There are thousands of different types of tea in the world with different flavors and aromas. However, it all comes from a variety of the same type of plant (camellia Sinensis) and can be put into these main types:
- Black – bold and fuller flavor than the other teas
- Green – mainly from Japan and China with a bold or mellow flavor
- Oolong – complex and nuanced flavor
- White – mild, subtle and delicate flavor
- Red – from Africa
Tea isn’t just for drinking anymore. Many restaurants add it to their dishes to bring a new flavor and aroma to a classic recipe. Because tea leaves are edible, you can use them in a variety of ways. Tea adds a new flavor to any dish, simple or complex. For the best results, cook only with the teas you love to drink and let your chef’s imagination soar.
Use Tea as a Spice
Put tea leaves in a pepper mill, grinder or mortar and pestle and add it to your favorite dishes along with your other spices. It is great as a rub for meat, fish and vegetables. You can even add it to your salad for a new flavor.
Add Tea to Marinade
Instead of throwing your tea bag away after you brewed a cup, save it and add the bag into your marinade. You can also use brewed tea water or ground the leaves in your marinade. Tea even tenderizes the meat for that melts-in-your-mouth effect.
Increase Food’s Aroma
One of the things we love about food is the aroma. Substitute water with brewed tea in any of your dishes. It helps add a new aroma and taste to your food including rice, soup and vegetables. You can also add it to your meat and vegetable coating recipes.
Include Tea in Bake Goods
Want to add a new taste to your muffins, cakes or cookies, think about adding tea. You can even add it to the frosting or glaze. (1 tsp ground tea to every 1 cup of flour for additional flavor.) If your recipe calls for melted butter, add a tea bag to the pan of melted butter and let it steep for several minutes before removing the bag, and then add the butter to your recipe.
To get the most benefits from tea, it is best to use a whole-leaf tea because it retains more essential oils and nutrients in the leaves – the basis of the tea’s flavor and aroma. Typical grocery store tea bags contain a blend of different types of teas, and the quantity of each type can vary based on their cost.
Not only does tea provide a new taste and aroma to your food, you benefit from the essential vitamins and antioxidants in it as well. Remember, if the tea is caffeinated, your dish is also caffeinated. Tea is a subtle flavor that compliments most ingredients, making it difficult to misuse!
For more information and some tea recipes click here. Also, stop into Seeds of Wellness and see the different varieties of “two leaves and a bud” whole-leaf teas we have to offer.