Sunday, August 19, 2012

Tea Poached Cherries

I honestly don’t know why I hadn’t heard of these before, or why I never thought of poaching cherries in tea. Tea cooked cherries are simple, easy, and delicious. Put a raw cherry in the bottom of your cup, prepare tea as per usual, and drink. The heat of the tea will cook the cherry as you make your way down to it creating what is essentially a poached cherry; a warm, soft, cherry pie like morsel that will have picked up hints of whatever flavor tea it was poached in. It actually reminds me a bit of mulled wine at Christmas time. 
It is delicious, and perhaps slightly addictive. Going to have another cup of tea? Just throw in another cherry and start again. It is like the firework finale at the end of your tea. Or rather, the low fat dessert for the health conscious tea drinker. 

As simple as making poached cherries sounds, there are a few tips and tricks (and one large warning.)
Since the tea should be piping hot, you’ll be sipping the tea and not guzzling it down. You need to give the cherry time to cook in the heat of the tea – and you don’t want to accidentally swallow and choke on the cherry.  
If you are drinking out of a dainty tea cup, go through few cups of tea before you eat the cherry. 

Since fruits can be acidic, take care not to pierce the flesh of the cherry if you drink your tea with milk. I don’t think the juice of a cherry is acidic enough to curdle milk, but play is safe so you don’t end up with a cup of chunky tea.

Finally, If you are making this for someone else, let them know there is a cherry (or at least something they may choke on if they don’t drink with care) at the bottom. Unless you are very comfortable giving the Heimlich maneuver, a simple cherry can really ruin a tea party.
So, take advantage of the current cherry season, and give tea poached cherries a try. You might not have another cup of tea sans cherry until the cherry season is well and truly over.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Tea Flavoured Apples

So, whilst my daily grind at work, I happened upon an interesting discovery. In my lunch bag there are always two things, an apple and a bag of tea. Often my apple would end up being placed directly on top of the tea, and it would all be sealed up and stored for hours in the lunch bag.
I do believe the first time both these items shared a small space for a few hours, I took a bite out of the apple and thought "golly this apple is delicious." Well, more so than a Gala apple normally is anyways.

It turns out that apples have a lovely ability to absorb the scent and even a little of the flavour of any tea leaves that is in close proximity to it. Did you know that? When I realized this was happening, I began to experiment. Basically I put a whole apple in a lot of tea leaves for a day, and then ate the apple. It was delicious. It tasted like tea and apples and calendula petals and vanilla and etc. 

Now before you try it, I've found that very floral teas do not make good tea flavoured apples. Too perfumed and not appetizing. Dessert teas make amazing tea apples, and just try it with some chai -- it is divine. 

For those who don't feel like reading, or need some pictures to illustrate what I am saying, here is a quick visual guide.

Step one: Get an apple. Preferably get one with a thin skin. I always use Gala apples, but try the ones you own before you go to the grocer for any special types of apple. 

Step two: Get yourself some dried tea leaves in a seal-able container. Even some tea in a Ziploc baggie would do the trick.  Try not to pick teas that are too floral (but hey, who knows, you might like that.) I recommend chai or dessert styled teas.

Step three: Put an apple in there, seal it up, and wait. It will start taking the scent and flavour after a few hours, but will be decently potent if you wait a day. Just don't forget about it in there. A rotting apple will ruin all your tea, and wouldn't you feel like a knob. 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

A tropical mistake

You know what tastes terrible with tea? Pineapple. I had fresh pineapple this summer (learned how to prepare a whole pineapple while I was at it) and I sat down with a fresh cuppa. First I took a sip of tea, and then a bite of tasty tropical fruit. It was a very tasty mix until I had another sip of tea. The juice of the pineapple had coated my tongue with its sweet acidic juice. Mixing that with milky tea, well, I should have known better. It was terrible. Blech. There was no way I could have finished that cup of tea, though I did eat the rest of the pineapple.

If you are a tea drinker who happens to be on vacation in Hawaii or the Caribbean, and fresh pineapple is being served, please learn from my mistake. Pineapple is much too acidic to be mixed with milk tea. Although, if you don't drink your tea with milk, or drink herbal tisanes, then just ignore this lesson.

Of course, fresh and flavoured are two entirely different things. At this very moment (of my writing this, not you reading this) I am drinking pineapple flavoured black tea. With cream. Truly! And since the cup is half empty, you can assume it is a better mix than fresh pineapple and milk tea. I was hesitant about adding milk to this tea, much like I was hesitant in adding milk to that disastrous peach tea. But tea isn't tea unless it has a dairy product in it, so I took the chance and was glad when I didn't see any curdles floating on the surface.

The odd. No bad, but not great. It tastes fruity and sweet, but doesn't taste like pineapple until the tea reaches the back of my tongue. Then it has that same harsh sweetness, the sugary acidic bite. But that makes sense since the bitter receptors are at the back. Now that I am finished the tea, it has left an unpleasant taste in my mouth. Reminds me of the time when I ate fresh pineapple with tea.

I am glad I only had one of these teas to try, because I doubt I’d have any more. It would, as most acidic teas would, make a much better herbal tea than it does a milky black tea. In fact, this would make a great herbal tea, or fantastic iced tea. Just don't offer any to me.

I got this tea from a friend, so while I know what little boutique shop sells the Serengeti Tea Company around here, you might not find a little boutique shop that sells it around you. Their website lists some Canadian locations, (but oddly not the store I know my tea came from,) or you could buy it in bulk from the online store - and hopefully like it.

I do, however, must say that they have pretty cool tube-like tea bags.