Food Friday: Fire Cider for Cold Season

Okay, I’m cheating. This isn’t exactly a “food” recipe; but it is, nonetheless, a recipe for a very important potion that I use every winter to support my immune system. When used properly, it prevents cold and flu germs from taking me over. I’m extremely grateful for this potion because it actually works. And anything that prevents me from being in absolute misery for a week or more is a keeper in my book of recipes. I make a lot of it in the fall to prepare for the winter, but also to have on hand to give to friends and family.

Fire Cider Is:

  • A natural remedy for supporting the immune system.

  • A low-cost, easy, DIY recipe.

  • Loaded mainly with horseradish, a plant that has been used medicinally for perhaps the last 2,000 years. It is a diuretic and irritates the tissues, causing improved circulation locally.

  • Effective because it contains ingredients that control bacterial infections and lowers fevers by increasing perspiration.

  • Administered orally like a shooter, upon the first sign of a cold and/or flu (for me, it’s a sore spot in my throat).

  • Contraindicated for people with stomach ulcers or thyroid problems.



  • 8 oz horseradish root, grated

  • 4 oz ginger root, grated

  • 1 orange, sliced

  • 1 lemon, sliced

  • 1 onion, sliced

  • 6 garlic cloves, smashed

  • Lots of apple cider vinegar


  1. Combine all ingredients to fill two half-gallon mason jar halfway. Use more or fewer jars as necessary. Fill jar(s) with apple cider vinegar, and give it a good shake. Line the mouth with a piece of parchment paper - this will prevent the metal lid from corroding. Cover tightly with a standard lid + band. Alternatively, you could use plastic lids since they don’t corrode.

  2. Let the jar sit on the counter, out of direct sunlight, for two weeks to a month, shaking occasionally. After a sufficient extraction period, strain the solids out of the liquid and compost the solids. Store liquid in dropper bottles or mason jars, refrigerated.

  3. To administer, dissolve 1 tbsp honey in 2 oz warm water. Add 1-2 tbsp fire cider and shoot it down the hatch! It can be very spicy for some. Chase with water if necessary. I actually think it’s good to chase with water in general - your body could use the extra hydration if it’s fighting germs.


“Armoracia.” New Encyclopedia of Herbs and Their Uses: the Definitive Guide to the Identification, Cultivation, and Uses of Herbs the Definitive Guide to the Identification, Cultivation and Uses of Herbs, by Deni Bown, Dorling Kindersley, 2001, pp. 129–130.