Monday, August 22, 2016

EARTH & SKY MORNING TEA

Earth and Sky chilled tea, a mid-summer hit.


Tea. It’s something wistful. It takes me back to distant childhood memories of how my Mom, sister and I, who had few luxuries, would sit down – feeling oh! so pampered – to our almost daily, afternoon tea break. Perhaps that’s why I’ve always felt that there is something extraordinary about a hot cup of tea in cold weather and iced tea in hot weather … the thirst-quenching liquid in the mouth, the flowery odor and, of course, the bittersweet taste. So, here I am, decades later, writing this post about tea making.

In all these years of drinking tea, I’ve tried out all kinds of teas, from the bags and loose tea purchased at the store and, more recently, my own blends, mixed from dried teas available commercially along with flowers, herbs and (yes) veggies – some of these from my garden. I find it highly satisfying to mix up several of these ingredients in particular ratios to get a custom blend for my own table and to share as a gift for others.

In my mind, tea making is a way of taking time for yourself - - on a regular basis. It’s also sometimes a way to combat brain-freeze or general negativity. Next time you need to have your perspective turned around, think about filling up your tea cup. It's an effective and common solution for replacing fluids, brushing off sleepiness and cheering up from most any kind of bring-down. As a bonus you get some antioxidants that help fight DNA-damaging, free radicals and give a boost to the immune system.

Just this past week I brewed up a new kind of tea that my husband and I shared in the mid-morning. We enjoyed seeing the bright fuchsia color along with the floating green lime slices and savoring the cool, thirst-curbing goodness of this tangy tea. I called it **My Earth and Sky** tea because of its ingredients - beets dug up from the earth, peppermint from an expansive, creeping vine hugging the earth and the bright flowers of the high branches of the hibiscus shrub, as well as the citrus of the lime tree.

For this blend I used a combination of already boiled and cooled beet juice, added to hibiscus tea with a final hit of the juice of limes and peppermint. The first two ingredients – hibiscus and beets – were purchased at the market. But, as a believer in family gardening, I was fortunate enough to be able to pick the last two ingredients from my own front yard. With all that thrown in together, the tea turned out to be a tasty cooler with the added benefits of being a stomach and nerve soother.

Here’s what I mixed up to achieve my blend.

Quart of hibiscus tea boiled with a bit of mint (or peppermint), cooled
2 cups of boiled beet juice, already chilled
juice of two limes with a few extra lime slices.
2/3 cup of light brown/natural cane sugar

Put all the liquids and sugar in a 2-quart glass pitcher, stir and chill.

As you can see, it’s easy enough to make up this Earth and Sky tea and, in my opinion, well worth the time. So get up and make some tea – this mix or some other that suits your mood - and, then, sit down to a comforting cup of warm or chilled tea. You will thank yourself for the positive mood-lifting and other health benefits that accompany that glass (or cup) of tea.

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