In the book The Long Winter, Laura relates the story of the first time she helped with the hay. It was a very hot day, and the work was physically exhausting. Laura longed for a long cold drink, but Pa warned her to not drink too much water or her stomach would get upset. Ma, however, had a surprise for them both.
Ma had sent them ginger-water. She had sweetened the cool well-water with sugar, flavored it with vinegar, and put in plenty of ginger to warm their stomachs so they could drink till they were not thirsty. Ginger-water would not make them sick, as plain cold water would when they were so hot. Such a treat made that ordinary day into a special day, the first day that Laura helped in the haying.Today we would probably recommend that Pa and Laura drink lots of water through out the day to stay well hydrated in the hot summer sun, but there is something refreshing about a drink with a little flavor and a little sweetness when you are hot and tired. I'm not a big fan of sports drinks, but ginger water would be a great alternative. Ginger has long been a favorite around here for upset stomachs. Herbalists say that ginger is also useful in treating fevers, menstrual cramps, arthritis, and headaches. See Natural Herbs Guide.
Using the recipe found in The Little House Cookbook we made our very own ginger water. It really is very easy.
Ginger WaterThe drink is very refreshing. It reminds me of lemonade though the flavor is quite different. I like the ginger taste without the carbonation found in ginger ale. I think this will be a regular item in our refrigerator this summer.
Brown Sugar, 1/2 to 3/4 C packed
Powdered ginger, 1 tsp
Cider Vinegar 1/2 C
Dissolve brown sugar and ginger in vinegar by shaking or stirring. Add 1 quart of cold water, mix and serve.
Find more frugal ideas at Frugal Fridays.