In my adopted country (the United States), chicken soup is a magical elixir that soothes every flu-ridden child. It is also a very successful franchise.
Well I have such a magical elixir too, and while it has no chicken in it nor is it a soup, The Odd Pantry is nothing if not opportunistic, so I will ride on the popularity of that successful franchise and call my elixir the chicken soup for the pungent soul.
It is pungent, I can guarantee you that. But not from chilies — from ginger.
In my family when we feel that familiar scratchy throat feeling coming on, we make this strong concentrate of ginger, lemon and honey. I have it straight, my husband dilutes it with water. I have often found that it has curative properties. Much as I am tempted to start dispensing this as medical advice, please be warned that I know nothing of medicine nor has the FDA gotten involved (yet!).
A word on the super-trio that goes into this elixir.
Ginger is an underground stem that is thick with stored water. Although it is extremely fibrous, one can squeeze out an exquisite, pungent, healthful juice out of it using a grater. I have a ceramic ginger grater from Japan that works wonderfully for this. It may be a single-use device, and everyone who knows me knows my intense scorn for single-use kitchen devices, but in this case, I make an exception.
There are compounds in ginger that help with inflammations generally. It also has antimicrobial and fever-reducing properties.
As for honey, those bees have quite a technology going there. Honey has plenty of health benefits, some proven, some not; but the one that concerns us is its antibacterial properties.
Lemon juice is a famous purveyor of Vitamin C, which is famous for…you know, colds, sore throats and stuff. Like I said, I am not a doctor. No link needed for this one.
The Odd Pantry’s magical elixir for colds, sore throats and flu
- One inch long piece of ginger
- Juice of one lemon
- One to one-and-half tablespoons of honey
Squeeze out the lemon juice, put in the honey and microwave for 20 seconds or so to get them to combine. Grate the ginger; this will produce some juice. Then you can gather up the fibers and squeeze them to collect more juice. Combine the ginger juice with the honey-lemon.
Drink a shot of this, straight if you can, diluted with water if you can’t. Have it warm. Feel better.
Even more magical elixir:
Mix in a tablespoon of brandy.