četrtek, 18. oktober 2012

Ginger Tea for a Cold Morning

Last night the temperature dropped to zero, according to the weather report. I don't have a thermometer to check it, but when in the middle of the night my bladder woke me up and made me run outside, I surely felt uneasy while the freezing air was grabbing for my balls. So, when I woke up few hours later, first thing I went to my field and took one plant of Zingiber officinale, commonly known as ginger. Traditionally ginger is used as a remedy for various illnesses, ranging from common colds, cough and flu, to dyspepsia, nausea and arthritis. Recent studies show that it may ease muscle pain and to treat nausea caused by seasickness, morning sickness and chemotherapy.
I use it because I like the taste. I used to make ginger tea with honey, but this time I choose to try it with the rice syrup that one of my neighbors made. It was a good choice. Homemade rice syrup, homegrown ginger and hot peppers (you may not put them in the tea if you don't like them). Unfortunately I had to buy lemons at the supermarket, a half-hour ride with bus (and yes, the nearest bus station is an hour walk from my home).
Cut the ginger roots (when you want to look smart you don't say roots but rhizome) in thin slices and put them in cold water. The amount? Your choice, depending how strong the taste you want. Boil them for good twenty minutes. Don't be afraid it's too long, here when we make ginger tea as preserve for sale, we cook it for 10 hours or more. If you're a fan of hot peppers, add them in the last minute of boiling. Before adding the lemon juice wait for a minute or two so it cools a little bit. And then rice syrup. Or honey. Or even sugar, in China they traditionally make it with brown sugar. Drink it as hot as you can. On the other hand, you can make a lot of tea and first drink it hot, then wait and when it's cold it makes a superb refreshing drink.
A tasty variation is to use orange juice instead of lemon. With a dash of cinnamon.
A new thing I learned is that you can use also the leaves, for tea making or as spice. They have the same taste as the roots, just way milder. I'll dry them and next time try a tea with a mixture of ginger and mint leaves.
Another tea that will be ready for cold days is Rosa canina - dogrose or witches' briar. I was really surprised that the folks here don't use it and I'm the only idiot that is picking the fruits. Why idiot? Because the thorns on the plant are the same size like on the European species, while the fruits are five times smaller, even smaller than a coffee bean.

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