At this time of year, it seems like everyone you meet is sniffling, coughing, and should probably buy stock in facial tissue companies. At the first sign of any possible disturbance in the force, I head to the kitchen. Yup, the kitchen. It sounds crazy, but I typically have all the ingredients necessary for a bit of homemade immune boosting.
Enter fire cider, a folk remedy designed to boost your immune system with ingredients that are anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral, and circulation boosting. Now, traditional fire cider needs to be made and marinate for up to four weeks before it’s ready to consume. My recipe uses similar ingredients but allows for immediate gratification. You see last year both Renato and I came down with not-quite-the-flu-but-something-pretty-close-to-it right before the holidays. Thankfully, that’s when I discovered a recipe for fire cider. I clearly did not have time to wait four weeks for it be ready, thus, I adapted it for my “need-something-anything-now” situation. I thought that if I added some water and simmered gently on the stove, all the ingredients would infuse into the liquid. It may not be as potent as the original but my immune system needed all the help it could get right then and there. Maybe it was the placebo effect, but I really do think it helped kicked the germs to the curb.
Here’s a quick rundown of the ingredients I used and their reported benefits:
- Ginger: helps with muscle pain, upset stomach, gas, upper respiratory infections and cough.
- Garlic: helps treat fungal infections, builds the immune system, helps with asthma, cholesterol and heart-related issues.
- Cayenne pepper: boosts metabolism and relieves pain.
- Lemon: aids in digestion, improves the function of blood vessels, anti-inflammatory, source of Vitamin C.
- Turmeric: an overall anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, antibacterial, antifungal powerhouse.
- Raw apple cider vinegar: good source of Vitamin C, mineral salts, and amino acids, eases digestion, and helps wash away toxins.
- Local honey: antiviral and antifungal, assists as a cough suppressant and throat soother.
Makes 1 pint
- 2 cups filtered water
- ¼ cup raw apple cider vinegar
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon local honey
- 2 garlic cloves, smashed
- 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger root
- ½ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (or two fresh hot peppers, chopped)
- ½ teaspoon ground turmeric powder
- Add all the ingredients into a small saucepan.
- Place pan over medium-low heat and bring up to a simmer.
- Cover and let it gently simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.
- Strain the liquid into a glass pint jar.
- Cover the jar with a small piece of parchment paper, screw on the lid. (The acidity of the vinegar can cause the metal lid to rust. The parchment paper prevents this from happening.)
- Store in refrigerator.
- Consume a shot a day to support your immune system or a few shots if you’re starting to feel under the weather. You can take fire cider hot or cold, straight up or mixed in a drink.
Photos by Renato Ghio