this tonic, Rosemary published this collaborative book, Fire Cider! 101 Zesty Recipes For Health-Boosting Remedies Made With Apple Cider Vinegar. The traditional is made with garlic, horseradish, onion, hot pepper, and honey, which I respect as my mother sauce, but every year I like to riff on the original with foraged herbs, fruits, and mushrooms that will add to its robustness in the way that only wild foods can.

I like to use things that are packed with vitamins and minerals, rich in antioxidants, and support healthy immune function. Some of my favorite foraged additions are rosehips, reishi mushroom, turkeytail mushroom, chaga mushroom, stinging nettle, self-heal, mountain ash berries, and citrus when my mom sends care packages from Florida.

I like to take a spoonful a few times a week during the winter months, or half a shot glass every day if I’m feeling depleted or have gone to town and been amidst the coughing masses. It dawned on me a few years ago that not only is this a healthful vinegar but a flavorful one that I probably should be using in my cooking. I wish I’d realized this sooner.

It makes an incredible salad or slaw dressing, a tangy popcorn/french fry spritz, or a vivacious glug for any marinade, braising liquid, barbecue, or hot sauce. That being said, this recipe yields a little less than 1 quart—you may want to double it. Make some, make it your own, and share it in the spirit of traditions, not trademarks. Here’s one of mine to get you started.

how to make foraged fire cider

Ingredients

  • 1 qt. jar
  • Parchment paper
  • 32 oz. raw apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup fresh ginger, minced
  • ½ cup onion, minced (1 medium onion)
  • ½ cup horseradish root, minced
  • 1 large head garlic, minced
  • 2 jalapenos, minced
  • 1 dried cayenne pepper, crushed
  • ¼ cup raw honey

Optional foraged ingredients; dried or fresh, crushed or chopped:

  • 2 tbsp. rosehips,
  • 1 tbsp. mountain ash berries
  • 1 tbsp. turkey tail mushroom
  • 2 tbsp. reishi mushroom
  • 2 tbsp. stinging nettle

Preparation

  1. Chop, mince, or crush all of your ingredients. Be careful not to touch your eyes or sensitive regions and be prepared for the horseradish to clean your sinuses.
  2. Put all of your prepared ingredients into the quart jar except for the honey.
  3. Pour in the raw apple cider vinegar to cover the ingredients and fill the jar.
  4. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit over the opening of the jar with about 1” overhang and place that on the jar before putting on the lid.
  5. Shake.
  6. Place on a cool, dark shelf for one month, shaking a few times a week.
  7. After one month, pour through a fine sieve into another clean jar. Press the pulp against the sieve to squeeze out all of the liquid.
  8. Add the ¼ cup of raw honey and stir or shake until fully dissolved. Add more if desired, to taste.
Chef’s notes

We just had our third frost here in Maine, which means people are starting to sniffle and sneeze. It also means that it’s time to make a new batch of fire cider—an age-old tonic for human health during cold and flu season.

There’s really no telling exactly when the first fire cider was made. I think it’s a safe bet, though, that it was shortly after people realized if you forget a cask of wine in the cellar, it turns into (something we now know and love), vinegar, which happened around 5000 B.C.E.

It wasn’t a big leap to pair the invigorating properties of vinegar with the medicinal compounds of plants. You can use all kinds of plants to make all kinds of vinegar extracts like herbal tinctures, tonics, and oxymels. In this realm of infinite concoctions, if I can liken herbalism to French cookery for a moment, fire cider would be a mother sauce. More than a recipe; it’s a foundation.

The herbalist Rosemary Gladstar did coin the name “fire cider” when she shared her favorite method, but she shared it along with the ancient methods that she learned from and didn’t stake any claim to the tonic, just the new, spicy name. It quickly became as popular and beloved as Rosemary herself in the herbalist community. Recipes and methods were shared freely and nearly every health food store had a different, local twist of fire cider on their shelves, until 2014.

A company called Shire City Herbals decided to trademark the name “fire cider” and the formula, which effectively banned anyone else from making and selling it. The normally quiet community of herbalists all of a sudden got quite loud and stayed loud until they finally won the case in 2019. Now, “fire cider” is officially a generic name and everyone is welcome to use it.

As a prime example of the expansiveness and inclusiveness of this tonic, Rosemary published this collaborative book, Fire Cider! 101 Zesty Recipes For Health-Boosting Remedies Made With Apple Cider Vinegar. The traditional is made with garlic, horseradish, onion, hot pepper, and honey, which I respect as my mother sauce, but every year I like to riff on the original with foraged herbs, fruits, and mushrooms that will add to its robustness in the way that only wild foods can.

I like to use things that are packed with vitamins and minerals, rich in antioxidants, and support healthy immune function. Some of my favorite foraged additions are rosehips, reishi mushroom, turkeytail mushroom, chaga mushroom, stinging nettle, self-heal, mountain ash berries, and citrus when my mom sends care packages from Florida.

I like to take a spoonful a few times a week during the winter months, or half a shot glass every day if I’m feeling depleted or have gone to town and been amidst the coughing masses. It dawned on me a few years ago that not only is this a healthful vinegar but a flavorful one that I probably should be using in my cooking. I wish I’d realized this sooner.

