Recently, I’ve been thinking about my first winter in South Korea. It was cold and I was unprepared. The other thing is, when you work with young children, you tend to get sick. They are pretty gross. They don’t wash their hands and they touch everything. Sooner or later, you will catch something.
The thing about working at a private academy, or hagwon, is that you can’t
really take sick days. There’s no one to teach your classes. You’ve just got to suck it up and fight through the pain.
Tim and I were both in a lot of pain that winter, at one point we were sure we’d both gotten pneumonia (it was fleeting, I’m sure it was just a flu). Our sickness was pretty obvious, and one day the principal, who spoke pretty much zero English, came to school with a gift: a large jar of homemade Yujacha.
An herbal remedy for a cold or winter illness, yujacha is a traditional Korean herbal tea. It’s made with sliced yuzu fruit (a citrus fruit) and either sugar or honey. I guess to make it with lemon means it’s not quite yujacha, but it’s pretty delicious anyway.
Either way, the antioxidants in the honey (if that’s what you use) and the lemon (or yuzu) help the body fight cell damage and boost your immune system. So, drink it if you’re sick or if you’re not, and feel good about it either way.
How to make Korean honey lemon tea
What do you need?
Now, I’m not much for measuring. Luckily, this recipe doesn’t really require it! Here’s what I used:
2 lemons, sliced
Raw, natural honey (though, you can use any honey or just sugar if you prefer)
Hot water (much later in the process)
A jar with a lid
After you’ve sliced your lemons, you should put them into a bowl. Coat them so they are completely covered with honey or sugar. I tried to do this in the jar and it wasn’t the easiest process.
Once you’ve transferred this mixture to the jar, you’re going to seal it and leave it at room temperature for a couple of days (at least one). The sugars will draw the liquid from the lemons and leave you with a sweet, syrupy concoction at the bottom of the jar.
Take a few tablespoons with a couple of lemon slices into your mug, add boiling water, and you’ve got tea!
It may not be a magical remedy for the cold or flu, but, it’s lemon and sugar–it’s delicious, like a hot lemonade. It’s one of those comforts that gets you through the cold winter months.
Have you tried Yujacha? Or some similar variation? Will you try this one? Let me know!