What is the secret to making the STRONGEST ginger root tea?
August 9, 2011 12:11 PM   Subscribe

What is the secret to making the STRONGEST ginger root tea?

I find myself seriously craving ginger tea. I know sometimes the body craves what it needs. I have thick blood, ginger is a blood thinner, perhaps there is a connection.
I would like to know how to extract the MOST ginger essence from the least root resulting in the strongest tea. I like it to actually be so strong that most people wouldn't think of drinking it. Ginger is Pretty pricy at my local shop so I would like my technique to be efficient and scientifically sound.
Is it better to slice or grate the ginger?
Should I boil or simmer the root?
It seems to get weaker if I boil it to long and on too high a flame, that's not my imagination is it.
What is the optimal time and temperature?
At what point is it done?
Is there a better way altogether?

Thank You.
posted by Studiogeek to Food & Drink (16 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
I slice it very (as in extremely) thin with a very (as in lethally) sharp Japanese veggie knife across the grain. Boiling water on top, steep it for five minutes at least. I actually keep the slices in my mug, so, open end steeping time. Don't boil into submission, no. Grating counterproductive because so much stuff ends up in the grater.
posted by Namlit at 12:23 PM on August 9, 2011

I grate a decent amount, put hot (boiled) water over it - i don't boil the root. Then cover and keep it for 10 minutes. Any minute longer makes it x times stronger.
posted by Think [Instrumental] at 12:34 PM on August 9, 2011

Have you considered buying your ginger at an Asian market? It's surprisingly cheap if you buy it at the right place. Then you could use as much as you want. :)
posted by asphericalcow at 12:39 PM on August 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Have you considered ginger extract? It might cost a little more per serving, but you would probably be able to pack a serious punch with it.
posted by Gilbert at 12:42 PM on August 9, 2011

Response by poster: Thank you for the help so far!!
I love the "mug" method but I'm afraid that won't work for my level of addiction. I make it in a 25 quart stock pot, have it hot that day, than refrigerate the rest and enjoy it cold.
I would like the most efficient way to make it POWERFUL in a huge pot.
Would simmer beat steep or boil in this case?

(good call on the Asian market run, I can get my fish fix too ;-)
posted by Studiogeek at 12:49 PM on August 9, 2011

Response by poster: You are awesome enablers, ordering Extract Now!
posted by Studiogeek at 12:50 PM on August 9, 2011

I slice it thinly, then simmer a root's worth in a gallon of water for about 45 minutes, because that's how an old coworker from Mali at a restaurant I worked at told me to do it (she added sugar while it simmered and mint for the last ten minutes). It comes out extremely concentrated.
posted by General Malaise at 1:16 PM on August 9, 2011 [2 favorites]

Have a Cuisinart? It's der uber easy to make ginger juice - buy some fresh rhizomes (they are generally about 200% cheaper at Asian markets), cut them into pieces no bigger than 0.5" thick, whiz those bad boys up in there, scoop out the pulverized stuff (which will look/feel a bit like sopping-wet sawdust) and squeeze it over a bowl (if you're feeling FANCY, you can squeeze it through cheesecloth). You can then pour the juice in a plastic bag, lay it FLAT in the freezer and freeze it solid.

You will then have a lovely plank of solid gingery goodness, from which you can crack off chunks of varying sizes for tea, recipes, etc. It definitely beats not having fresh ginger around, or watching your rhizomes get all moldly in the fridge, or various other ginger-related mishaps.
posted by julthumbscrew at 1:17 PM on August 9, 2011 [4 favorites]

Oh, one last tip from a heavy ginger user - don't bother putting the stuff through a grater OR a Microplane. It is hellish to get the fibers out of there.
posted by julthumbscrew at 1:20 PM on August 9, 2011

If you freeze the ginger root first, it peels easier and won't get stuck all over your grater.
posted by phunniemee at 1:22 PM on August 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

The strongest ginger tea I've made was when I finely grated the ginger root with a kitchen rasp and then poured hot water over it, and let it steep until it was cool again. I think maximizing the surface area of ginger to hit the water results in a much stronger tea.

