Herbs And Teas, Superfood

how to make peppermint tea from fresh leavesWhen we talk about mint leaves, we’d all agree that the first thing that comes to mind is that, it’s an effective breath and mouth freshener. Though, aside from that, these leaves that smell heavenly have a wide range of uses!

Mint doesn’t only have a great flavor, but it’s good for your health as well. In fact, during my research, I have discovered that mint can improve your digestion, relieve heartburn, get rid of headaches, and best of all, it’s one of the great sources of vitamins and minerals.

Aside from all these benefits, the good thing about mint leaves is that they’re very easy to cultivate– you don’t have to buy these leaves, every now and then. A sprouted herb plant isn’t that expensive at all. For just $3, you can get an organic one, and you’ll have a good supply of mint for several months– even years if well taken care of.

Here is where I buy my mint leaves: http://www.currypages.com/where-to-buy-mint-leaves/

That said, here are some of the ways on how you can use fresh mint:
– If you haven’t tried combining mint leaves and berry, then it’s now time that you should. Mix a cup of unsweetened yogurt with strawberries and top it off with chopped mint. You’ll be surprised at how good it tastes!
– Fresh mint is also known for elevating even the most simple vegetable dish into gourmet status. For example, you can try adding some fresh mint leaves in your peas and fava beans.
– For salads, mint adds a zest of freshness that could make a healthy dish very delightful.
– If you fancy something exotic, then incorporate mint leaves in your Asian Chicken Noodle Salad. This would give an exciting twist to your regular salad.

Choosing Fresh Mint Leaves

Based on my observation, fresh mint leaves are usually bright green and crisp. Stay away from leaves that have browning and wilting.

How You Should Store Fresh Mint Leaves

Fresh mint leaves should be stored properly to prolong its freshness. In order to do that, the freshly cut stems of mint should be placed in a vase for a couple of days. If it’s grocery bought and without a stem already, then you should just put it in a plastic bag ad store it in the vegetable bin.

Overall, I can say that mint leaves are definitely packed with fragrance and flavor. It’s very versatile that you can experiment and add it in any kind of dish that you desire. You will be glad that you did.

 

Herbs And Teas

how to drink matcha green teaMatcha green tea has seen a recent surge in popularity though it was a staple part of Japanese tea ceremonies of the 12th century. Enthusiasts are evincing interest in this finely milled green tea powder owing to its purported health benefits, distinct flavor and visual appeal. Matcha tea is made out of green tea leaves that are stone ground into a fine powder. Thereafter it is sifted and whisked with hot water to derive its final form. It is more expensive than many other tea varieties. The best Matcha tea leaves are grown and processed in the southern regions of Japan.

Matcha Green Tea – Manufacturing Process and Benefits

The matcha tea shrubs are guarded from sunlight and kept in shade for about 20 days before harvesting. The plucked tea leaves can be optionally rolled out before drying them. If they are rolled out, the tea leaves become Gyokuro, a type of premium green tea. The leaves plainly dried out become Tencha leaves which are used for making matcha green tea. The leaves are thereafter de-stemmed and de-veined (for a softer taste). They are then stone-ground to a fine powder.
Matcha gree tea is used to make two kinds of teas: koicha, a thick tea made from the highest quality powder and usucha that is made out of the second-highest grade tea powder. The powders are usually not interchanged. Matcha tea is essentially a suspension and not a brew. The sifted matcha powder is whisked to a frothy mix with hot water and the entire tea leaf is consumed along with the water.

Specific equipment is used for making the matcha green tea: the traditional chawan or tea bowl is used to make and drink the tea. The chashaku or the bamboo tea spoon is made use of to scoop the tea and place in the chawan. Matcha Green Tea – Health Benefits Growing matcha in the shade helps to increase the tea’s chlorophyll as well as the naturally occurring amino acid L-Theanine contents. The increased L-Theanine content purportedly improves mental focus. The action of the amino acid in combination with the caffeine in tea helps to avoid the typical crash that would occur if coffee was consumed. This amino acid has the ability to both calm and stimulate the body system. Matcha would also deliver more phytonutrients to the body because all of the leaves in the suspension are consumed.

Creative Uses of Matcha

Green tea and specifically matcha green tea is consumed by health-conscious individuals because of the presence of catechins which are powerful antioxidants that keep the harmful effects of free radicals at bay. In addition to drinking cold or warm matcha green tea, there exist many creative uses of the tea powder. The fresh grassy flavor of the matcha is the favorite of many a food connoisseur. It is infused into cocktails, mixed with dough used for making confectionery and biscuits and whipped into thick lattes. Here is a matcha green tea recipe that would surely whet your appetite as well as help you reach your fitness goals.

Matcha Green Tea and Zucchini Noodles Seasoned With Honey and Ginger Sauce

matcha green tea recipeIngredients

Buckwheat Noodles (spiked with matcha green tea powder)

– 8 oz Zucchini (large)
– 1 noOlive Oil
– 3 tablespoonsGrated Ginger
– 1 tablespoon Peeled and grated garlic
– 3 clovesSesame Oil
– 2 teaspoonsHoney
– 2 tablespoonsSoy Sauce
– 2 tablespoonsJuice of 1 Meyer LemonFresh Mint and Basil
– 15 to 20 leavesA little sea salt

Cooking Instructions

Add the salt to a little water and bring it to a boil. Cook the noodles according to instructions. Cut the zucchini into long noodles using a peeler. Place the zucchini noodles in a colander and sprinkle required salt. Drain for at least 15 minutes over a bowl. Saute the ginger and garlic in the heated olive oil to a gentle golden brown in a pan for 2 to 5 minutes in medium heat. Stir constantly to avoid the contents sticking to the pan. Remove the pan from the fire and add the soy sauce, sesame oil, lemon juice and honey to form a smooth sauce. Add the sauce to the buckwheat noodles and toss till it to form a smooth coating over the noodles. Thinly slice the rolled mint and basil leaves. Add the drained zucchini noodles (remove any remaining water) to the noodles and sauce and mix evenly. Serve chilled or at room temperature. This quantity makes four servings.

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 350Fat: 14.5 gSat Fat: 1.9 gCarbs: 47.1 gFiber: 4.2 gSugar: 5.9 gProtein: 10.8 g