I’m a die hard coffee drinker, but I can’t ‘do’ caffeine after noon. I end up wide awake in bed, thinking about things like the fiscal cliff, or how in the world Downton can go on without cousin Matthew. So in the second half of the day I turn to herbal fruit teas as my hot beverage of choice, especially in the winter. When I feel chilled, they warm me, and get me through the late afternoon snack attack. But the ready made stuff is pretty boring, it usually lacks the flavor I’m looking for. I’m going to fix all that by making it myself.
According to Livestrong, tangerine peel can help lower cholesterol and fight cancer. That’s great because tangerine tea is my favorite and tangerines are in season right now, so grab a bagful to get started. Because you’re going to be using the peel, try and find organic fruit— you want a fresh, fragrant fruit tea, not a chemical soup.
Wash and dry a few tangerines and then peel them. You can just let the peels air dry for a day or two, or set them in a low oven to dry out. When they’re crisp dry, you can crumble them by hand, chop them with a knife, or use a small food processor to break them up into small pieces.
There are a lot of flavors that go well with tangerine, like mint, ginger, cinnamon, clove, star anise, even vanilla. But after some experimenting I decided I really wanted to feature the tangerine flavor in my tea, so I went with some hibiscus for its citrusy tang and rosy color, and a few jasmine green tea leaves. I found these at the spice stand at my farmer’s market, but if you don’t have a spice stand nearby :) you can find loose tea in regular markets, and hibiscus at health food stores, or online. Just mix it up together in a small bowl.
To store your tea you need something opaque and airtight. Air and light will destroy the flavors you worked so hard to put in there. Glazed ceramic or a metal tin work perfectly, and you probably have something around the house already. Ideally, put small amounts of tea in small plastic bags or baggies, and then into the container. Keep in a cool dark dry place, i.e not in the fridge, not next to the stove, not on a sunny windowsill.
You could buy empty tea bags to fill, but I think it’s so much easier to use it loose with an infuser, or even in a small coffee press. I found my delicate little vintage spoon infuser in a thrift store.
Pour boiling water into your cup or pot and let the tea steep for several minutes. Much as I love it hot, this tea will be amazing iced in the summer, too.
The wonderful color and aroma of this tea makes you forget that it’s completely calorie free! Unless you drop in a little bit of honey. Which I recommend; it enhances the tangerine flavor.
One year ago today—