In this blog, we’re talking about immune health for the winter. When winter hits, most people either load themselves up with that fancy name brand vitamin C stuff they sell or they head to the store to pick up some elderberry syrup. Some even make their own elderberry syrup.
Elderberry is great. It acts as an anti-viral and an anti-inflammatory. Some say if you start elderberry syrup within the first 48 hours of a cold onset, you can reduce the time it runs rampant in the body. Last year, I was one with the elderberry. This year, I’m taking a different approach.
This year…it’s fire cider all the way.
Now…normally I’m a big fan of heavily researched things. Fire cider evidence is anecdotal all the way. Meaning, there’s no research to back this up except for human accounts. So, take it for what you will. I love it though.
What is fire cider?
Fire cider is a folk tonic. That means, there really isn’t a set-in-stone recipe. Every time someone makes it or it gets passed through generations, the recipe is altered. Growth and change is a good thing!
Fire cider is a sweet, spicy, and vinegar-y mixture that is used to help boost the immune system, aid in digestion, and clear the sinuses. There are TONS of videos online on how to make your own. I’ll be sharing how I make it below.
You can eat the mixture alone, make it a salad dressing, add it to rice, throw some in with your smoothie…the options are endless.
How can it boost the immune system?
Fire cider is mostly consumed through the winter. But you can consume it all year round. My husband had a bout of gastritis early this year. We found his triggers but really did the healing with fire cider and some teas we made from herbs. He’ll swear it was the fire cider alone that did it.
The ingredients are what makes it immune boosting. Let’s break them down.
Organic Apple Cider Vinegar – aids in digestion by boosting your hydrochloric acid production in the stomach
Garlic – acts as an anti-microbial and anti-bacterial; it can also help lower cholesterol…raw is always better when it comes to garlic
Ginger – an herb that aid in circulation, reduces inflammation in the digestive tract, and helps reduce nausea
Turmeric – acts as an anti-inflammatory in the body
Cayenne – good for the heart an circulation
Onion – contain anti-inflammatory and immune boosting properties
Horseradish – great for clearing the sinuses
Honey – local, raw honey contains anti-microbial and anti-bacterial properties; it also adds a bit of sweetness to the concoction
BONUS – Since fire cider is a fermented product, you get the benefit of helping out the good bugs in your digestive tract!
How to make:
I followed a recipe from Mountain Rose Herbs and altered several things. You can view the original recipe here. Since I have slightly smaller jars, I cut down the ingredients so they all fit.
What you’ll need:
1-16 or 24 oz mason jar (I have 12 oz jars)
Note paper to affix a label
Food ingredients (listed below)
Here’s my recipe:
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 1 bulb garlic, minced
- 1-inch ginger root, peeled and minced
- 1 tbsp ground turmeric
- ½ tsp cayenne
- ½ onion, chopped
- 2 tbsp mustard seed
- zest of 1 lemon
- juice of 1 lemon
- ACV to cover ingredients (approx. 6 oz)
Add everything to the jar except for the ACV and sweetener. Use as much ACV as you need…just enough to cover the ingredients. You can add your sweetener at this time or you can add it when the cider is ready.
Place the jar in a cool, dark area and shake it daily. I created a daily reminder on my phone to remind me to reach into the cabinet and give it a little shake. This ensures the food is covered by the vinegar and that it stays mixed.
Use the wax paper as a buffer between the vinegar and the lid. If you don’t, the lid (assuming it’s a form of metal) will corrode. The wax paper acts as a barrier. Use the small paper to note the date you made it.
Let sit for 4-6 weeks. Strain and enjoy. You can use it as a salad dressing or just consume a few tablespoons daily for immune health.
There are a few things you can do here. If you do not abstain from honey for any reason, find a good raw, local honey to use in place of the maple syrup. I also used mustard seed because horseradish root is pretty difficult to find. You’ll like have to visit a specialty store or order from somewhere online.
Another thing I do differently is I don’t strain it. I know this goes against everything the internet will tell you. The idea behind straining is the vinegar has pulled all the necessary nutrients from the food in the jar leaving them pointless. Almost like making a broth from vegetables.
But I really like that taste! I eat this stuff plain! The crunch is amazing. I don’t put it on anything…just open the jar, take a couple of bites, and put it away. The hubs like it this way too.
Tell me…will you give fire cider a try this cold/ flu season? If you have a different recipe, drop it in the comments below!