Friday, February 27, 2009

HOW-TO: Homemade Tea Bunches!

As these last days of winter trickle away (at least we're hoping these are the last days) I have been looking for new things to sip and warm me up. The Glühwein season is over, and coffee just isn't doing it for me. I have a big selection of packaged teas, but they're boring me. So I started to make my own.

I used some great recipes found in a German Women's magazine, all of which use a combination of whole spices, root plants like ginger and other interesting ingredients like lemon grass and various herbs, many of which I had hanging around in my spice cabinet anyways! This has been lots of fun and the possibilities are endless.
Ginger Infusion

I can also imagine that these could make great gifts, with the ingredients either packed up in teabags or wrapped in cloth ready for preparation (see photo above!). Here are some delicious recipes:

A normal kitchen sieve works great.
If you have a thermos, use it! Just drain your tea right into the thermos. It will stay warm all day and you won't be able to get enough of it!

Ingwerguss – Ginger Infusion (citrusy and zesty)

1 small piece of ginger root (about 1.5 inches)
1 organic orange (or a regular one, well scrubbed)

Grate ginger into a glass carafe, or wherever you will be brewing your tea. Immediately add two tablespoons of honey or agave nectar and stir. Peel the orange into a spiral (or just make pieces, but make sure to take only the orange part, and leave the white). Add 1 liter (about 1 quart) of water, let steep for five minutes. Remove orange peel and enjoy!

Heiße Tasse – Hot Cup (spicy and refreshing)

2 tablespoons dried peppermint leaves (or a handful of fresh ones)
A pinch of chili powder (or ½ of a small dried chili)
Two cinnamon sticks
A dash of nutmeg (preferably freshly grated)
4 whole cloves

Break the cinnamon sticks in half, add the spices and chili power and peppermint leaves, and pour a quart of boiling water over the spices. Let seep for 5-8 minutes and the drain off the spices and serve. Sweeten with honey, if desired.

K and K Drink (Kardamom und Koriander)

4 cardamom capsules
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 piece lemon grass

Crush the cardamom and the coriander in a mortar and pestle. Cut the lemon grass into medium sized pieces and crush them with a rolling pin. Put everything into your carafe and add 1 quart of boiling water. Let seep for 10 minutes and sweeten with honey, if desired.

Pikant-Tee (Lightly Piquant)

3 tablespoons fennel seeds
1 teaspoon dried green peppercorns (found in spice aisle)
2 tablespoons dried peppermint (or a handful fresh)
3 pieces Star Anise
1 quart water

Crush the fennel seeds and the green peppercorns in a mortar and pestle. Put the crushed spices in a carafe with the star anise and the peppermint leaves. Let seep for ten minutes, drain off the spices.

Citrus Drink with Bay Leaf

1 organic orange (or regular one, well washed)
3 bay leaves
a dash of cinnamon
¼ cup orange juice
3 tablespoons milk

Peel the orange in a spiral and place peel in carafe along with the bay leaves and cinnamon. Brew with 1 quart water for 10 minutes and then drain off the bay leaves. Serve with a splash of orange juice and milk.

Enjoy the warm and cozy refreshments!

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