Master Tonic (Fire Cider)
Master Tonic (Fire Cider)
Fire cider is an infused vinegar made with warming herbs, roots and peppers. It has been used for generations as a folk remedy for everything from colds, flu, arthritis, circulation and digestion issues, to hangovers – and it packs quite a punch both in uses and flavor.
I was hooked from my first taste. WOW. It is warming, sharp, and …well, just try it!
People swear by fire cider, or ‘master tonic’, as a general immune boosting elixir and “cure” for colds and flu, and it has been used for generations. The recent resurgence of popularity in home remedies and other DIY ways has brought fire cider back into the forefront in home made wellness recipes.
It is packed with anti-microbial, anti-fungal, anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-all-kinds-of-things ingredients that should certainly boost the immune system and give your taste buds a real wake up call. It can be taken once daily as a general elixir or 3 times per day when under the weather to speed recovery time.
Fire cider takes 4 – 8 weeks to infuse completely and the flavors change and mellow over time, so get yours started now to be prepared for winter colds!
How To Make Fire Cider (Master Tonic)
1/2 cup grated ginger root
1/2 cup grated horseradish root
1 medium sized onion, chopped or grated
1 head of garlic (~10 cloves), crushed or minced
2 jalapeño peppers, minced
zest and juice of 1 lemon or other citrus fruit
2 tbsps. dried rosemary
1 tbsp. turmeric powder
1/4 tsp. dried cayenne pepper
Apple Cider Vinegar
You may want to wear gloves while preparing roots and peppers! The title ‘fire’ is not for nothing, during preparation or tasting!
Horseradish is incredibly potent stuff and grating by hand is not fun. I put mine in the freezer for about 20 minutes before using a food processor to quickly mince it up. If you use a mandolin or grater, I advise you to open the window or even go outside.
The quickest way to go about this recipe is to scrub or peel, core, and remove stems from herbs, peppers, and roots and then throw it all in a food processor.
Place it all in a sterilized 1 quart jar and fill jar with 5% apple cider vinegar.
I used a bail top jar. It has a glass lid, rubber gasket and wire closure. You could also use a plastic lid, or if all you have are the metal lids, place cling wrap or parchment paper between the jar and lid to prevent corrosion from the vinegar.
Store in a dark, cool area for 4 – 8 weeks before use and shake the jar daily (if you miss a day or two occasionally it won’t ruin it, but aim for once/day).
After a few weeks, strain the liquid into a sterilized glass storage container. Add honey to taste (**Read notes below). Honey is not merely a sweetener, it contains anti-microbial, anti-fungal and anti-septic properties and is great for a sore throat. As with any ingredient (other than the vinegar of course!) it is optional.
Store in cool dark place and use within 18 months.
The strained pulp can be dehydrated and used as one heck of a spice mix, or used to make a second batch of fire cider. Just place the pulp back into the original jar and top with apple cider vinegar to restart the process.
How To Use Fire Cider (Master Tonic)
**In the final step honey can be added to the whole batch for those who find it hard to take otherwise. I prefer to sweeten as I go, leaving the infusion unsweetened for use in tea, orange juice, over salads, over meats, however you choose to use it, keeping in mind that it is an acid base (vinegar).
Because it is an infusion and not a ferment, heat and cold will not destroy all the benefits (excessive heat may deteriorate some of the enzymes and vitamins, just like cooking any vegetable or root).
It can be cooked into something or frozen. Which is great if a family member doesn’t care for the flavor (you will either love or hate it – there doesn’t seem to be a middle ground!).
For a daily immune booster, take 1/2 – 1 tbsp. per day. To fight colds and flu, take the same dose 3 times per day.
Common Fire Cider Q&A
Infuse and store fire cider in a cool dark place such as a cupboard. Fridge storage is not necessary, but won’t hurt it either, it’s up to you. It is basically an infused vinegar and can be stored as any other vinegar.
If you can’t find or are sensitive to an ingredient, leave it out. Your fire cider will still provide plenty of health benefits, even a daily dose of ONLY apple cider vinegar (ACV) will help boost immune system.
Dried ingredients can be used to replace anything you can’t find fresh and vice-versa. Adjust quantities to suit.
Organic is best, but use what you have available to you.
Want more or less peppers, ginger, or other ingredient? Go for it, and let the community know if you come up with something amazing:).
Use 5% ACV, not home made ACV (unless you know it is at least 5% acidity through testing). The acidity preserves your ingredients allowing for a lengthy infusion.
Fighting a cold, but you just made this yesterday? Go ahead and take some. The full benefits of the infusion aren’t ready yet, but you’ll still get some of it. Since it is a very young infusion, replace what you use by topping up the vinegar.
Hate the flavor? Hide it in a big glass of orange juice, kombucha, tea, a smoothie, a pot of soup, as a marinade, in salad dressing, use it in a mixed drink (fire cider moonshine will definitely perk up your senses!;)), or what have you.
Can I eat the pulp after straining? Yes! You can eat some straight if you are extra brave and it can be stored in enough ACV to cover it either in a cupboard or the fridge, use it to restart another batch of fire cider, or dehydrate it to use as a spice mix.
My garlic is blue, green, red or purple?!? Surprisingly – this is NOT an issue. This is a chemical reaction between the anthocyanins in the garlic and the acidity of the vinegar. Not to worry, eat your blue garlic.
I am not a medical professional and I make no claims as to the effectiveness of “fire cider” as a cure for anything. This recipe is provided for entertainment purposes only and is taken at your own risk. For medical advise, talk to a medical professional.
That being said – it’s infused vinegar, it’s yummy and full of healthy, immune boosting foods.
Can I buy some already made? Yes! You can find Fire Cider for sale here.
Have you tried fire cider? What adjustments would you make to this recipe? How do you use it?