Wild Mountain Fire Cider With Osha and Juniper Berries
Updated: Feb 2
Fire Cider is a traditional folk remedy made with herbs and apple cider vinegar. It’s a potent tonic used for generations as a remedy to naturally protect against colds and flu and ease sinus congestion.
For us, cold and flu season kicked off early this year when Daniel came down with one of the worst colds I’ve ever seen him get. Honestly, I think he might have been even sicker than we were when we got COVID! So, I decided to mix us up a batch of Fire Cider. As I was putting it together Daniel (who hates herbal remedies) asked “Why do you hate me?” I laughed for a while over that one. He’s not overly fond of any medicine that doesn’t come with cherry flavoring.
The recipe has to steep for 4 weeks, so my ‘poor’ husband will be safe for now as this batch won’t help us on this round of colds, but hopefully, it will help to ward off future illnesses.
What Is Fire Cider?
Fire cider, the name is admittedly intimidating. Essentially, this traditional tonic calls for 5 basic ingredients: horseradish, ginger, garlic, onions, and hot peppers. These are then steeped in apple cider vinegar for 3 to 4 weeks, before being strained and finished with honey to balance the acidity. It’s remarkably easy to make at home and it’s also easy to adjust to your tastes, preferences, and surroundings.
What Ingredients go in Fire Cider?
As we said, the base recipe includes horseradish, ginger, garlic, onions, cayenne pepper, and apple cider vinegar. But, there is no reason to stop there. Because this is a folk preparation, the ingredients can change from year to year depending on when you make it, what's growing around you and what you medicinals you may have foraged over the season. Since we are located in Southwest Colorado, we have plenty of foraged Osha root and Juniper berries, so we added those in with our other ingredients. Other additions could include rose hips, different types of bark, and pine needles. The sky is kind of the limit here. You want to add ingredients that you enjoy, and whose health benefits you are certain of.
How to Use Fire Cider
There are as many ways to use this tonic, as there are of making it, but to get you started, here are a few ideas:
By the shot (about 1-2 Tablespoons) straight up.
As a mixer in warm water, juice, or apple cider.
Use it to make a delicious homemade salad dressing.
Use in Bloody Marys — alcoholic or not!
Drizzle over steamed veggies.
Use as a marinade for tofu, meat, etc.
Add to soup or chili.
How to Make Fire Cider
We’re calling my version, Wild Mountain Fire Cider because we added a few items that can normally only be gotten by foraging them from the wild. Primarily the Osha root (an immune booster and aid for coughs, pneumonia, colds, bronchitis, and the flu), Pine Needles (high in vitamin C as well as a natural expectorant and decongestant), and Juniper berries (an anti-inflammatory antioxidant). However, depending on your location you may be able to order these ingredients or purchase them at your local herbal shop.
2 dried red Chile de Arbol (could also use fresh jalapeños)
2 lemons sliced (could also use oranges or a combination)
2” piece of dried Osha root
3 sprigs of fresh thyme (could use 1 Tbsp. dried)
4’ of fresh Ginger root, diced (Could use 1 Tbsp. dried)
A small handful of fresh pine needles
Cloves from one head of garlic peeled and crushed (could use 2 Tbsp. powdered)
½ white onion chopped
1/2 tsp. Crushed red chile
1 Tbsp. Cinnamon powder (could also use a cinnamon stick)
1 Tbsp. turmeric powder
1Tbsp. dried juniper berries
1 Tbsp. black peppercorns
2 Tbsp. of dried rosemary leaves
2 Tbsp. dried horseradish
organic apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup of raw, local honey, or to taste
Layer all of the vegetables, fruits, herbs, and spices in a clean one-quart jar, then fill the jar with apple cider vinegar leaving about ½ inch from the top.
Seal your cap tightly. If using a mason jar, or other metal top jar place a piece of cooking parchment or a small plastic bag between the ingredients and the lid to keep the lid from corroding.
Shake well and store in a cool dry place away from direct sunlight.
Shake daily for 4 weeks or up to 6 weeks.
Using cheesecloth or a fine colander, strain all of the plant materials from the vinegar and discard. Transfer your Fire Cider to a clean jar.
Sweeten with honey to taste.
Will store at room temperature for up to 6 months, or in the refrigerator for up to one year.
Have you tried Fire Cider before? Tell us all about it in the comments below! And, as always, until next time: