Saturday, January 29, 2011

Ginger Around The World

You've made ginger cookies, you've had ginger ale. The posts this week have discussed making ginger tea (infusion) and briefly mentioned its use as a muscle soother and nausea remedy. So how about something completely delicious? Ginger syrup.

Syrups are easy--and very enjoyable to both make and use. Simply chop the ginger root very fine and measure 2-4 tablespoons. Place this in the bottom of a sauce pan and add 2 cups water. Bring to a boil and immediately reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until you're left with only 1 cup of water. In other reduce, reduce by evaporation the liquid by half. Now strain the ginger out, return the "tea" to the pan and add 1/2 cup sugar or honey. This creates a thick, very fragrant, not-terribly-sweet syrup. REmove from the heat and stir until the tea and honey are completely blended. Pour into a mason jar and store in the refrigerator. (This is important: it won't keep at room temperature.)

Enjoy this syrup in teas, added to oatmeal, drizzled onto waffles after maple syrup for a zingy taste...or even added along with chopped candied ginger. This will really get your blood moving!

The Buttercup Book List (TM) for this week looks at The Garden of Life: An Introduction To The Healing Plants Of India by Naveen Patnaik (Doubleday, 1993). This is a lovely book with a general and intriguing introduction to Ayurveda, the Indian "Way of Life" as well as a compilation of sacred plants, medicinal plants, culinary plants, cosmetic plants and aromatic plants used in Ayurveda and throughout India. Colorful illustrations on nearly every other page add to the comfortable feeling that this is a culturally rich and evocative read, and since it's full of myths, folklore and anecdotal information about a wide variety of exotic and compelling plants, it's a must for any herbal bookshelf. Pick it up if you see it at a used book store.

Enjoy the syrup!

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