Potlikker Fire Cider

Recipe 30 (plus 3 to 4 weeks infusion time)Preparation Time 0 min Cooking Time

Potlikker Fire Cider

30 (plus 3 to 4 weeks infusion time)Preparation Time 0 min Cooking Time

About this Recipe

Fire cider is often called “the people’s medicine” and for good reason! It’s a spicy vinegar made with ingredients you can find in your garden and at your grocer. Things like chile peppers, ginger, onions, and horseradish. It can be full of anti-inflammatory and anti-viral ingredients that support the immune system. This fire cider recipe is a callback to Black foodways and herbalism, but through a contemporary lens that celebrates Black culture. Potlikker is the liquid that develops after cooking down a pot of greens. It’s full of flavor and nutrients and if you have enough, it makes a great broth for sipping. You will often hear people speak of cooking greens as if it is a thing of the past, but many folks, myself included, still turn to a pot of greens for nourishment. But it can be hard to slow down in today’s modern world and make a nice slow-cooked pot of greens. So I’m excited to share a recipe that mimics the ritual of cooking greens and the folkloric beauty of Black herbalism.

The Benefits

Crushing garlic releases allicin, a powerful (and powerfully scented) compound that provides antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory benefits. Collards add fiber, calcium, and plenty of vitamins (particularly A, C, K, and folate).

Note: Another easy way to think of this potlikker fire cider is as a nutrient-rich, vinegar-based hot sauce. You could sprinkle this on greens for some meta flair or add it to soups. For the collard greens, feel free to substitute mustard greens, turnip greens, or kale, with consideration of the flavor for each green. Collards are a solid source of vitamin C and minerals like calcium. Dried nettles, chickweed, and elderberries are available at specialty herb shops and online. 

Equipment: 48-oz or 64-oz wide-mouth glass jar with lid and a nut milk bag


Makes about 1 quart (1 L)
  • 7 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 cups (90 g) collard greens, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup (100 g) grated ginger
  • 1/2 cup (60 g) grated horseradish (1/4 to 1/2 cup prepared horseradish is fine in a pinch)
  • 1/2 cup (14 g) dried oatstraw
  • 1/2 cup (6 g) dried nettles
  • 1/2 cup (14 g) dried chickweed
  • 1/4 cup (30 g) dried elderberries
  • 1 Tbsp (5 g) smoked chile flakes
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne powder
  • 2½ to 3 cups (600 to 720 ml) apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) blackstrap molasses
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) raw honey


  1. Step 1
    Put the garlic, collard greens, onion, ginger, horseradish, oatstraw, nettles, chickweed, elderberries, chile flakes, and cayenne in a 48-oz or 64-oz glass jar and cover with the apple cider vinegar. Add the blackstrap molasses and honey. If the ingredients are not fully covered, add more vinegar until they are submerged. Seal the jar. (If your lid is aluminum, put a piece of parchment paper over the jar before sealing the lid so that the vinegar doesn’t react with the aluminum.) Shake to combine.
  2. Step 2
    Allow the fire cider to sit in a cool, dark place for 3 to 4 weeks. Put a nut milk bag in a strainer set over a large container; strain and decant into the jar or several jars. These will keep in the refrigerator for several months.
  3. Step 3
    Take 1 Tbsp a day when you feel run down or add to recipes for a peppery and nutrient-rich kick. Or, as noted, great on a plate of greens!