Warming ginger tea

Posted on April 20, 2014

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Hope you’re getting some r&r this Easter break. I really love this type of weather, crisp and delightfully chilly. Perfect autumn weather for snuggling up at home with a good book or dvd set. And to keep me toasty warm, I’ve been sipping on some spicy ginger tea.

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I’m pretty sure ginger tea is widely used across different nations for its warming properties, and I’m pretty certain many different nationalities attribute medicinal properties to ginger. From the Chinese perspective, ginger is commonly used as a treatment for mild colds, coughs and minor throat irritations. I am a believer. Call it placebo effect if you will, but I think it does warm me up.

The below ratios of ginger to water to sugar is intended only as a rough guide. Use as much (or little) ginger as you would like. It’s perfectly ok to leave the ginger unpeeled. In fact some purists will tell that you most of the nutrients are very close to the skin and will insist you not peel it off. Old ginger is preferable for brewing tea because it has the most flavour, but if you can only find young ginger, just use more of it. Younger ginger will also have more floral notes than its spicier and older counterpart. The longer you brew the tea, the stronger the ginger will taste. Once you reached the desired level of spiciness, remove the ginger because it will continue to steep flavour into the warm water. I love the burning sensation of a spicy ginger drink, so I let it brew for a quite a bit and leave the ginger there.

My recipe has a slight Chinese bent to it, I use brown sugar in pieces (available in most Asian grocers) but regular brown sugar can be substituted. Honey is another good substitution. Double health points if you want to go with honey ;). I’ve added some dried osmanthus flowers and this is optional; again these can be found in most Asian grocers. Depending on whether you want to eat the little bits of dried flower or not, you can use those DIY tea bags to house the osmanthus flowers.

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RECIPE – Ginger tea (makes ~1.5L)

Ingredients:

  • ~10 cm piece of old ginger, thinly sliced
  • 1.5L of water
  • 1 stick of Chinese style brown sugar in pieces (can be substituted for ~1/3 cup of brown sugar, or equivalent of honey), or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon of osmanthus flowers (optional)

Method:

  1. Place ingredients into a small saucepan on low to medium heat. Bring to a simmer and allow flavours to steep for ~20-30 minutes depending on how spicy you want the tea.
  2. Best enjoyed immediately. Or place in thermos to enjoy warm throughout the day.

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So soothing! And before I sign off, I’m going to let you in on another variation of ginger tea that the Chinese do. Warm ginger coke. As in warm ginger cocoa cola. I kid you not. But don’t knock it until you try it. Take some coke, slice up some ginger, simmer for ~5 minutes and there you go, warm ginger coke. Not the healthiest of ginger tea options, but still worth a try at some stage if you like ginger and coke. I actually quite like the combination, but I know some would find it a bit too weird. Whatever the case, hope you stay warm this autumn and winter.

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