I have two really simple things you can make yourself and have on hand in the kitchen. The first is a remedy I use every winter to combat colds, flu, and chronic bronchitis – lemon and ginger infused honey.
Ginger is a well-known traditional remedy for coughs, cold, and flu. It’s anti-inflammatory and may help boost your immune system. Honey soothes a sore throat, has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, and local honey can help with allergies. In general, the darker the honey, the stronger its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. The lemon, of course, provides vitamin C, aids in digestion, and also improves skin quality, just to name a few of its many health benefits.
This infusion is super easy to make and use. Here’s the recipe:
1 medium lemon. 1 piece of ginger root, similar in size to the lemon
Lots of honey 1 quart mason jar with lid, or similar glass container
- Chop lemon and ginger into similar sized pieces (this helps everything diffuse evenly) and place in your jar.
- Cover completely with honey. Pieces will float to the top, but as long as you initially covered everything with the honey, it’s okay.
- Leave the jar on a countertop all day, shaking or rotating occasionally. By rotating, I mean turn the jar upside down for awhile then turn back right side up for awhile. Make sure your lid is tight.
- Store in the refrigerator overnight and by morning, it’s ready to use.
Simply measure 2-3 tablespoons of honey into a cup and add 6-8 ounces of hot water. Stir and enjoy! If you want to amp up the flavor a bit, add a chunk or two of the lemon and/or ginger from the jar. I recommend at least three cups of this tea a day. More if you already have a cold or flu.
My second DIY is homemade vanilla. Again, so super easy that a recipe isn’t really even necessary. If you’re big on holiday cooking, you might want to start this in August or earlier. It takes 8-12 weeks before it’s ready to use. So, here’s what you need: 5 whole vanilla beans, 1 cup of your favorite vodka, rum, or bourbon and at least a half-quart jar.
My alcohol of choice is Smirnoff Kissed Caramel vodka. It’s not real expensive and it tastes yummy! This Rose & Ivy bottle used to contain vanilla extract that my sister brought me several years ago and I’ve reused the bottle over and over for making my own vanilla. So, all you do is cut a slit in each vanilla bean and drop it in your container of choice (I also cut mine in half to fit the bottle better). Pour 1 cup of vodka over the beans, seal, and store in a cool, dark place for 8-12 weeks. Give it an occasional shake and there ya’ go! In 8 weeks you’ll have a fantastic homemade vanilla to use in your homemade goodies. The longer it sits, the stronger it gets, so 8 weeks, 10 weeks, 12 weeks – depends on your taste. If you want to make a larger batch, the ratio is 1 cup of booze for every 5 vanilla beans.
I started this bottle three days ago and you can already see the vanilla “caviar” swimming in the vodka when I shake the bottle. So exciting! I love making my own ingredients for the kitchen.
I hope you’ve enjoyed these two ideas and that you get plenty of use out of them.