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Free Fire Cider! Tradition, Not Trademark

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Following herbalist tradition, I make Fire Cider every year. It is a “food as medicine” tonic that is so worth making! It is a spicy hot, deliciously sweet vinegar tonic first concocted in the kitchen at the California School Of Herbal Studies in the early 1970’s or 1980’s. Rosemary Gladstar used it as a class project in her early herbalism classes thirty years ago, and it caught on like wildfire. She also published it in many of her herbal books over the years.

Rosemary Gladstar named it “Fire Cider”, but it became a medicinal tonic of the people, and we all have full awareness of its origin. It was part of the herbal revolution and thanks to Rosemary, belongs to all herbalists. Two tablespoons, taken daily in water, seems to help prevent colds and respiratory infections, and aid digestion.

An upstart company named Shire City went after three herbalists selling fire cider on Etsy and other websites, saying they couldn’t use the name anymore.  They had trademarked it as their own. There is a pending lawsuit.  Shire City is suing three herbalists over the name.  Shire City bottles and sells it as if it were their own original product. The court date is close, March or April 2019. This battle has been going on for 5 years.  It is hoped that herbalists will win the right to use the name Fire Cider again. Those of us who oppose the action of Shire City join a Facebook media blitz called Free Fire Cider/Tradition, Not Trademark! Every February 2nd we make it and post photos on the Free Fire Cider FB page, if desired.  Please visit!

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Heres a good recipe to start with, if you’d like to try it yourself.

1/2 cup grated, fresh horseradish
1/2 cup or more fresh chopped onions
1/4 cup or more chopped garlic
1/4 cup or more grated or diced fresh ginger
2 dried Cayenne peppers
1/2 cup chopped tumeric root or 1/8 c. powdered
1-2 chopped lemons or oranges
Optional: Echinacea, elderberries, cranberries, etc.

There are tons of other Fire Cider recipes online, if you want other ideas.

Place everything in a 1/2 gallon mason jar (or split between 2 quart jars). Cover with enough raw, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar to cover by 3-4 inches. If using a metal lid and screw band, place a piece of Saran Wrap over the jar, first. The vinegar can corrode the metal. I like to use a plastic screw band designed for canning jars.

Place in pantry or on kitchen shelf and shake jar daily (or often) to help in the maceration process. After 3-4 weeks, strain off the liquid. Add warmed honey to taste. For me, that is usually 1/2-3/4 cup. It should be hot, spicy and a little sweet. I usually bottle it in bail wire bottles to make it easy to store it in the fridge or give as a gift.

I dilute my daily shot glass of Fire Cider with water. Be sure to take a couple teaspoons every day if you feel a cold coming on. It’s good stuff! It seems to assist the immune system to battle viruses.

Freeze the “mash” that remains behind. It is great in egg rolls, or as part of a stir fry dish. Chicken cooked in a marinade of Fire Cider is yummy, as are salad dressings made with it.

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I made my Fire Cider a little early this year as I was nearly out!

For more info about Rosemary and her wonderful concoction, visit