Friday, March 11, 2011

ginger

Ginger was popular in my kitchen this week. First up was a favorite, ginger liqueur . . .

Peel fresh ginger with a vegetable peeler, then chop into small pieces.

Place 1-2 tablespoons (I used 2 but my recipe says 1, it's your call) of the chopped ginger in 1 1/2 cups brandy and allow to infuse at room temperature for two weeks, shake occasionally. After two weeks, strain out the ginger bits and make the sweetener syrup -- add 3/4 cup brown sugar and 1/2 granulated sugar to 1/2 cup water and boil until the mixture is clear. Cool and add the syrup to the brandy, then allow the liqueur another week to develop the flavor.

To make a somewhat healthier version, I suppose a person could substitute another type of sweetener, honey or agave,  but I haven't tried that yet. I always figure a little sugar can be tolerated now and then.

Next up was ginger honey . . . chop enough peeled ginger to fill 1/3 to 1/2 of a jar, then pour honey over all, stir it in, cover and allow to infuse at room temperature for 2-4 weeks. Strain or not. After only a few days, the honey takes on the ginger flavor. This would be fabulous added to a vinaigrette, I'm planning on it next chance I get. And a spoon of this in a cup of mint tea is heaven -- the peppery, sweet bits of ginger in the tea are an absolute delight. Taken before dinner, it will stimulate your appetite and taken after dinner, your digestion!

Ginger tea was made . . . pour boiling water over a couple of thin slices of ginger infuse for 10 minutes. Drink plain or add lemon and/or honey. This is the most common way to prepare ginger for treating colds & flu -- as a diaphoretic, it helps break a fever by increasing perspiration, thus lowering the body temperature; plus, sweating removes toxins from the body through the skin -- you've heard of sweating it out. After you've made it once, you'll know if you want to add more ginger for a more potent brew. I make mine quite a bit stronger than this, but then again, I really like ginger!

Last but not least, ginger vinegar is on my to-do list . . . add about 1/3 to 1/2 jarful of peeled, chopped ginger to a small jar, then fill to the top with apple cider vinegar. Make sure to use a plastic lid, or with a metal lid, first place a layer of saran over the top of the jar to prevent corrosion, and infuse 4-6 weeks in a cool, dark cupboard. Strain. Use in recipes, but it is also well-used medicinally in this form.

In addition to what I've already mentioned, ginger, Zingiber officinale, helps relieve motion sickness, stimulates circulation by dilating the capillaries and blood vessels, and soothes a sore throat as a gargle. It is a good herb to include in herbal formulas as it intensifies and prolongs the effects of other herbs. I have even known people to take little doses of ginger vinegar when hiking in the mountains to prevent altitude sickness.

I'm always looking for new ways to use medicinal herbal foods -- do you have any special uses for ginger?

I wrote this last night before the earthquake occurred in Japan. As I read over ginger's effects, they remind me of what Earth is undergoing right now on a magnified scale -- dispersion and movement in the form of earthquakes, the increased strength of stimulated waters pouring across part of the planet at this moment in time, and the intensity of it all causing such pain and suffering.

My heart goes out to all once again affected by Nature. May all feel safe and loved whichever side of the veil they find themselves.

Also posted over at Food Renegade.

12 comments:

helen said...

Still in shock about Japan it is as wordless as 911 was to me. Just pure shock. I use Ginger for digestion most, I love these ginger chews(and crystalized ginger) from the health food store, and of course use for motion sickness, but my mother who suffered from Rheumatoid arthritis said on mild pain days the ginger helped with the inflamation. You're very handy in the kitchen. :)

woman with wings said...

Helen, I just feel so sad about Japan. I think of the women who were stitching on a piece of cloth for their quilts, just like you & me -- or who had just cast on a row for a sweater, maybe that very day. And now they're all gone.

Thank you for mentioning that ginger seemed to help your mother's pain. I will remember that. Those ginger chews are so good, I can't allow myself to buy them very often, I just eat them one after the other.

handstories said...

ginger honey!....thank you!
and for your thoughtful words regarding Japan.

woman with wings said...

Handstories, you're so welcome. Ginger honey is one of those good-for-you treat kind of things.
Healing thoughts for Japan. . .

Marie said...

Because I do not watch TV (only HGTV) on occassion,
or listen to the radio..I had no idea about what happened in Japan until I visited you. Interestingly, not one person mentioned it at work????? CRAZY. I am so saddened for these people. Our Earth is changing and it is a time of great change.
My <3 goes out to them too.
Thank you.

What do you use the ginger liqueur for?

Notjustnat said...

The ginger brandy sounds delicious. I love ginger and will try your recipe. Thanks for sharing your thought of our Earth. My thought is with those sufferers in Japan. I love that country and due to travel there in 2 months. Thing is up in the air now with the tour - take each day at the time - Love to you Nat

woman with wings said...

Marie, you're right. Gaia is changing and we are changing. We are mutually inclusive, she and us. I think of the song/chant "the Earth is our Mother, we must take care of her" and the next verse is "the Earth is our Mother, she will take care of us" . . .

We use the ginger liqueur mainly as an after-dinner treat, sometimes before.

woman with wings said...

Nat, I've been wondering about you and your trip. And I take it you've been there before so have a very real connection. I hope that Japan can begin recovering quickly and you will make it there according to plan. Would you have gone to the areas hardest hit? I tell myself that all the people and animals that were swept away had an instantaneous experience very much like being born -- out of the water of our mothers' wombs we are born, into the waters of Gaia's womb they passed.
xoxo

helen said...

And now the threat from the nuclear plant. and even if it doesn't have a melt down it's irrepairable and the Japanese people will have to scramble for another way to get electricity. such a tragic snow ball effect.

As for ginger, again. I just remembered a ginger homemade icecream I had at a friends years ago. Best darn icecream I ever had!

woman with wings said...

Helen, I watched CNN for a while last night but it seemed like nobody really knows what's happening. I guess when the very Earth beneath you is wavering, then everything wavers . . .

I would love to try homemade ginger ice cream. It would be medicinal, right?

Deb G said...

I've made ginger syrup and used it for my version of ginger ale (mineral water and the syrup). I'll be trying some of your ideas...

woman with wings said...

Deb, I've never made ginger syrup but have tasted it and it is heaven -- like the liqueur without the brandy. I wonder, have you posted the recipe? I'll have to come take a look-see at your recipes!