This syrup won first place in the Best Syrup or Elixir category at the 2009 International Herb Symposium. It is warming and stimulating and very good for a sore throat, cold or flu. MAKES 4 1/2 CUPS
• 4 cups water
• 7- to 8-inch piece ginger root, peeled and cut into “coins” (about 2 cups)
• 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
• 2 cups raw, organic sugar
• 1/2 lime or lemon, sliced
• Handful fresh lemon verbena, lemon basil or lemon balm leaves, optional
1. Bring water to a boil in a 2-quart saucepan; add ginger and vanilla bean. Return mixture to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes.Gradually add sugar, stirring until sugar dissolves. Add lime or lemon and herbs; cover and let stand for at least 30 minutes, or until room temperature.
2. Pour mixture through a wire-mesh strainer into a medium bowl, discarding solids. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 10 days or up to a year in the freezer.
Note: To make a thicker syrup for pancakes or waffles, bring 2 cups of Ginger Syrup to a boil over medium heat. Boil 8 minutes or until syrup thickens. Serve immediately.
Susan Belsinger tends her herbs in Maryland and Tina Marie Wilcox heads the Ozark Folk Center in Arkansas. They have been collaborating since 1996.
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Herb to Know: Ginger