Turmeric Tea

My discovery of turmeric came about in a very odd way. When I lived in my former apartment in Washington Heights, about two years ago, I was cooking chicken for dinner one night. I was looking through our seemingly endless array of spices from roommates then-current and past. I came across the turmeric and gave it a sniff. Aromatic, indeed! I shook some on top of my chicken. “OOOH. Yellow chicken! Hey, and it tastes good, too!”, I exclaimed upon my first bite!

turmeric

I wish I could say that I did research on the medicinal and traditional uses of turmeric prior to my initial use of it, leading me to use it for its supposed anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antiviral activities.

No, I just popped it on some chicken.

But DAMN can you make some tasty tea with it!

turmeric tea

In all seriousness, I enjoy the taste of turmeric (thought it admittedly took me a few tries to truly acquire it), and I have recently taken the time to further research its aforementioned medicinal properties. It may not be a cure all, but I see no harm in getting a potential health boost by adding to my chicken, vegetables, grains, or even a cup of hot water. On a strictly anecdotal basis, I can say that this tea does make my stomach feel better if it’s a little upset or if I’ve overindulged.

This is a wonderful alternative to a cup of coffee or a spot of traditional tea.

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Turmeric Tea
(Adapted from the 101 Cookbooks recipe for Turmeric Tea)
(Serves 1)

Ingredients

– 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
– 1/2 to 1 tablespoon honey (depending on preference for sweetness; use raw honey, if possible)
– 1 crack of black pepper (optional)
– 8 ounces hot water

Before We Get Started…

-Turmeric stains. Simply put. Be prepared to have yellow fingernails for a couple of days. Do not wear this while wearing light colors, unless you want some seemingly inexplicable yellow stains on your favorite clothes.

Directions:

1.) In a small bowl, whisk together turmeric and honey until the turmeric is fully incorporated into the honey.

2.) Heat eight ounces of water until water starts to bubble, but is not fully boiling.

3.) In a large mug (enough to hold eight ounces), spoon turmeric honey paste into the bottom. Add hot water and stir until combined. Add optional black pepper at this point and stir into tea.

Note: This mixture will tend to settle as the drink sits, to be sure to continue to stir it occasionally while drinking.

Iced Lemon Green Tea

As the summer approaches and the temps get warmer, I’m consuming iced tea en masse. I try to go the homemade route as often as possible, because I prefer my teas to be unsweetened. I do find I have my favorite bottled kinds that have little to no sugar added (such as Harney & Sons Iced Tea, SOUND Sparkling Tea, and Teas’ Tea), but the majority of typical bottled iced teas are loaded with sugar. Even my favorite well-known organic iced tea brand recently changed their peach white iced tea formula, increasing its sugar by 6 grams per serving; I just feel physically awful after drinking something with even 25 grams of sugar in it.

There is something satisfying about making homemade drinks such as iced tea. I feel better drinking something in which have complete control of the ingredient input. Plus, it’s fun! It takes roughly 15 minutes to put a good iced tea together. Instead of spending $2 dollars or more for a bottle at the store, or spending $3 dollars or more for whatever Starbucks considers “iced tea”, brewing your own from tea bags saves you money in the long run! I prefer to make my green iced tea from Harney’s Organic Green Tea with Citrus & Gingko. A tin may cost $8 dollars for six packets of tea, but one bag yields 8 cups. One tin yields 48 cups. Therefore, you’re paying about 17 cents per cup. And just imagine how much cheaper it’d be if you used less expensive tea… 😉

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Iced Lemon Green Tea
(Makes 8 8oz. servings)

Ingredients:
-1 Packet green iced tea or 3 – 6 bags green tea
-2 cups boiling water
-6 cups cold water
-1/2 lemon, sliced

Before We Get Started…

-As mentioned in the introduction and ingredients, I usually use the specific iced tea packet. This equates to about 3 – 6 bags worth of your regular-sized tea bag. Three tea bags creates a strong yet palatable green tea flavor. I personally find four bags is a good number to brew, otherwise the batch may become a little bitter. If brewing regular teabags, be sure to remove any tags before adding to water to steep.

-While I use lemon, other great (and welcomed) additions to this recipe would be about 1/2 cup mint leaves, roughly chopped, or about 3 tablespoons worth fresh sliced ginger. These can be added separately or in conjunction with the lemon. Experiment!

-Feel free to sweeten as needed, but I find the lemon flavor to be so strong, no sweeteners are necessary.

-Make sure you have a pitcher able to hold at least 8 cups of liquid ready to go. This recipe makes 8 cups on the nose, so you may have to dump a little out if it doesn’t all fit in the pitcher.

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Directions:

1.) Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a medium-sized saucepan. Add teabag(s) to water and turn off heat, allowing tea to steep for 15 minutes.

2.) Remove teabag(s) from water; if cool enough to the touch, squeeze out any remaining liquid from the bags into the water.

3.) Add tea to pitcher. Add cold water to pitcher. Add sliced lemons. Refrigerate.

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