Hibiscus Pomegranate Fire Cider Recipe (2024)

Written by Juliet Blankespoor with Meghan Gemma
Photographed by Juliet Blankespoor

Hibiscus Pomegranate Fire Cider Recipe (1)

Fire Cider Benefits

One of my favorite ways to use hibiscus (oh, count the ways!) is in fire cider. Fire cider is basically a spicy herbal vinegar, often sweetened with a little honey. It’s taken by the dropperful or spoonful, depending on the cider’s strength and imbiber’s palette.

Fire cider helps to clear out the sinuses and wake up the immune and circulatory systems. It can be taken to ward off a cold or other respiratory infection. Those with poor circulation can ingest fire cider tonically. The recipe I share below is especially beneficial for high blood pressure and atherosclerosis due to the bioflavonoids in the hibiscus (Hibiscus sabdariffa) and pomegranate (Punica granatum), along with the medicinal attributes of garlic (Allium sativum) and ginger (Zingiber officinale).

As you may imagine, fire cider can potentially aggravate heartburn, peptic ulcers, and gastrointestinal inflammation. In addition, it will be too heating on a long-term basis for those with fiery constitutions (Pitta).

Hibiscus Pomegranate “Cheater” Fire Cider Recipe

This is my household’s go-to fire cider recipe. Milder and sweeter than other fire cider recipes, hibiscus pomegranate fire cider makes a great gift for the herbally uninitiated. I promise, I won’t tell if your fire cider finds its way into the loving embrace of bubbles and gin. However, I most certainly wouldn’t condone, under any circ*mstances, the mixing of fire cider with tequila and pomegranate juice, served in a martini glass with a salted rim.

Hibiscus Pomegranate Fire Cider Recipe (2)

Hibiscus Pomegranate Orange Fire Cider.

Why is it “cheater” fire cider?

Typically, fire cider is made by placing the ingredients in a glass jar and letting them sit for a moon’s passing or for six weeks. This recipe, on the other hand, is a one-day affair.

If you happen to have more time, and want to maximize your ingredients and make a stronger cider, you can complete Step 1, adding the hibiscus, and let the slurry sit for a month. The juicy pomegranate-orange mixture can be added right before straining; after a month, you can finish the recipe below, skipping the heating part.

This recipe makes eight to nine bottles (8 ounces) and should be refrigerated for longer-term storage. If you are making the recipe just for yourself, I recommend making a fourth of all the ingredients (yielding about 16 ounces of fire cider, or a pint). It may keep unrefrigerated for a short period, but the extra liquid from the pomegranate and oranges may dilute the vinegar enough to allow microbial growth.

Hibiscus Pomegranate Fire Cider Recipe (3)

Hibiscus fire cider ingredients.

Hibiscus Pomegranate “Cheater” Fire Cider Recipe

This is my household’s go-to fire cider recipe. Milder and sweeter than other fire cider recipes, hibiscus pomegranate fire cider makes a great gift for the herbally uninitiated. I promise, I won’t tell if your fire cider finds its way into the loving embrace of bubbles and gin. However, I most certainly wouldn’t condone, under any circ*mstances, the mixing of fire cider with tequila and pomegranate juice, served in a martini glass with a salted rim.

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Course Beverage

Yield 70 ounces

Equipment

  • Food processor or blender

  • Double boiler or nested pots

  • Cheesecloth or potato ricer

Ingredients

  • 64 ounces apple cider vinegar
  • 10 ounces honey - Use less for a more savory vinegar.
  • 2 medium onions
  • 2 large garlic bulbs
  • 4 ounces fresh ginger root
  • 2 ounces fresh turmeric root
  • 5 ounces horseradish root
  • 2 large pomegranates - When ripe they are plump, succulent, and garnet in color. Can substitute with 4 ounces of pomegranate juice for 1 pomegranate.
  • 2 oranges
  • ½ ounce dried whole cayenne peppers - Can substitute 1 tablespoon of dried cayenne powder for 1/2 an ounce of whole peppers.
  • 1.25 ounce dried hibiscus flowers - Cut and sifted.

Directions

  • Peel the garlic, and coarsely chop the onions, ginger, horseradish, and turmeric. Place them in a food processor or blender, along with the cayenne peppers. Add enough apple cider vinegar to cover. I prefer a glass blender if it is available. Work in two batches. Blend carefully with the lid on and take care not to let fumes or slurry get in your eyes.

  • Place the slurried spiciness from both batches into a double boiler. Don’t have one? Nest a smaller pot inside a bigger pot or saucepan and use a couple of upside-down mason jar rings to keep the inside pot off the bottom of the outer one. Add a little water to the outside pot and voilà—double boiler! Add the rest of the apple cider vinegar to the slurry and keep the heat on low, with the lid on! Let the mixture heat on low; don’t let it get above 120°F (49°C) for three hours, stirring occasionally. Again, be careful with the fumes!!!!