It was reallly hard to strain the ginger dust out of the tea after, though.
posted by Andrhia at 1:51 PM on August 9, 2011

So, if you boil ginger for an hour or two, the punchy spiciness will get stronger, but some of the more delicate, fresh flavors are lost. So it depends on your preference.

A good balance between the two would involve bringing your stockpot to a simmer, and dumping in a lot of freshly sliced ginger, and immediately turn the burner off. Wait 30 minutes, and enjoy. I agree with Andrhia about maximizing the surface area to volume ratio, and recommend a shredder disc on a cuisinart to get the desired effect.

Now, as far as getting cheap ginger in abundance: Your profile says you live in Brooklyn. Your options for Asian markets are enormous. You can go to Mott St (pretty much anywhere between Bayard and Broome), by the Q/N/R/J/Z/6 station, or on Grand St between Bowery and Christie right outside the B/D stop. Ginger root is usually a bit under $1.75 per pound.

If South Brooklyn is more convenient, I'd suggest the 8th Av stop on the N train, and it'll be slightly cheaper than in Manhattan.
If somehow queens is more easy to get to, Patel brothers off the Jackson Heights 7/F/R stop has good prices, as does the Trade Fair on 75th st and and 37th ave nearby.
posted by Jon_Evil at 2:13 PM on August 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

We covered this one before in an AskMe, I believe. Here is what I distilled out of that to make my ginger tea.

Buy raw ginger, brush it clean, then freeze it, at least 24 hours. Ideally, just keep your ginger in there all the time.

When you're ready for tea take out the ginger and grate it on a Microplane grater. The ginger will shred easily like a hard cheese. You don't need to peel it. Grate up as much as you want. You'll probably want more than you think as the frozen ginger shreds are very fluffy. I shoot for about 3-4 Tbsp for my 2 cup teapot.

Put the shredded ginger in your teapot, in the strainer or not, up to you. Add your boiling hot water and let it seep. Again, it's up to you how long. I usually do 5 minutes but it will keep getting stronger for quite a long time.

Serve and enjoy.

The beauty of this is the frozen ginger which shreds easily and is essentially mess-free. Slicing will not tear up the plant cells so a lot of flavor will be trapped inside the cells.

You should wear gloves when grating. The ginger is ice cold and hard to hold. I now have several scars on my hands from shredding ginger without gloves. Blood does not make for delicious tea.
posted by chairface at 2:42 PM on August 9, 2011 [2 favorites]

I make a simple syrup with juiced ginger. I do it by the cup, and I still like to use it soonish because older ginger curdles milk (if you make a delicious spicy ginger latte)

BTW, I use the dried out ginger husks that remain after juicing, dry them at 200 degrees for a while in my oven, then add them to my dried chai tea.

Double the deliciousness.

I'm crazy about super spicy ginger though, so the juicing thing may not be for everyone - it is very strong!
posted by arnicae at 4:19 PM on August 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: THANK YOU ALL !!!
posted by Studiogeek at 7:40 AM on August 10, 2011

I think I make a pretty strong ginger tea...I grate approximately a 1" chunk of it into a pot and boil/simmer for approximately 30 minutes and strain it into a mug. When grating it, I scrape the juicy part and the stringy part into the pot. You don't want the water to evaporate too quickly so once it starts boiling, turn the heat down. Anyway, the tea is pretty damn strong and I can definitely feel my face heating up as I drink it. I have allergies and sinus issues and this tea clears me right out. Sometimes I put the juice of half a lime in while it's boiling.

Patricia Wexler, a dermatologist in nyc, drinks ginger tea every morning and steeps it for like 45 minutes. She mentions it in a NYtimes "sunday routine" piece.
posted by fromageball at 3:42 PM on September 8, 2011

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