Thursday, July 15, 2010

Herbal teas and other warm drinks

Oxidizing the leaves of raspberry, blackberry, strawberry and currants

Raspberry leaves make the best tea :-) It reminds very much the "real" black tea, it's dark and fragrant and tastes very good. :-)

You pick the leaves and let them get little "sad".
Then you crush them with your hands, roll into tight balls and put in a glass jar as tightly as you can.
Let the jar stand in warm place for a couple of days, so that the leaves turn brown.
Take them out of the jar, open the balls and spread properly to dry.
When the leaves are dry, you crush them into "tea" and storage in dark, air-tight jar or can.

Other herbs can just be picked, dried and stored :-)

Especially plants related to roses are very good material for herbal teas; like apple (dry the peels and apple leaves for tea), rose (petals, hips and leaves), meadowsweet (flowers and leaves), even lady's mantle and rowan.
You can oxidize the leaves with raspberry leaves, to get more tea. It doesn't make the tea much worse ;-)


Tisane is another name for herbal tea, "tea" made of everything else but real tea leaves.

Rooibos is a South-African plant that is also called the red tea. The leaves are oxidized and brewed into tea, the same way black tea is made. In Africa they are serving also "red espresso", espresso made of finely ground rooibos leaves instead of coffee, that is used the same way coffee is.

* Coffee is a brewed drink prepared from roasted coffee cherry seeds (coffee beans). Coffee grows only in very warm places. It's not a "local" food in Northern America and Europe, so one shouldn't be drinking it. There are several ways to replace coffee.

Asi, Cassina - The Black Drink - made of roasted leaves and stems of yaupon holly (ilex vomitoria)
maté - made of dried leaves of paraguayan holly (ilex paraguariensis) like tea (when cold water is used, it's called tereré)
guayusa - made by boiling leaves of Guayusa (ilex guayusa)
bitter tea - made of dried leaves of che khom (ilex causue) or ku ding holly (ilex kudingcha) like tea

roasted barley tea
roasted rice tea
roasted corn coffee
roasted soybean coffee
- roast the cereal, beans, grind and brew, just like coffee

Chicory or Dandelion coffee

- harvest the roots and wash them
- cut the roots into chunks, wash the chunks and grind them coarse using a food processor. Wash the ground mash and let it dry a while on a kitchen towel
- spread the mash on a cookie sheet and roast in 250 degrees oven with the over door slightly open so that the moisture can escape.
- stir them from time to time and keep an eye on them so that they won't burn. It will take about 2 hours to dry and roast the roots.
- you can grind them to preferred coarseness and brew the coffee as you would tea - use about 1-2 tbls to 1 cup boiling water, let it steep for 10 minutes and strain.
Drink as you like your coffee.

For a latte, the proportions are 1 part to 3 parts milk.
For a cappuccino, the proportions are 1 part to 1 part milk.

- you can roast practically anything with the rootmash; barley and rye are the most used ones, but you can also try beetroot, nuts, seeds and peas


Preheat oven to 300 degrees F

4 cups wheat bran
2 cups cracked wheat
1 cup black strap molasses

The cracked wheat should be ground in a coffee grinder to corn meal consistency. Grind before mixing with molasses so it doesn't gum up the grinder.

Combine all of the above ingredients in a bowl and mix well with your hands. Make sure the grain and bran are well combined and that the molasses is thoroughly mixed into the grain/bran mix.
This will take about 5-10 minutes to make sure there are no pockets of molasses and that it looks like dark, very damp sawdust.

Spread this mixture on two baking sheets with rims and put it in the oven. Stir mixture every 20 minutes for about 5 hours, or until the mixture is a very deep dark mahogany.
Don't try to toast this in a hotter oven because it will burn.
This is a recipe that requires patience in order to caramelize the molasses, and not burn it.
When you open the oven to stir it you will notice a very slight smokiness during the last hour and a half. This is normal.
Remove the baking sheets from the oven and cool on wire racks stirring occasionally to release heat faster.

Brew as you would coffee.
2 tbls for a cup of water.

the problem with roasting things to brew warm drinks of is acrylamide. It is found in everything roasted dark; fried foods, roasted bread, coffee, and fried foods high of starch, like potato chips and french fries. It might cause cancer, but we don't know enough yet.

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