I have a little bit of an obsession with ginger. I keep dried ginger in the kitchen, in my office, my purse, my backpack and my car. I eat ginger when I have an upset stomach, a headache or if I’m feeling especially bloated. I put ground ginger in my food, sip ginger tea before bed and binge on ginger ale if I’m feeling under the weather.
Suffice it to say, ginger is my go-to spice for health and wellness. And for good reason. There are many healing properties of ginger: it is a natural anti-inflammatory, can help with nausea or motion sickness, can increase your appetite, increases insulin sensitivity, is a natural pain reliever, etcetera, etcetera. Bottom line, it’s highly beneficial to add ginger to your diet.
With that being said, I have discovered a delicious new way to enjoy ginger. A few weeks ago my niece and I drove down to Lake Pepin, WI for the annual Laura Ingalls Wilder festival. While we were there, we enjoyed a beverage called Ginger Switchel (a tonic made with ginger, apple cider vinegar and a sweetener), a recipe copied from Laura’s own journal. It was amazing. It was deliciously gingery, refreshing and very soothing.
When I got home I was quick to make a batch of my own switchel from Laura’s original recipe. Unfortunately, it fell a little flat. All I could taste was the apple cider vinegar. I tried different variations of sweeteners: molasses (as many original recipes call for), white sugar, brown sugar, none of then worked. I eventually landed on honey. Honey slightly brought out the flavor of the ginger while simultaneously minimizing the flavor of the vinegar (as an added benefit, using local, raw honey can help fight seasonal allergies).
Another issue I had was, no matter what I did, I could not get an overt ginger taste. A “wow, I just got smacked in the face with a ginger root” taste. I tried infusing fresh ginger in hot water, letting it infuse for 2-3 days, cut back on the apple cider vinegar, smashed the ginger, added more ginger, but nothing worked. I recently came across a recipe for ginger water and thought I could implement the same technique into my switchel. What I discovered has changed my life. So, here it is, my recipe for homemade Ginger Switchel:
Homemade Ginger Switchel – makes roughly four 8oz. servings
- 1 liter of water
- 1 cup ginger, roughly chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger, ground
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, I prefer Bragg
- 1/4 cup raw honey
- Mineral water
- Cheese cloth or sieve
- Glass bottle with seal
- Place roughly chopped ginger and water in blender, blend for about a minute
- Let ginger diffuse into water for half an hour
- Strain ginger water through cheese cloth over wide mouth jar or other vessel, squeeze out excess water
- Add honey, ground ginger and apple cider vinegar to ginger water
- Transfer into bottle and place in refrigerator to diffuse for at least 2 hours, shake before serving
Pour 8 oz of switchel over ice, top with mineral water and enjoy
Each bottle of switchel will keep in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks if properly sealed. I recommend, at minimum, one glass a day before a meal or any time you experience stomach upset or pain. Aside from the benefits of ginger, you are also enjoy the many benefits of apple cider vinegar. These benefits include, but are no means limited to: stabilizes blood sugar, can help lower cholesterol, aids with digestion, effective detoxifier and increases energy. Either way, you can’t really go wrong with adding Ginger Switchel to your daily health routine.