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Chase away chill with ginger tea

Wed., March 19, 2014

With temps hovering in the 50s, it’s beginning to seem a little like spring.

The equinox is Thursday. But it’s probably too early for dining al fresco and sipping iced drinks. We’re not trying to cool off; we’re still trying to warm up.

Sometimes, there’s no better way to shake off the early morning or late afternoon chill than a hot cup of homemade tea.

All you need is a pot of boiling water and aromatic ingredients you likely already have on your shelf. And, after a short 20 or 30 minutes on the stovetop, the scent of simmering spices wafts through rooms like potpourri and a pot of healing home-brew awaits.

Fibrous and potent, fresh ginger is known for its anti-inflammatory and immune system-boosting properties. It aids in digestion and can help alleviate high blood pressure, nausea, morning sickness and seasickness.

The plump, knotty-looking rhizome traces its roots to China and Japan, where it remains a spicy staple. It’s a popular ingredient in ayurveda, an ancient system of natural remedies from India.

Ginger’s distinctive, fragrant flavor includes a delicate peppery heat underscored by hints of woodsy sweetness, making it a perfect component for a pot of tea.

Adding peppercorns to this slightly sweet, cinnamony concoction gives it even more of an invigorating zing.

Ginger Spice Tea

From Adriana Janovich

2 (1 1/2- to 2-inch) pieces of fresh ginger

10 cups water

1 cinnamon stick

2 star anise

1 teaspoon peppercorns

1 teaspoon cloves

3 to 4 teaspoons honey or agave nectar

Lemon slices, for garnish (optional)

Peel ginger and cut it into thin slices or small chunks. Bring water to a boil in a large pot. Add ingredients from ginger through cloves, then simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. (Liquid will reduce and color will deepen.) Strain. Add honey. Garnish with lemon slices.

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