Thursday, October 4, 2012

Fire It Up! Fire Cider

by Maria Noël Groves, Clinical Herbalist & Co-op Wellness Educator

When autumn comes in with its winds and chills, New Englanders have traditionally turned to an old remedy to boost them up: Fire Cider. Recipes for fire cider vary from home to home, but the backbone is onions, hot peppers, and garlic chopped up and steeped in unpasteurized apple cider vinegar. Extra ingredients include honey, ginger, horseradish, turmeric, black pepper, citrus, or whatever else you feel like throwing in. The mixture is shaken daily and pressed out after about one month, result in in a pungent brew taking by the spoonful. Finished Fire Cider has the reputation mainly for warding off colds and other infections but also for curing hangovers, improving cardiovascular health, boosting digestive health, and decreasing inflammation.

I make batches of fire cider up several times a year with my students using the recipe here, and besides the medicinal uses, I like adding a dash to simmering soup broth, as a salad dressing, and in marinades. When the Co-op's Health & Beauty Manager showed me this new Shire City Herbals Fire Cider she was considering carrying, I had to try it. This remedy was a bit different! It's spicier and sweeter than mine, and I was instantly hooked. It's now available on the Co-op shelves by the cold and flu remedies, and it's gained fans among Co-op employees with a sense of adventure. I bought myself a bottle, and you can bet I'll be trying to replicate it next time my Fire Cider class comes around...

I also appreciate the fun and funky label on Shire City Herbals' Fire Cider bottle and the creative shot glass that comes with it. Husband and wife team Amy and Dana from the Berkshires in Massachusetts cover it with creative artwork and playful stories. Their recipe is made with organically grown roots and fruits, and they say "Fire Cider is like a large bear on a cold winter night - A large bear that mauls what ails you!" Learn more about the product at and find it in the Co-op.

Be warned: If you have a tendency towards heartburn, this'll either cure it or cause it!

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