Saturday, 10 December 2016

Lemon Ginger Herbal Tea, from scratch

Lemon Ginger Herbal Tea, from scratch

Once again, our temperatures have dropped to the minus 30 range, in Celsius.  Not fun.  Keeping warm is a necessity, and ginger mildly warms while lemon tastes like sunshine.  Preparing tea from scratch is easy enough with the right equipment, and making a cup of it takes seconds, though steeping takes maybe a minute or two. 
Wash and rinse lemons well.

The process of creating the tea takes about fifteen minutes of preparation, and another seven to ten hours of drying, with a dehydrator.  I used about 8 lemons to make 2 batches, which will let me give some away as presents, and keep me in lemon tea till spring has sprung.

2 inches ginger
8 lemons 

The trick here is having the right equipment.  A mandolin to slice the ginger and lemons saves so much work.  In a few minutes, it’s done.  If I had to do this with a knife, my pieces would be uneven, and I’d take forever to get the job finished. 

As a word to the wise though, a mandolin is a tricky object.  

You must read the directions for your device!  Failure to do so can cause muscle pain at best, and a serious slicing injury at worst.  I didn’t bother to read my directions carefully when I first got mine.  Yes, I did read that I had to use the guard, or risk a horrible ambulance trip, but I didn’t bother to read about what direction my guard’s arrows had to point.  
My mandolin makes quick work for many recipes.

I had a terrible time with it, and took it back to the store complaining it was too large and awkward for my hands.  I got a ‘too bad, so sad’ reaction, and left feeling pretty stupid.

Since I couldn’t return it, I tried using it one more time, taking care to read and follow the the directions, and now I love my mandolin!  

Set the mandolin on the finest slices for the ginger.  Then reset the mandolin to about an eighth of an inch slice for the lemons.  Cut off one end of the lemon, and skewer the other end into the guard.  Try to avoid using any end slices that contain pith, because that’s bitter.  
Remove seeds from the slices as you go.

The next piece of equipment you’ll want to use is a food dehydrator.  Some clever types use their oven for this, but I’m not one of them.  
Dehydrators cost under $40 at the big stores.

Layer the lemon slices with a sliver of ginger on each one, till the dehydrator is full.  Turn it on, and every few hours, shuffle the shelves.  

You will see many lemon slices turning golden and even brown, but that’s a good thing.  It means the natural sugars are caramelizing, and it will slightly sweeten the end result.

Once even the top slices feel completely dry, unplug the machine and let sit till cool. Make sure everything is absolutely dry and not sticky before packing slices away into storage containers.

To make the tea, take one or two slices of lemon with ginger, and plop into a cup.  Fill with boiling water.  Within a couple of minutes the lemon will sink to the bottom, and that means your tea is steeped.  You can always sweeten this with honey, or any flavoured sugar, for a very comforting cuppa.  Adding a little gin or vodka won’t hurt, either.  Enjoy!

Having the right equipment makes for easy prep!  This object is well worth the purchase!

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