the family medicine chest will be an ongoing series on the fourth thursday of each month.
This month, I am going to focus on syrup making. Syrups are very versatile. You can use them in the traditional sense for taking straight as a cough syrup, or you can be imaginative with them and use them on pancakes or even make soda with them.
To make herbal syrups, you’ll need the herb of choice, water, honey and brandy (optional, used to preserve it).
Start by making an infusion. Typically, I match herbs and water cup for cup. In this lesson, I will use Ginger as my herb.
First, I would chop up 2 cups of ginger. There is no need to peel. Add 2 cups of water to a sauce pan and bring it to boiling on the stove top. Simmer for 10 minutes. Cover and let steep for 1 hour. Strain off the root.
Return the infusion to the saucepan and add 1 1/2 cups honey (or if using raw sugar, 2 cups) to the pan. Heat to thin honey and stir until thoroughly mixed. Allow to cool. (If using sugar, you’ll need to cook it down a bit to thicken the mixture). You can add 1/4 cup of brandy to the mixture to help preserve it longer but I rarely do, unless it is a syrup reserved for coughs only and I want it to last more than 1-2 months. Pour into a bottle and label. Store in the fridge. Use up within 1-2 months.
This syrup can be taken straight for upset stomachs and sore throats (1-2 teaspoons at a time). It can be added to teas for flavoring, poured over ice cream or pancakes or made into soda. To make soda, add 2 oz. syrup per every 8 oz. of seltzer water (adjust the amounts to match your taste). Yum!
(sorry, no photos today, i will try to find them later and add them but I can’t remember which computer they are on and i have a squirmy toddler in my lap who’s not letting me get much done right now).