Ahhhh- CHOO! I awoke this morning well into a full-on allergy attack complete with…well you don’t want to know. It isn’t pretty. I have exactly 1hour to pull myself together before I need to be composed and clear headed for my book signing today at Emerald City Gardens.This is what I get for spending a rainy Saturday cleaning the basement rather than sensibly napping like a little woodland creature. Let’s hope those OTC allergy pharmaceuticals kick in pretty soon!
Lucky for me, my stuffy head and dripping nose are not viral. But for the many folks sniffling and suffering through a nasty cold or a touch of the swine, I offer the following oh-so-pleasant comfort measure. Spicy Ginger Syrup (recipe below) is a delicious and soothing base for a warming hot toddy that will melt away your aches and pains – or at least distract you from their annoyance.
Ginger is a well known folk remedy for nausea and heats up the body with an internal heat that promotes perspiration and brings down fevers. Medieval pubs sprinkled ginger into their beer to help patrons ward off the Plague, the earliest ginger beer. Flu may not be the plague (yet) but it sure feels like it to the poor human in its grip.
Even if you’re not under the weather – and I truly hope that isn’t the case – ginger is a delicious digestive aid and the perfect ending to an indulgent holiday feast. Think gingerbread, molasses gingersnap cookies, or simply slices of candied ginger to end a heavy meal on a soothing note. Bear in mind that ginger’s fiery heat is also an aknowledged aphrodisiac; a entirely different approach to thawing seasonal chills.
Whether I’m brewing a comforting toddy, kicky cocktail, or nursing an illness, a bottle of Ginger Syrup is a staple in my kitchen and is an easy-to-make, economical gift as well. As we launch the feasting season – or endure a stuffy head – let’s raise a glass of ginger and make a toast to comfort and warmth, health and well-being.
The gentle heat of fresh ginger is enlivened with citrus for a refreshing homemade ginger ale. Mix the syrup with boiling water for a warming winter toddy.
Season: Any time Yield: 2 cups Store: Refrigerator (1 month) 1 ½ cups sliced fresh ginger, peeled 1 ½ cups water 1 ½ cups sugar ½ cup fresh lemon or lime juice
Combine the ginger, water, and sugar in a heavy saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar completely. Simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat, strain, and cool to room temperature. Stir in lemon or lime juice. Bottle and store in the refrigerator. The remaining now-candied ginger slices may be chopped up and added to baked goods or other dishes that would benefit from their sweet, hot flavor; store in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.
To serve, in a tall glass filled with ice, combine 2 tablespoons syrup with sparkling water to taste. Stir gently and garnish with a wedge of lemon or lime.
Variation: For an extra spicy hit, add 2 cardamom pods, crushed, 4 whole cloves, and ½ teaspoon black peppercorns to the simmering ginger syrup.
Recipe is from Canning & Preserving Your Own Harvest, by Carla Emery & Lorene Edwards Forkner, 2009 Sasquatch Books.