Not just a delicious drink, tea is packed with health benefits as well as flavours that can be used for cooking.
By: Ntwenhle Gcabashe
1. Herbal tea is naturally sweet. It adds a delicate flavour and aroma to fish and chicken. It also enhances flavour in desserts, such as poached pear and ice tea. Herbal tea has many health benefits, but the most common are to calm an upset stomach and fight viruses and infections such as colds and flu. Store it in an airtight container.
2. Oolong tea has been used traditionally in China for many years. Scientific studies have shown that it may improve your health because it has vitamins C, minerals as well as mild stimulants to relax you. It also contains caffeine to boost your energy levels. Although it is best enjoyed hot, you can also use it in ice tea and to add a strong flavour to cocktails. Some of its health benefits include the prevention of tooth decay and heart diseases. Store it in a closed container.
3. Chamomile tea is a herb that has been used for years. A sweet and fruity flavour, it is popularly known to calm an upset stomach or to help you sleep. You can also use it to add flavour to seafood dishes, cocktails, beer and cooking oils. It is also commonly used to treat irritation from colds and inflammation. Store it in an airtight container in a cool place.
4. Ceylon tea originates from Sri Lanka. It is a favourite for many homes in South Africa, as it has common teas under its umbrella, such as Five Roses, Joko and Trinco. It has a distinct flavour, aroma and strong taste. It is also used as the base for many tea blends such as Earl Grey, and other fruit-flavoured teas – honey, lemon and ginger. You can use it when cooking fish and chicken to enhance flavour. This tea also helps to strengthen your immune system and lower stress. Store it in an airtight container to maintain its flavours.
5. Green tea originates from China. It adds woody and aromatic flavours to food. This tea is best used in sweet dishes such as ice cream, smoothies and cakes. Its health benefits include regulating the glucose level, increasing metabolism while it also has a strong antibacterial and antiviral agent to fight flu. Store it in an airtight container and keep in a cool place. The recommended brewing process is about 4–5 minutes.