Home School Life Journal From Preschool to High School

Home School Life Journal ........... Ceramics by Katie Bergenholtz
"Let us strive to make each moment beautiful."
Saint Francis DeSales

The Spice Trade: Ginger

Ginger Coloring Page
Ginger is native to India and China. Ginger has been important in Chinese medicine for many centuries, and was known in Arab countries as far back as 650 A.D. It was one of the earliest spice known in Western Europe, used since the ninth century. It became so popular in Europe that it was included in every table setting, like salt and pepper. A common article of medieval and Renaissance trade, it was one of the spices used against the plague.

This week we have had a lot of fun playing with ginger.
We made homemade Ginger ale. It was more effervescent than carbonated with an odd flavor. Despite the fact it was fun to make, I probably won't make it again.

Ginger ale Two Ways from Crumpets and Cakes
If you do not want to brew ginger ale, you can have a ginger drink this way:
1 cup fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
1 cup sugar
2 cups water
club soda
juice of one or two limes, juice from half lemon

Combine ginger, sugar and water in a saucepan. Simmer slowly for 10 minutes, until sugar is dissolved and ginger is softened. Strain warm syrup and allow to cool. Fill a tall glass with ice, add 1 part of ginger syrup and 3 parts of club soda. Squeeze lime and lemon wedge into glass. Use more syrup if desired.
We made a Gingerbread Village.

Leo's Favorite Ginger Crisps from Patch O' Dirt Farm

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 Tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 stick) butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup molasses
coarse sugar for coating
Sift four, salt, soda and spices together in a bowl.
Beat butter and sugar together until fluffy. Beat in egg and molasses.
Stir in flour 1/3 at a time. Chill the dough for several hours or overnight (you can even freeze it at this point).
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees; Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment. Roll dough into 1" balls, about a teaspoon at a time, and place in a pie pan or cake tin with course sugar. Roll them around in the sugar until covered, then place on the cookie sheet. With a flat-bottomed glass dipped in regular sugar, press each ball flat. There should be about 2" between cookies.
Bake for about 12 minutes, until tops are crackled. Cool on a rack.
Makes about 60 cookies.
Giant Ginger Cookies at Martha Stewart
Layer cookies between parchment or wax paper when packing them for school lunches or as gifts. Freezing the dough for twenty minutes makes it easier to work with. Cookies can be baked up to two days ahead; store in an airtight container at room temperature.

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus 1/3 cup for coating
6 tablespoons molasses
1 large egg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with racks in upper and lower thirds. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, allspice, and pepper.
With an electric mixer, cream butter, brown sugar, and 1/2 cup granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in molasses and egg. With mixer on low, gradually beat in flour mixture until just combined. Flatten into a disk, wrap in plastic, and freeze for 20 minutes.
Divide dough into twelve 2-inch balls. Place remaining 1/3 cup granulated sugar in a bowl. Roll balls in sugar to coat; place at least 4 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Flatten into 3-inch rounds. Sprinkle with sugar remaining in bowl.
Bake until brown, rotating sheets halfway through, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool cookies on a wire rack.

Ginger Leaves covered in powdered sugar snow from Imagine Childhood.

2 1/2 cups flour

1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup softened unsalted butter
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground clove
1/2 tsp salt
1 tablespoon fresh ginger (finely grated or minced)
1 large egg.

In a separate bowl whisk flour, spices, baking soda and salt. In another bowl cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Then add molasses, fresh ginger and the egg. One the wet mixture complete slowly mix in the whisked dry ingredients. Once fully incorporated, refrigerate for 3 hours or so. After refrigeration, take half the dough and roll out to about 1/8-3/16" thickness and begin cutting out your shapes (just make sure the dough is well floured on the underside before you cut it to make transferring easier). The great thing about free-handing this is you can really use all of the dough because you can make the leaf shapes as big or small as you need.In order to keep the vein imprints, place the shapes on a parchment lined sheet and place in the freezer while you preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Once the oven is heated bake for 11-13 minutes and let cool on a wire rack.

Carrot, Ginger and Coriander Soup from Allrecipes
This soup was quite tasty and creamy. Great for a cold winter day.

1 tbsp margarine
1 onion, chopped
1 1/2 pounds carrots, peeled and diced
1 tsp fresh ginger, minced or grated
2 tsp coriander seeds
4 cups vegetable broth
salt and pepper, to taste

In a large pot, cook the onions in margarine until soft, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add carrots, ginger and coriander and cook, stirring for a few more minutes. Add the vegetable broth and bring to a low simmer. Cover and cook for at least 25 minutes, or until carrots are very soft.
Transfer the soup to a blender or food processor and puree, working in batches if needed.
Add a dash of salt and pepper and serve hot, re-heating if necessary.

We made Gingerbread House Accordion Books with gingerbread doll chains.
Luciapepparkakor (Gingerbread Cookies)

This is the best Gingerbread Cookie dough to work with, especially with children as they can stand up to many times rolling out! We have also made this with gluten-free flour mix successfully.

Model Magic Gingerbread Cookies for those who can't handle the gluten in flour.
4 Crazy Kings shows you how to make a wreath out of these and a paper plate.


  1. Making Ginger ale sounds fun

  2. We love gingerbread here and it gets made often.


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