It makes an incredible salad or slaw dressing, a tangy popcorn/french fry spritz, or a vivacious glug for any marinade, braising liquid, barbecue, or hot sauce. That being said, this recipe yields a little less than 1 quart—you may want to double it. Make some, make it your own, and share it in the spirit of traditions, not trademarks. Here’s one of mine to get you started.

how to make foraged fire cider

Ingredients

  • 1 qt. jar
  • Parchment paper
  • 32 oz. raw apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup fresh ginger, minced
  • ½ cup onion, minced (1 medium onion)
  • ½ cup horseradish root, minced
  • 1 large head garlic, minced
  • 2 jalapenos, minced
  • 1 dried cayenne pepper, crushed
  • ¼ cup raw honey

Optional foraged ingredients; dried or fresh, crushed or chopped:

  • 2 tbsp. rosehips,
  • 1 tbsp. mountain ash berries
  • 1 tbsp. turkey tail mushroom
  • 2 tbsp. reishi mushroom
  • 2 tbsp. stinging nettle

Preparation

  1. Chop, mince, or crush all of your ingredients. Be careful not to touch your eyes or sensitive regions and be prepared for the horseradish to clean your sinuses.
  2. Put all of your prepared ingredients into the quart jar except for the honey.
  3. Pour in the raw apple cider vinegar to cover the ingredients and fill the jar.
  4. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit over the opening of the jar with about 1” overhang and place that on the jar before putting on the lid.
  5. Shake.
  6. Place on a cool, dark shelf for one month, shaking a few times a week.
  7. After one month, pour through a fine sieve into another clean jar. Press the pulp against the sieve to squeeze out all of the liquid.
  8. Add the ¼ cup of raw honey and stir or shake until fully dissolved. Add more if desired, to taste.

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Foraged Fire Cider

Recipe by: Jenna Rozelle
Foraged Fire Cider
  • Cook time

    -

  • Skill level

    Beginner

  • Season

    Fall, Winter

Chef’s notes

We just had our third frost here in Maine, which means people are starting to sniffle and sneeze. It also means that it’s time to make a new batch of fire cider—an age-old tonic for human health during cold and flu season.

There’s really no telling exactly when the first fire cider was made. I think it’s a safe bet, though, that it was shortly after people realized if you forget a cask of wine in the cellar, it turns into (something we now know and love), vinegar, which happened around 5000 B.C.E.

It wasn’t a big leap to pair the invigorating properties of vinegar with the medicinal compounds of plants. You can use all kinds of plants to make all kinds of vinegar extracts like herbal tinctures, tonics, and oxymels. In this realm of infinite concoctions, if I can liken herbalism to French cookery for a moment, fire cider would be a mother sauce. More than a recipe; it’s a foundation.

The herbalist Rosemary Gladstar did coin the name “fire cider” when she shared her favorite method, but she shared it along with the ancient methods that she learned from and didn’t stake any claim to the tonic, just the new, spicy name. It quickly became as popular and beloved as Rosemary herself in the herbalist community. Recipes and methods were shared freely and nearly every health food store had a different, local twist of fire cider on their shelves, until 2014.

A company called Shire City Herbals decided to trademark the name “fire cider” and the formula, which effectively banned anyone else from making and selling it. The normally quiet community of herbalists all of a sudden got quite loud and stayed loud until they finally won the case in 2019. Now, “fire cider” is officially a generic name and everyone is welcome to use it.

As a prime example of the expansiveness and inclusiveness of this tonic, Rosemary published this collaborative book, Fire Cider! 101 Zesty Recipes For Health-Boosting Remedies Made With Apple Cider Vinegar. The traditional is made with garlic, horseradish, onion, hot pepper, and honey, which I respect as my mother sauce, but every year I like to riff on the original with foraged herbs, fruits, and mushrooms that will add to its robustness in the way that only wild foods can.

I like to use things that are packed with vitamins and minerals, rich in antioxidants, and support healthy immune function. Some of my favorite foraged additions are rosehips, reishi mushroom, turkeytail mushroom, chaga mushroom, stinging nettle, self-heal, mountain ash berries, and citrus when my mom sends care packages from Florida.

I like to take a spoonful a few times a week during the winter months, or half a shot glass every day if I’m feeling depleted or have gone to town and been amidst the coughing masses. It dawned on me a few years ago that not only is this a healthful vinegar but a flavorful one that I probably should be using in my cooking. I wish I’d realized this sooner.

It makes an incredible salad or slaw dressing, a tangy popcorn/french fry spritz, or a vivacious glug for any marinade, braising liquid, barbecue, or hot sauce. That being said, this recipe yields a little less than 1 quart—you may want to double it. Make some, make it your own, and share it in the spirit of traditions, not trademarks. Here’s one of mine to get you started.

how to make foraged fire cider

Ingredients

  • 1 qt. jar
  • Parchment paper
  • 32 oz. raw apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup fresh ginger, minced
  • ½ cup onion, minced (1 medium onion)
  • ½ cup horseradish root, minced
  • 1 large head garlic, minced
  • 2 jalapenos, minced
  • 1 dried cayenne pepper, crushed
  • ¼ cup raw honey

Optional foraged ingredients; dried or fresh, crushed or chopped:

  • 2 tbsp. rosehips,
  • 1 tbsp. mountain ash berries
  • 1 tbsp. turkey tail mushroom
  • 2 tbsp. reishi mushroom
  • 2 tbsp. stinging nettle

Preparation

  1. Chop, mince, or crush all of your ingredients. Be careful not to touch your eyes or sensitive regions and be prepared for the horseradish to clean your sinuses.
  2. Put all of your prepared ingredients into the quart jar except for the honey.
  3. Pour in the raw apple cider vinegar to cover the ingredients and fill the jar.
  4. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit over the opening of the jar with about 1” overhang and place that on the jar before putting on the lid.
  5. Shake.
  6. Place on a cool, dark shelf for one month, shaking a few times a week.
  7. After one month, pour through a fine sieve into another clean jar. Press the pulp against the sieve to squeeze out all of the liquid.
  8. Add the ¼ cup of raw honey and stir or shake until fully dissolved. Add more if desired, to taste.