  • Meanwhile, back at the bat cave, peel your oranges and deseed the pomegranates, sneaking off a nibble or two. Put on an old apron and mash the pomegranates and oranges with a potato masher in the sink.

  • After a couple of hours, taste the slurry. If it’s too mild for your fire cider pleasure, this is your chance to add more of the spicy herbs and cook for one more hour. After three hours of total cooking time, turn off the heat, and add the hibiscus and the juicy pomegranate/orange mixture. Let sit for one hour and check the color—if it’s too light, add more hibiscus. When the cider is a beautiful red hue, strain the mixture through a cheesecloth or potato ricer. You’ll need to squeeze out or press the slurry, or you will lose a great deal of the medicine. (Don’t use your bare hands to squeeze out the cider or you’ll burn/irritate your skin.) Add the honey and mix well, making sure all the honey is dissolved.

  • Place in sterilized, clear-glass jars, label, and refrigerate. Dosage is 1 teaspoon (5 ml) as needed.

Notes

This cider should be refrigerated for longer-term storage. It should keep for one year refrigerated—check for signs of spoilage, such as mold or off-smells. It may keep unrefrigerated for a short period (up to a few weeks), but the extra liquid from the pomegranate and oranges can dilute the vinegar enough to allow microbial growth. If you are making the recipe just for yourself, I recommend using a fourth of all the ingredients (yielding about 16 ounces [480 ml] of fire cider, or 1 pint).

Keyword Fire Cider, Hibiscus, Pomegranate

Tried this recipe or have questions?Leave a comment!

Hibiscus Pomegranate Fire Cider Recipe (4)

Left: Blending the cider ingredients; Right: Large homemade double boiler.


Hibiscus Pomegranate Fire Cider Recipe (5)

Straining the hibiscus fire cider.


Hibiscus Pomegranate Fire Cider Recipe (6)

Left: Straining with a ceramic coffee strainer and straining cloth; Right: Adding the honey to the strained cider.

Fire Cider Recipe Extravaganza

A few decades ago, beloved American herbalist Rosemary Gladstar came up with the name fire cider and subsequently shared her recipe with students over the years, many of whom developed and sold their own version. Recently, the term fire cider became the subject of a contentious debate, as one herbal company (without regard to Rosemary Gladstar’s wishes) was able to obtain a trademark for the name fire cider. Thankfully the trademark has been revoked, and we can all legally use this classic herbal term once more!

Want Rosemary’s favorite fire cider recipes? She’s just published Fire Cider!, a book of 101 zesty recipes from her own kitchen and beyond. A number of culinary herbal virtuosos are featured in the book, including your truly. For your own copy, we recommend buying directly from Rosemary herself. You can do so here.

More excited about recipes you can click on right now? Here are some of our spiciest picks:

References

  1. American Herbal Products Association’s Botanical Safety Handbook, 2nd ed. (CRC Press; 2013).
  2. Mahmoud, B. M., Ali, H. M., Homeida, M. M., and Bennett, J. L. “Significant Reduction in Chloroquine Bioavailability following Coadministration with the Sudanese Beverages Aradaib, Karkadi and Lemon.” Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy 33, no. 5 (1994): 1005–1009

Meet Our Contributors:

Hibiscus Pomegranate Fire Cider Recipe (7)

JULIET BLANKESPOOR is the founder, primary instructor, and Creative Director of the Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine, an online school serving thousands of students from around the globe. She's a professional plant-human matchmaker and bonafide plant geek, with a degree in botany and over 30 years of experience teaching and writing about herbalism, medicine making, and organic herb cultivation. Juliet’s lifelong captivation with medicinal weeds and herb gardening has birthed many botanical enterprises over the decades, including an herbal nursery and a farm-to-apothecary herbal products business.

These days, she channels her botanical obsession through her writing and photography in her online programs, on her personal blog Castanea, and in her new book, The Healing Garden: Cultivating and Handcrafting Herbal Remedies. Juliet and her family reside in a home overrun with houseplants and books in Asheville, North Carolina.

Hibiscus Pomegranate Fire Cider Recipe (8)

MEGHAN GEMMA is one of Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine's primary instructors through her written lessons, sharing herbal and wild foods wisdom from the flowery heart of the school to an ever-wider field of herbalists, gardeners, healers, and plant lovers.

She began her journey with the Chestnut School in 2010—as an intern and manager at the Chestnut Herb Nursery and then as a plant-smitten student “back in the day” when the school’s programs were taught in the field, and later she became part of the school’s writing team. Meghan lives in the Ivy Creek watershed, just north of Asheville, North Carolina.

Interested in becoming a contributor?

© Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine and chestnutherbs.com, 2011-2024. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine and chestnutherbs.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Hibiscus Pomegranate Fire Cider Recipe (2024)

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