It’s a bleary day with intermittent periods of rain and a thick blanket of humidity, but there’s just something about rainy days sometimes that I find so cozy and relaxing. I love the excuse it gives me to curl up with a hot cup of tea and a book, or to attend to whatever nesting urges I’m having that day. Since nice sunny days are in rather short supply up here in New England, I always feel a bit guilty whenever I stay inside on those days, like I have to take advantage of it while it’s available. As if I could stockpile those rays of sunshine for the long winter months to come. With rainy days I’m free to do whatever I want, and today that’s making ginger tea and reading.
I first came across homemade ginger tea when I took a trip out to Colorado to visit some “war buddies” from my Korea years (AKA fellow teachers). Autumn and Shane were fantastic hosts, and since our nights generally involved a lot of drinking soju (distilled rice liquor) and singing our faces off at noraebang (private-room karaoke), there was always a small pot of ginger boiling away on the stove top the next morning, ready to soothe our aching vocal chords.
So. Much. Love. Drinking ginger tea reminds me of this brief but glorious reunion we shared together, when we all flew in from different states simply to spend time together. Love my Korea family.
Ginger tea is pretty simple to make. The two main ingredients are ginger root and water. When you’re shopping for ginger root, pick out a firm, unwrinkled knob that doesn’t have too many ruts or ridges in it. The smoother the surface, the easier it is to peel. You can find fresh ginger in the produce section (at my grocery store it’s near the exotic items—passion fruit, aloe vera leaves, cassava) and it’s often priced by weight.
Homemade Ginger Tea
Makes 2 servings.
- 1 inch fresh ginger root
- 2 cups water
- optional: honey
- Using a knife, cut off about an inch of the ginger root. Use a vegetable peeler or sharp knife to remove the tough outer peel. Discard the peel.
- Slice the ginger into coins or medallions. (Slicing up the ginger increases the surface area so that when you boil it, the water penetrates faster into the ginger.)
- Combine the water and sliced ginger in a small pot. Cover and bring to a boil.
- Lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes or longer. The longer the ginger boils, the more intense the flavor will be—just make sure the water doesn’t evaporate.
- Pour the ginger tea into a mug and add honey, if desired. (I served mine with the tangy California cotton honey I bought at The Honey Exchange.)
- Optional: To get more servings out of the ginger, keep the ginger slices in the pot, add more water, and repeat steps 4-6 as desired. The second batch will be less intense, but still tasty.
You can store unused ginger in a resealable bag in the crisper of your refrigerator, where it should keep for about 8 weeks. (Ginger will start to mold or wrinkle when it’s gone bad, but keeps fairly well in the fridge.) Ginger tea is excellent for upset stomachs, sore throats, colds, coughs, and generally cheering gray days.