Ginger lends its spicy kick to a sweet and sippable iced green tea, and a culinary mystery is solved: how much grated ginger is too much? Cookbook Co-Chair Lisl Unterholzner finds the right tool for the job.
Around this time last year, the New Cookbook Development Committee was busy testing recipes and making plans for photo shoots. Every recipe was tested by someone on the committee, but there is definitely a difference between being a cook and being a taster. When we first saw this iced tea in the recipe selection process, I though, hmm, a half a cup of grated ginger sounds like a lot. I was thinking of grating the ginger on my microplane zester. That’s my normal method, but the maximum I’ve done that way is 1 tablespoon.
Well, someone else made it during the testing process, and we all liked it, so I didn’t worry too much about all that grated ginger. But recently I agreed to make this tea as part of the food we took to the local ABC studio, where Jen Carlstedt and Betsy Graham appeared on the Saturday morning news promoting Capture the Coast.
I was about ½ a teaspoon into the grating when I thought, “This is nuts. There is no way I’m getting to 1/2 cup this way.” I don’t know if it was desperation or inspiration, but that’s when I pulled out the cheese grater. Aha! That works.
Here is my grated ginger, honey, water and lemon juice simmering.
The rest of the recipe went quickly and was very straight–forward. The ginger gets simmered together with honey and lemon juice. When you’ve extracted the spicy goodness from the ginger, green tea and sugar round out the flavor.
The taste? Lemony-sweet at first, but the peppery ginger kick really comes out at the end and the sweetness disappears. Very gulpable on a hot day, it would also be a great non-alcoholic cocktail, and perfect for a baby shower.
Iced Ginger Tea
8 cups water
½ cup grated fresh ginger
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
¼ cup honey
4 (single-serving) bags green tea
1 ½ cups sugar
Bring the water, ginger, lemon juice and honey to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. Add the tea bags. Steep for 5 minutes and then discard the tea bags. Stir in the sugar until dissolved. Let stand until cool. Pour through a strainer into a pitcher, discarding the solids. Serve over ice in glasses.
Yield: 8 servings