Ginger Drinks, Green Books 'n' Bags
and Kitchen Seed Plants
by Kate Heyhoe
Cool Drinks and Gingery Thirst Slayers
As the heat peaks and summer stretches to a close, I start exploring different ways to quench our thirsts. Iced tea takes on a markedly different complexion when sweetened with Lavender Syrup (herbal red zinger or hibiscus teas are especially good this way). Ginger ale adds a spicy punch to lemonade, and in the following recipes, ginger's clean and invigorating taste will slay your thirst, boost tired bodies and add a happy helping of healthy antioxidants.
Fresh Honey Ginger Soda
For each soda, combine 1 part Honey Ginger Syrup (below) to 2 parts sparkling water. Serve over ice; garnish with fresh lime wedge.
Fresh Honey Ginger Syrup
(For Fresh Honey Ginger Soda)
Makes about 4 cups
If a lighter, less spicy ginger flavor is desired skip blending and simply strain. Omitting citrus will result in a smooth but spicy honey-ginger syrup. To use, blend honey ginger syrup with sparkling water, cider, grape juice or unsweetened cranberry juice; or use as a sweetener for lemonade, limeade, ice tea or party punches. Make delicious versions of classic cocktails such as a Mint Julep or a Champagne Cocktail by simply replacing simple syrup or sugar with honey ginger syrup.
- 1/2 cup fresh ginger root, peeled and sliced
- 3 cups water
- 1-1/2 cups honey
- 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice
Combine ginger, water and honey in a large saucepan and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes (liquid will reduce by about one quarter). Remove from heat and let cool. Pour (in batches if necessary) into blender or food processor and blend or pulse on medium to extract ginger. Strain out solids with a fine mesh or cloth strainer. Syrup may be stored in the refrigerator at this point for up to one week. Just before using, add citrus juices. Taste and adjust as strength of produce varies. (Courtesy National Honey Board)
Pink Ginger Blossom
by Kate Heyhoe
Like a karate chop, this drink comes with a powerful Japanese kick: pickled ginger. It's meant for sipping, not slurping, and stands in for a cocktail when alcohol isn't desired. Bright pink pickled ginger shreds produce a vivid color, and paler pickled ginger slices yield a more subdued tone. Both are sold in refrigerated Asian food counters. Makes 1 (6-ounce) martini-size drink.
- 1/4 cup Rose's Lime Juice
- 2 tablespoons pickled ginger
- 1/2 cup ice water
- Ice cubes
- Optional garnish: fresh mint sprig
Blend together Rose's Lime Juice, ginger, and ice water. Shake with ice and strain into a martini glass, or pour over ice and serve, garnished with mint.
Pimm's Cup with a Ginger Splash
You'll find a recipe here for Pimm's Cup, a cocktail made with gin, but omit the booze and you've got a splashy, refreshing, alcohol-free summer punch. It combines lemonade with cucumber slices and fresh fruit, finished with a layer of ginger ale. Instead of bottled ginger ale, top it with the Honey-Ginger Soda above.
More Cooking Green Copies,
and a Big Green Companion
"...when it comes to the green kitchen Kate Heyhoe is really the Green Goddess. �A dynamic combination of Michael Pollan, Alton Brown, and Wonder Woman all rolled into one. �After finishing this book you will definitely be convinced that you can help save the planet while preparing dinner every night." —Heather Jones, ProjectFoodie.Com
Yippee! My book Cooking Green has gone back for a second printing—which in this era of ailing publishing is a major event. Reviewers have praised the book for its solid, well-researched content presented in a very absorbable, thought-provoking fashion (not fluffy or green-lite, but not dry or taxing either). It also won the 2009 Green Book Award for cookbooks. You can discover more about Cooking Green: Reducing Your Carbon Footprint in the Kitchen, and how to shrink your own cookprint, plus a review of Jackie Newgent's Big Green Cookbook at NewGreenBasics.com.
Grow It! Windowsill Plants
from Kitchen Fixin's
Don't toss out that pineapple top. Or that avocado pit. Buy an extra sweet potato and a chunk of ginger. Open your spice cabinet and you'll discover herb seeds that will actually sprout. And to find out how, you'll want to get Don't Throw It, Grow It: 68 Windowsill Plants from Kitchen Scraps.
Thar's gold in them thar hills, cried the prospectors—and for cooks, thar's a golden garden in kitchen scraps. This nifty little book makes it easy to grow plants from practically nothing. As houseplants, some may not reach the fruiting stage, but they can be just as pretty as pricey ornamentals; you can always transplant to larger pots or outdoor settings to encourage fruiting. And though many of us recall childhood projects of growing potato vines in jars, this book makes the practice of home grown food plants as fitting and fun for adults as it is for kids. It goes way beyond potatoes to include kiwi, daikon, pomegranate, chickpea, lemongrass, caraway, jujube, guava, tamarind, dill and dozens of other everyday culinary sources.
I'm especially partial to the delicate bamboo-like leaves of ginger plants, grown from a grocery store's average knob of ginger. Here's the book's method:
- Plant Type perennial rhizome
- Growth Rate quick-growing
- Method in soil
- Light indirect sunlight
What It Looks Like
Ginger is an underground stem, called a rhizome, that has buds that grow into stems and narrow leaves. The pure white flowers are delightfully fragrant. They are borne in a leafy conelike structure at the end of a cane that holds as many as 15 blooms.
How To Grow It
Select a shallow, wide pot large enough to accommodate the rhizome. Fill three quarters of the pot with moist potting soil and lay the rhizome on top of the soil. Keep the soil moist and put the pot in a place that is brightly lit but not sunny. Use bottom heat to hasten germination.
The ginger plant grows tall quickly and resembles a stand of bamboo. In six weeks it can be as tall as 3 feet. As the old stalks die, new ones sprout. A healthy ginger plant should continue to sprout for several months. If you have a garden, put the plant outside for the summer. This can encourage blooms. Individual flowers last only a day or two but are followed by more.
Time To Taste
Gingerroot has a sweetish, tangy flavor and is used often in Asian cooking. To use ginger, carefully slice off about an inch from the end of the rhizome and peel off the skin.
You can buy Don't Throw It, Grow It: 68 Windowsill Plants from Kitchen Scraps by Deborah Peterson & Millicent Selsam at our Global Gourmet store on Amazon.
Reusable Net Produce Bags Make SenseEver find you've accumulated way too many flimsy plastic produce bags? Stop the insanity! As I point out in Cooking Green, recycling is good, and bringing your own bags for produce as well as groceries is even better. Now, 3B Bags offers hip and practical bags for both vegetables and groceries. They make reusable, washable produce bags from fine, see-through netting. Cool! They feature a drawstring, weigh next to nothing, and come three to a pack ($7.50). Bring them to the store in the 3B Paisley Tote ($6.00), which is made of polypropylene so it can be wiped clean, and features a clear pocket on the interior side (drop in garlic heads or a grocery list). According to the manufacturer, using three of their reusable produce bags once a week can save as�many as 150 plastic bags per year. Check them out at 3BBags.com.
What to Eat This Month
Chicken of the Month:
Copyright © 2009, Kate Heyhoe. All rights reserved.
This page modified August 2009