Thursday, February 2, 2012

Ginger Tea

Two Cups of Tea with Shepshed Honey Bottle
With Honey from Bruce's Cousin's Apiary

Recipe by Robin

Happy Groundhog’s Day! It’s the middle of winter, yet a time to look for renewed growth and signs of spring. In Pagan tradition, today is Imbolc, the first of the year’s fire festivals, which celebrate the growing of the sun’s light. In Catholic tradition, this is Candlemas, celebrated with lighted candle processions and blessing of candles, commemorating Jesus’ first public appearance at temple. My own ritual is lighting a candle or two to celebrate the returning of sun and renewal of growth.

Whole Ginger Root
A Most Interesting Root
Here in the Santa Cruz mountains, signs of spring are popping up everywhere. Violets carpet my yard, so many that I’m considering harvesting some for baking. Flowering quince is just opening up. An impudent dandelion grins at me from a flowerbed where a few golden calendulas are budding.

I remember my mother walking through the snow to gather pussywillows and forsythia branches at this time of year. She set them indoors to force an early bloom and brighten the house. Perhaps you’ll want to do this too, since we’ll be spending much of our time indoors during the next month or two.

Sliced Ginger Root
Warming Power
Ginger tea is a bracing mid-winter tonic, especially if you’re a bit under the weather, as I am at the moment. According to Chinese traditional medicine, it’s warming for all cold conditions, aids digestion, and treats nausea. It’s particularly good for the lung system, which controls the nasal passages and immune system as well as the lungs. It treats and prevents colds, flu, coughs, and sinusitis, according to Chinese doctors and my most knowledgeable friends.

Saucepan with Ginger Slices and Water
Floaters & Sinkers: Before the Boil
This recipe is quite strong, especially if your ginger is fresh, but can easily be diluted with hot water, lemon tea (without the optional mint), or other liquid. Or serve it with a squeeze of lemon and honey. I like adding a black tea bag (like Bigelow's English Breakfast in photo) and some soy milk and honey. You can experiment with various herbal teabags, perhaps citrus or red zinger-ish flavors, or other medicinal herbs. Post a comment if you come up with an interesting combo.

You can reuse the ginger for another boiling or two. You’ll need to simmer it a little longer to get the same strength tea. I’ve also chopped up the ginger after a couple of boilings, to “stretch” the ginger into one more boiling.

Late winter is still a time for planning your year and visualizing this year’s accomplishments, so dream your dream and drink your tea.

Two Cups of Tea with Lemon and Honey
With or Without Black Tea
Ginger Tea
makes about 3 ½ (8 oz) cups

~3 inches ginger root
4 cups water
honey to taste
lemon (optional)
teabags (optional)

Wash ginger root and slice thinly, about 1/8 inch thick. No need to peel the ginger. Put into saucepan with water. Bring to boil and simmer 10 – 15 minutes.

Pour through tea strainer into teacups or heated (microwave 1 minute) teapot. 

Serve with honey, and any of these options:
  • lemon wedges
  • herbal teabags to steep
  • black teabags, with optional soy milk
  • hot water or lemon tea to dilute
  • anything else you think you’d enjoy


  1. I can use some of this today. I've been struggling with a cold for the better part of the month. Ginger on my grocery list!

  2. Ginger tea has been my best friend when it comes to sore throat and flu. Honey and lemon can even make this tea tastier and healthier. It has a soothing effect that really gives a relief to a sore throat. I consider this ginger tea as one of the best sore throat home remedies.

  3. I love it cold after a workout or after working in the garden on a hot summer day. After cooling, I just put a huge batch in a container and pop it into the refrigerator!!

    1. Thanks so much for your comment. It never occurred to me to try it chilled...I'll check it out!

    2. I usually make a gallon at a time and freeze it in ice cube trays. I mix it with other teas when ever I want. It only last me about 1 week

  4. I too like making it in a big batch. My question is does it have to be refrigerated or can it sit on the counter for a few days still safe for consumption?

    1. Also seeking an answer for this question.

    2. Is there any answer to this question. Is it safe to consume after sitting on the counter not refrigerated?

    3. Forgive the delay. My sources agree that tea should not be left out more than 8 hours. With that said, I have left ginger tea (with bits of ginger in it) out overnight, but always reheat to boiling before drinking--and my house is quite cold at night. In general, pouring it into a mason jar and refrigerating is best practice. Hope that helps.

  5. I am discovering how great ginger tea is. Thanks for the article.

  6. I bring water to a boil, add ginger, then lower to a simmer with the lid on top for 15 min. 3 oz ginger to 3 cups of water. I reuse twice. Store tisane in mason jars or a pitcher in fridge. I always drink it cold.

  7. I tried it today and it is simply awesome with juice of half lemon

    I heated a cup of water....
    Switched off the burner...
    Added sliced thin ginger..8 to 10 slices...
    Let it rest for 2 to 3 minutes..
    Added juice of half a lemon...
    Had it without sugar or milk...

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  9. I want to make a ginger syrup without adding any sweetener. Is there fructose in ginger? Could I just boil this down?

    1. According to the USDA, per 100 grams of ginger, it contains 1.78 grams fructose and 1.22 grams glucose. That amounts to 3% natural sugars. So I don't think it would boil down to a syrup.

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