Wednesday, October 22, 2008
It all started two weeks ago. I felt the beginning of an itch inside my throat. I knew the feeling. I felt a bout of cough coming. I put up my line of defense. I drank more liquid, took double dosage of Vitamin C. But the cough still attacked. Accompanied by runny nose and cold, they conquered my body. During the height of their victory, I was coughing non-stop. My forehead was heavy. It was hard to sleep at night. Of course my Hubby's sleep was disturbed as well. Last Sunday, I was to teach Sunday School. I could not call in sick because the Song leader had already called in sick. Besides, I have already prepared my lessons and the powerpoints. I think I was concentrating on the presenting the lessons too much, I did not notice I was coughing most of the time, until my boss - the head of Junior Worship team, gave me a cup of warm water to drink while I was in the middle of my lesson. It was comforting. It was humbling. But I still had to continue my lessons.
Slowly, my body fought back. Ever so slowly, the cough subsided little by little. I remembered the warm water. And I thought if I added mint to warm water, it would be soothing to the throat. What if I make mint tea, instead? Fortunately, I bought several mint seedlings from the plant nursery a few months back. Up to now, I have not used them yet. This picture was taken when the plants were newly bought. The seedlings have grown a little bigger and now have branches that run down the pots, and with more and bigger leaves.
Isn't it great to have your own little garden of herbs in this busy city? I really appreciate my mini-garden pots all the more when I got sick (well, I'm still recovering and drinking this tea everyday.) Since it is not convenient to go out, it is just perfect to cut up some leaves and use them as herbal therapy.
At first, I only gathered several leaves. Probably around two tablespoons worth. When I steeped them with black tea in my 500 ml (half-liter) coffee press, the resulting tea was not minty enough. Well, at least for me. So, the next time, I gathered more, and still not minty enough! The third time around, I gathered a lot, around half a cup worth of mint leaves. Now, that resulting tea was finally minty enough for me.
In the coffee press or tea kettle, add in:
3 T black tea leaves, blanched
1/2 C mint leaves, cleaned
Pour in freshly boiled water and steep for 4 minutes. With the coffee press, pour out the liquid and drink warm.
Drink warm if you want to soothe your throat. But I think this can be a refreshing drink when cold and with ice added. You can also adjust the amount of leaves according to taste.
You may be wondering why I blanch my tea leaves. These are loose tea leaves, not in tea bags. I do not think you need to blanch the tea bags. I pour a little amount of boiling water into the tea leaves, just enough that all leaves are submerged, then, swirl the leaves and water together, and pour the hot water out. I will only drink the brew of the second (or third) hot water. This is to make sure the leaves are "cleaned." Am I considered an obsessive-compulsive then? My mother said she knew of an Auntie who makes this blanching and cleaning three times. Do you blanch your tea leaves, too? When I made lemongrass and ginger tea before, a reader commented that I did the right thing because blanching the tea leaves first would remove as much as 80 percent of the caffeine content of the teas!!! This is an example of how sometimes being obsessive-compulsive pays in the end! :)
Sharing this warm, soothing drink with the Grow Your Own Community, headed and hosted this time by Andrea of Andrea's Recipes. It is a twice-a-month blogging event that celebrates the foods we grow or raise ourselves and the dishes we make using our homegrown products.To see last edition's round-up, please check out Gay, a molecular biologist at A Scientist in the Kitchen.