Commonweal’s Most Nourishing and Healing Tea

MAKES ABOUT 8 CUPS • PREP TIME: 5 minutes • COOK TIME: 55 minutes

You may have heard the slogan “You’ve tried the rest; now try the best.” That’s the way I feel about this tea recipe. It was developed ages ago by the fantastic folk at the Commonweal Cancer Help Program, a renowned retreat for patients and caregivers, and they’ve been very kind in allowing me to share their recipe with you. When I am cooking at commonweal, I often make about six quarts a day so I’ll have some on hand for anyone who comes through the door, and still, it’s never enough. The blend of ginger, cloves, cinnamon, and cardamom is like a backrub in a cup. It turns me into absolute mush, it’s so good.

1/3 cup sliced peeled fresh ginger, cut 1/4 inch thick
10 cups water
3 tablespoons coriander seeds
1 1/2 tablespoons cardamom pods
4 cinnamon sticks
5 whole cloves
1 1/2 cups rice milk or almond milk
1 to 3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine the ginger and water in a saucepan, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes.

Add the coriander, cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves and continue to simmer for an additional 20 minutes.

Strain the tea through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean saucepan. (I recommend that you save the spices; see Cook's Notes.) Add the rice milk and maple syrup and gently reheat without boiling for 2 to 3 minutes, until warm. Stir in the vanilla, then taste. Add more milk or sweetener if you like. Serve hot or cold.

COOK'S NOTES: The tea will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks without the milk and sweetener, so you may want to set some aside prior to adding the milk and sweetener. 

Recycle the spices that are strained out of the tea and use them to make another, smaller batch of tea. They’ll keep in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days.

To make more tea, combine the spices and 6 cups of water and bring to a boil. Add 2 tablespoons of peeled fresh ginger slices. Simmer for 30 minutes, then strain the tea and discard the spices. Add sweetener and milk to taste and reheat without boiling for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla before serving.

Reprinted with permission from The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen: Nourishing, Big-Flavor Recipes for Cancer Treatment and Recovery. Copyright © 2009 by Rebecca Katz with Mat Edelson, Ten Speed Press, a division of the Crown Publishing Group, Berkeley, CA.