Since last year, we've been much more committed to doing recipes from scratch, using fresh ingredients as much as possible. Aside from the health benefits and the increased awareness of the relationship between our food and our farmers, we've really enjoyed our cooking adventures. The process is as fun as the results are tasty.
During these recent cold winter days I've had a yearning for some fresh-brewed ginger tea. I usually only get ginger tea when we're at Asian restaurants that serve it. I'd love to make some up right here at home, and enjoy it after a cold day on the ski slopes or after a bout of snow shoveling.
Most ginger tea recipes hail its health benefits, including helping to reduce blood clotting, lowering cholesterol levels, soothing sore throats during flu season, and calming indigestion. As most tea drinkers know, the simple act of slowly sipping hot tea has a stress-reducing, calming effect.
I tried several recipes this past weekend, including adding chopped fresh ginger directly to a steeping cup of tea (not enough ginger flavor, IMO) and creating an infusion of sliced ginger in a saucepan of simmering water. This infusion method seemed bitter and difficult to store for long-term use.
Then, bingo. I came across a recipe in tastehongkong.com for creating a ginger paste that can be dissolved to make the tea, is delicious, can be stored in the refrigerator for up to several weeks, and can be easily taken along on ski trips. This method is my favorite. I can see storing a teaspoon of paste in a ziplock and scooping it into a cup of hot water while warming up in any slopeside yurt.
Be aware, though, if you're trying to reduce sugar in your diet. You might want to amend this recipe to reduce the brown sugar, and don't use any additional honey for flavoring.
So let's get started.
- Peel about 2" of the end of a firm, plump, fresh piece of ginger. The peel is thin and soft, so don't cut deep.
- Finely chop (or use a food processor) about 1/4 cup of fresh ginger. Take a moment to breathe in that fresh ginger smell!
- Move the chopped ginger to a small lidded saucepan, the top of a double boiler, or some other lidded container that can withstand the heat of boiling.
- Add water to a larger pot, the bottom of a double boiler, or a slow cooker and set the lidded saucepan inside the large pot. Bring the water to a boil and then simmer for one hour. Make sure that the water isn't so deep that it splashes into the lidded saucepan containing the chopped ginger.
- Remove the saucepan from the hot water and stir in 2 Tb brown sugar or black sugar. (I used brown sugar, as I had that on hand.) You should now have a ginger paste.
- Add 1 tsp of the ginger paste to a cup of hot water, stir, and enjoy! Any remaining ginger bits will settle to the bottom of the cup.
You could also flavor the tea while in your cup with a teaspoon of honey or a bit of fresh-squeezed lemon juice. I didn't feel additional flavoring was necessary.
These quantities make about 4 servings. Adjust the quantities if you'd like to make more. Any remaining ginger paste can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for several weeks. Perfect, really, for taking along on weekend winter ski trips!
If you like the soothing heat and flavor of ginger, I hope you'll try this and tell me what you think. If you have other tips for how to use fresh ginger (candied ginger, etc.) feel free to share them below.
Thanks so much for reading along!