Herbal tea time

By Phillippa Spence

As well as being a good way to wean yourself off heavily caffeinated drinks, herbal teas offer a way of making you feel generally better inside.

They have all sorts of healthy properties. Fresh mint or dried peppermint tea aid digestion and are the perfect drinks for after dinner. Liquorice tea also helps digestion, while ginger tea soothes nausea, and when spiked with a wedge of lemon also helps you feel better if you’re fighting a cold. Camomile tea has long been said to help promote restfulness and calm, but the lack of caffeine and warming nature of all herbal teas can easily lull you to into a relaxed place.

Teapigs.co.uk sell all types of teas and blends to perk you up or chill you out, or you could shop locally at delis and specialists to find your favourite.

Of all the herbal teas, green tea is one of the most popular and well known. Its alleged healing properties are endless – from helping prevent the on-set mental illness to boosting the immune system. It has to be said, it’s quite an acquired taste, but it has a lovely light and fresh aroma, so even if you don’t like drinking it that much, it’s still a great way to freshen up other recipes. For a summery treat you can make iced green and mint tea as a refreshing alternative to black tea.

If you have a few green tea bags in your tea caddy that you doubt you’ll never drink, here are some ideas to get cooking with…

Believe it or not, it adds a lovely depth to ice cream and custard. Just steep a green tea bag in warm milk and remove it before you make your custard base. Jamie has a lovely recipe for pannacotta that uses green tea ­– it’s easy to make but really impressive. You can also use green tea powder (matcha) to give the green colour too. If you’re looking for something savoury, try Jamie’s 15-Minute Meals recipe for green tea salmon. The salmon is fillet is rolled in green tea and fried to create a lovely fragrant crust.

But probably the simplest way to use tea in cooking is also one of the most beautiful – Jasmine tea is incredible when added to a pan of simmering basmati rice for a fragrant lift to normal old rice. Give it a go.


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