How to Make Ginger Tea from Fresh Ginger Root
Fun Fact: What we commonly refer to as ginger root is actually a rhizome (like an underground stem) of the Ginger Plant.
This flavorful plant is commonly used to enhance the sweet and tangy flavors of Asian dishes, but is also a main ingredient in chai tea. Who doesn't love teriyaki chicken and chai tea lattes?
When it comes to the kitchen, you really need to use high quality ingredients. I thought I was a terrible cook until I was introduced to legitimate spices! Turns out I was just using the cheap stuff that doesn't hold enough flavor to really do the herbs justice. Why didn't anyone tell me sooner? I'd like to take a moment to thank my dear friend Amber for introducing me to Penzey's Spices. I can't recommend them enough if you don't have access to fresh and organic herbs for your own creations.
Sadly, it is common practice for the herb and spice blends commonly found at the supermarket to be created from the lowest quality plants that couldn't be sold otherwise and to have been stored in hot and humid warehouses for long periods of time. This dramatically effects the quality of the finished product.
Ground a little of your freshly dried ginger and give a sniff test next to the jar you picked up at the store. Then dump the contents of the jar in the trash and replace with the freshly ground stuff. Seriously, it's that much better.
How to Store Fresh Ginger Root
Before we start, let’s talk about storing ginger root when you first purchase it. Normally, I stock up on fresh ginger from the farmer's market through the summer and toss is in the freezer, skin and all. It stays fresh and is still easily peeled, sliced, and grated when I'm ready to use it.
For dehydrating purposes, I try to purchase and dehydrate within a few days for max freshness and easiest handling. If you let it sit on your counter for too long, you'll find the skin is a pain to remove and it's much harder to slice through. Your ginger should have smooth skin with a firm texture, and feel heavy for its size.
How to Dehydrate Ginger for Tea
What you need:
- 1+ large knobs of ginger
- A dehydrator (I love this one!)
- A pairing knife
- A cutting board
- A vegetable peeler
- A mandolin - I JUST bought this one and am in love! This multipurpose mandolin is my favorite! The container on the bottom catches everything and the handle on the top protects your fingers when slicing. It also has five different types of blades so it replaced several things in my kitchen!
- Wash, cut off damaged pieces, and peel ginger
- Slice ginger into even pieces with your mandolin, approximately 1/8" thick
- Lay ginger out on your dehydrator tray.
Pro tip: use a Clean A Screen Tray to dehydrate smaller pieces so they don’t fall through as they shrink. I put the screened tray on the bottom so it catches any pieces that may fall through from the trays above.
- Dehydrate at 100°F for approximately 4-5 hours or until ginger is completely dried and snaps when bent.
- Store dried pieces in an airtight container for easy use in tea or pulse in a food processor to make ground ginger.
Ginger Tea Recipe
- 2-3 Slices dried ginger
- Fresh lemon
- Mint leaves
- Honey to sweeten
- Place ginger, lemon, and fresh mint leaves in a tea mug or infuser and cover. I love this one- it fits over all my wide mugs without falling in and comes with a little cap to keep the good stuff from evaporating.
- Bring water to a boil and pour over ginger, peppermint, and lemon.
- Let it steep 20 minutes to get all the goodness from the ginger.
- Remove herbs and add raw honey to sweeten.
Ready to dry your mint leaves for tea next? Check out our DIY guide!
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