1/2 cup of ginger juice + 1/3 cup lemon juice
1/2 a cup fresh, peeled, medium chopped ginger (Optional for extra spice)
4-6 tablespoons of your preferred sweetener ~ between: agave, honey, maple, molasses or sweet rice syrup
1-3 droppers full (1 dropper = around 24 drops) each: of lemon, peppermint & either almond or vanilla extract
1-3 droppers full of holy basil tincture,
2 teaspoons of agar powder
2 teaspoons of tapioca powder
Directions for candy chew:
- If using fresh ginger, pour juice in blender or food processor with chopped ginger root and purée. Add purée to a sauce pot and begin to warm liquid. Stir frequently.
- Bring up juice to a medium heat and get a nice rolling boil going for about 5 minutes, continuously stirring so liquid does not burn. Add 1 dropper full each of the extracts & tincture while simultaneously whisking liquid. At this point, allow to boil 2 more minutes.
- After your overall liquid has boiled (at least 5 minutes), measure out agar powder and tapioca starch in a lightweight – easy to hold dish. Mix them together until evenly blended (you could always have this step ready in advance). Next, slowly tap the side of the dish with your index finger, adding small amounts of the powder/starch blend to the liquid (a light dusting, covering the surface) all-the-while whisking vigorously to keep a smooth consistency and keeping liquid from burning at the bottom. *Please note, it is very important to add agar/tapioca blend slowly.
- Once all agar powder has been added and dissolved, add the remaining 2 droppers each of extracts and tincture. Continue to whisk and thicken candy mixture an additional 3-5 minutes. A shorter thickening time will get you a soft gummy like candy texture comparable to a fruit snack. This is good for holding the shape of a silicone mold (see the star candy photo). The longer the candy mixture stays on the heat, the thicker it gets, and the more caramel like candy chew your results will be (see the parchment rolled candy photo – too gooey for a mold, but perfect for a rolled candy).
- Have a silicon candy mold or plate ready. If your saucepan has a pour spout, perfect! Fill the candy mold with the liquid while it’s still hot. If not, you can use a Pyrex glass measuring cup by scooping out the hot candy liquid into the Pyrex with a silicone spatula, and strategically/quickly pouring out the liquid into your silicone mold. I would suggest using a simple shape with a wide opening. (In-other-words a star shape, not a gummy bear shape mold.) If you’re going for a caramel texture, scoop out ginger-mint candy onto a plate (free form). Whatever consistency you decide on, you’ll next place it in the freezer to solidify for about 15-20 minutes.
- Put about 1/2 cup of tapioca starch into a wide/shallow bowl.
- You’ll either pop each gummy out of the silicone mold and flip ginger-mint to dust both sides, or you’ll scoop the sticky caramel-like consistency out in dime size amounts with the tip of the spoon, then roll into a ball in your hand, and roll in the tapioca lightly dusting the candy.
- Cut about 2 dozen small parchment paper squares. Place ginger-mint rolled candy chew on parchment paper, fold paper over about 1-2 times, and twist the ends like a classic candy wrapper. Your hands will get sticky while doing this.
- Store in the fridge for ideal texture and longer shelf life ~ best when enjoyed fresh, but will keep around 10-14 days.
Western Nutrition Information:
Ginger grows in the shape of a palm with fingers, called a hand of ginger. It is found in about half of all Chinese and Ayurvedic prescriptions and in Ayurveda is known as “universal medicine.“ In medieval times ginger was available in several heirloom varieties: green, white, columbine, and string ginger. Ginger stimulates digestion, boost circulation, respiration and nervous system function. It helps alleviate arthritic pain, by inhibiting the production of immune-system components called cytokines, chemicals that create a long-term tendency toward inflammation. Ginger is an anti-inflammatory, destroys many intestinal parasites (contains a chemical called Zingibain, which dissolves parasites and their eggs.) Ginger helps to normalizes blood pressure, provide liver support, and can ease congestion in the throat and lungs. It helps to alleviate cold and flu symptoms as well as menstrual discomfort. Can be used externally to rub on the temples and relieve headaches. Ginger can be used in both sweet and savory dishes. Avoid excessive use of ginger as it can cause digestive upset and is contraindicated for those with gallstones, or at risk of hemorrhaging. Ginger is used most commonly to alleviate nausea due to morning sickness (consult your obstetrician before using ginger while pregnant, there are mixed studies out on this), seasickness, motion sickness and other queasy stomach and nausea that includes vomiting. Clinical trials show that ginger rivals nausea drugs for chemotherapy induced nausea. It stimulates the appetite. Traditionally it has been used to promote cleansing of the body through perspiration. If you are taking any kind of medication to induce sleep, you should use ginger with caution. It can prolong the sleeping time induced by barbiturates. Add ginger to your soups and salads to enhance pancreatic function. Ginger is antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, antiviral, carminative, circulatory stimulant, expectorant, rubefacient (topical rub).
