By Kate Maxey
Ginger is one of my favorite tonic herbs to use. Whether it is in cooking, as a tea or syrup or as aromatherapy, its uses are vast. It is an excellent digestive and assimilation aid and is useful for nausea, gas and bloating and morning sickness. It’s spicy components activate the flow of saliva and the production of digestive juices. It is a circulatory aid and anti inflammatory that helps with headaches, migraines and joint inflammation, as well as varicose veins and cold hands and feet. It warms and moves the blood, so it is a great herb for the cold winter months. Ginger contains amino acids, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc and Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, and C.
So recently I have been making a ginger syrup to put into my water (sometimes with a squeeze of lemon) for a yummy drink. I have also been known to top vanilla ice cream with this ginger syrup as a warming digestive aid to counter the cold dampness of the ice cream.
So, to start off you want to make a very strong tea of ginger by boiling 2 ounces dried ginger to one quart of water. You want to keep it at a gentle simmer uncovered for 60 -90 minutes, depending on the strength you want it.
While the tea is brewing you can juice your 4 ounces by weight of fresh ginger. I have a champion juicer that I love, but any type of juicer will do.
Then, when the tea liquid is at about half of what you started with, you want to strain out the ginger from the water. I use a stainless steal strainer into a pyrex 16 ounce measuring cup, but muslin cloth or a good ole fashion kitchen towel will work too (just be wary of how hot the tea will be).
Then, pour the tea back into the sauce pan and put the fire back on low. Add the 1/2 cup of honey (or more if you want a sweeter, thicker syrup) and stir until well blended. Take the mixture off the heat, pour back into the pyrex cup and add the fresh ginger juice.
Finally, pour the syrup into the containers of your choice. I usually use two eight ounce amber bottles, but you can definitely get fancy with your glassware, especially if they will be gifts.
*Side note: You can use this method of syrup making for virtually any herb. I have been thinking about doing a liver/immune system tonic for some fall time support with some Burdock, Dandelion, Astragalus and Reshi. So play, experiment and enjoy this fun easy way to get your herbs in!!
1 quart water
2 ounces dried ginger —to yield 12-14 ounces strong tea.
4 ounces fresh ginger
1/2 cup honey or more if desired
makes about two 8 ounce bottles