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Saturday, January 17, 2015

Ginger Lemon Sore Throat Pops


These spicy-sweet ice cold pops are the perfect thing for sore throats. They're easy to make and besides water, you only need three ingredients: ginger, lemon, and honey.

For spicier pops, add a dried chili pepper or two to the infusion along with the ginger. The medicinal compounds in chili peppers can help relieve pain and inflammation associated with sore throats. Consuming it in ice pop form, slowly as it melts, ensures a longer topical effect.

As an alternative to ice pops, you can freeze and scrape the mixture like you would a granita and serve it as a slushie. Or, if you prefer your remedy hot, drink the ginger lemon infusion instead of freezing it. It's delicious and soothing any way you make it.

4 cups water
1 cup thinly sliced ginger (see step 2 below)
2 organic lemons, zest removed with a peeler and fruit reserved
4 tablespoons (or 1/4 cup) raw, local, unfiltered honey

You'll also need: 
Ice pop mold or disposable cups and wooden sticks
  1. Add the water to a small saucepan and warm it over medium heat.
  2. Rinse the ginger root but leave the peel intact. Cut it in half lengthwise, place the halves cut-side down, and thinly slice them in cross-section to maximize surface area, until you have a full cup. Add the ginger to the saucepan and bring the water to a slow simmer. Cover, reduce the heat to the lowest setting, and simmer for 10 minutes. 
  3. Add the lemon peel to the saucepan and replace the cover. Continue simmering for 10 more minutes, then turn off the heat.
  4. Cut the peeled lemons in half, squeeze the juice into the sauce pan, and drop in the lemon halves. NOTE: If you want to add lemon slices to the ice pop molds, cut them from the center after you halve the lemon, before you squeeze it for juice. Lemon slices are especially helpful for standing up sticks in disposable cups. (See step 7 and photos below.)
  5. Cover the saucepan and let the mixture steep for at least 1 hour.
  6. Strain the mixture and return 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) of the ginger lemon tea to the saucepan. Add the honey and stir until it dissolves. Warm the mixture over the lowest setting only if need be. Heat the honey as little as possible to protect the integrity of its medicinal compounds. Once the honey has dissolved, add this simple syrup back to the rest of the ginger lemon infusion and stir it in. (Adding the honey as a simple syrup will keep it in solution and prevent it from settling at the bottom.)
  7. Pour the ginger-lemon-honey mixture into your ice pop mold or disposable cups. If you are using plastic, be sure that the liquid has cooled completely to room temperature first. To stand up wooden sticks in disposable cups after you fill them with tea, make a slit in the center of a lemon slice, insert the stick, and place it in the cup, making sure that the stick is standing  upright. 
  8. Place the mold/cups in the freezer until frozen. To unmold a disposable cup, cut a slit in the rim, pull down one corner, and peel it off.

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