Herb to Know: Ginger Syrup

| October/November 2010

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.

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