Peppermint is antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-spasmodic, antiviral, carminative (flatulence), cholagogue (promotes discharge of bile) and nervine. Peppermint is a leafy green, it’s a delicious food! High in calcium, magnesium, potassium and other beneficial nutrients, peppermint is another one of those herbs that can be used in both sweet and savory dishes, for example you can use sprigs of peppermint for meat rubs or in a pesto, as well as in a sweet tea or a candy. Peppermint helps aid in digesting foods more efficiently. Peppermint as a garnish works wonders with melons, salads, yogurts, or my personal favorite- in lentil or split pea soups. It also pairs well with rose petals and lemon balm! Peppermint is a hybrid of watermint and spearmint that was first cultivated in London in the 1750s. It literally grows nearly everywhere in the world. Peppermint contains volatile essential oil that is 50 to 75% menthol. This oil is the basis of most medicinal preparations of peppermint. This herb has a long history as a digestive aid and is also known to treat symptoms for a cough, cold and fever. Peppermint can kill micro-organisms that cause food poisoning. In its simplest application it is used to help freshen bad breath. Applied topically, peppermint can help alleviate headache and stress. Peppermint is used in aromatherapy to help energetically reset a room or atmosphere. Mint helps disperse pathogens such as viruses or bacteria, and invigorates by promoting circulation of energy, blood and the lymphatic system. Mint is especially helpful in cases of excessive body heat, such as in mastitis (inflamed breast tissue and clogged milk ducts during breast-feeding), painful menstruation (except in painful cases due to uterine fibroids, cysts, or endometriosis, in these cases it is not recommended), and hives. Peppermint is a wonderful tonification of the digestive system, especially the colon. Peppermint is also a common remedy for hiccups.
If using agave syrup, it does not create a “sugar rush“ as do other simple sugars because it is 90% fructose and, therefore, does not stimulate digestive insulin secretion. It is higher in minerals than honey. However it is recommended that agave syrup is used in moderation due to the fact that it takes on the value of the higher glycemic foods that it is paired with, and is essentially a “high fructose“ sweetener. It is however a nice vegan alternative to honey on occasion, in small amounts. Honey is sweeter and more complex in flavor than white sugar. 75% of honey is glucose and fructose. It is quickly absorbed and produces high glycemic symptoms. Honey is not however, empty of nutrients as is sugar because it contains minuscule amounts of enzymes and minerals. Honey is not recommended for children under the age of two years old. Some healthcare experts believe that consuming local honey may decrease the allergic response for people with pollen allergies. The most common honey available is from clover however other types include alfalfa, basswood, blackberry, buckwheat, eucalyptus, lavender, orange blossom, Tupelo, and wildflower honey. Do not refrigerate honey as it speeds up crystallization, thickening the honey and turning it cloudy and grainy in texture. Keep honey at room temperature away from direct sunlight, unless you are doing an herbal sun infusion of it, that is!
Agar powder is a nutritious, natural gelling agent. It is processed from several varieties of red marine algae known as agarophytes. Agar is the base for many famous Asian jelled desserts, including the Japanese child dessert yokan, Chinese almond bean curd, and Burmese coconut jelly. Agar has remarkable medicinal properties. If taken as a supplement, it contains fiber that absorbs and retains water, resulting in a feeling of fullness. It’s remarkable fiber also soothes the digestive tract and chelates (bonds) with toxic and radioactive pollutants, therefore helping to remove toxins from the body. It contains virtually no calories and is mineral rich. Because agar is algae/seaweed, it has the potential to expand in size. You’ll want to stir it with adequate fluid for the right texture. If taking an encapsulated form of agar, know that it can become stuck in your throat or esophagus, and it will swell rapidly in size and may cause choking. So, in conclusion, be advised to avoid taking as a dry supplement if you have trouble swallowing.
Traditional Chinese Medicine ~ Eastern Food Energetics:
Ginger is hot in thermal nature, pungent and sweet in flavor. It routes through the Liver, Spleen, Stomach, Intestines, Heart and Uterus. Ginger helps to resolve phlegm, counteracts cold reduces wind cold, and promotes Qi circulation. Honey is neutral in thermal temperature, sweet in flavor. It routes through the Lungs, Spleen and Stomach and counteracts heat in the body. Agar powder is cold in thermal temperature, sweet and salty in flavor. It routes through the Liver, Lungs and Large Intestine. It helps to counteract heat in the body, resolves phlegm and helps remove toxins. Holy basil, also known as tulsi, is warm in thermal temperature, bitter, pungent and sweet and flavor. It routes through the Kidneys, Lungs, Spleen, Stomach and Large Intestine. It helps to tonify Yang (the warmth of the body) and counteracts damp, resolves phlegm, counteracts cold, promotes Qi circulation and reduces wind cold. Peppermint is cool in thermal temperature, pungent and sweet in flavor. It routes through the Liver, Lungs and Spleen. It resolves phlegm, promotes Qi circulation, counteracts heat in the body and reduces wind heat. If using a Lemon balm, it is cold in thermal temperature, bitter and sour and flavor. It routes through the Heart, Lungs, Liver, Kidney and Pericardium.
Sources & Recommended Reading:
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Goldsmith, Ellen, MSOM, LAc, DipCH. Klien, Maya, PhD. Nutritional Healing with Chinese Medicine. Robert Rose Inc. Toronto, Ontario, Canada. 2017.
Beyerl, Paul. The Master Book of Herbalism. Phoenix Publishing. Blaine, WA. 1984.
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Lakshmi, Padma. The Encyclopedia of Spices & Herbs. An Essential Guide to the Flavors of the World. HarperCollins Publishers. New York, NY. 2016.
Lad, Vasant, B.A.M.S., M.A.Sc. The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies. Based on the timeless wisdom of India 5,000-year-old medical system. Three Rivers Press. NYC, NY. 1998.
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Kelsey Crawford is a Certified Wholistic Nutritionist, lifelong artist and inspired herbalist living in the Pacific Northwest. Her recipes contain only whole food ingredients, in season within the Pacific Northwest region where she lives.
The content of this website is meant for informational purposes only and is not meant to replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other licensed healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding medical conditions.
A special thank you to Wildish Botanicals (on Instagram @WildishBotanicalsPDX ) in Portland Oregon for hosting this and many of my other “Herbs Are Food” workshops, and thank you, for your support as well! Your voice, style, and approach are needed more than ever in the herbal world ~ and the world in general. Keep Going!