Yup. You read that right. If you aren’t already, you should be cooking with tea. Those flavors you’ve come to enjoy hot in a mug or in a cold glass over ice can also be used to enhance the flavor of just about anything you eat. And with the many health benefits – why not?
Tea has been a part of life for people around the world for thousands of centuries. Today, we know through studies that teas can boost your immune system, keep cancer and heart disease at bay, fight off inflammation, and a host of other wellness benefits. For example, white tea (the least processed of the teas) is high in antioxidants and contains fluoride, catechins, and tannins that strengthen teeth and fight plaque. Herbal teas are caffeine free by definition, which gives them calming properties. Hibiscus lowers blood pressure and fat levels and can keep the cravings for sweets at bay. Ginger helps with indigestion, joint pain, and morning sickness. Peppermint is good for upset stomach, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, and motion sickness. It is safe to say that just about every tea has some sort of healing property and health benefits.
Let’s put the kettle on, because we’re going to take these fabulous beverages – and start cooking.
Whether loose or bagged, green, black, or herbal – if it’s tea you can cook with it. Here’s how:
Ditch the plain water for tea when poaching or steaming.
Looking to take a favorite old recipe up a notch? Try infusing. If your favorite recipe – whatever it is – calls for milk, cream, or water – try infusing the liquid with tea. Add rose tea to homemade vanilla ice cream. Lemon verbena will really be show stopper when added to panna cotta. Oolong would be ooh so good in béchamel.
Baking something chocolate? Those brownies or that cake were made for peppermint tea. More of a vanilla fan? Chai is the perfect add in to that pound cake.
Teas are great flavor enhancers for broths and stock.
Adding matcha powder to a smoothie will boost the antioxidants and provide a delightful herbal flavor.
What other uses can you think of?
Tea, no matter how delicious, isn’t usually considered as and ingredient in food. But it should be. The rich, complex, herbals tastes can serve as a secret ingredient when baking, sautéing or steaming – in just about any way you can imagine. Here are some recipes to get your creative ideas flowing.
A great addition in baked goods. Satisfy your sweet tooth with these Earl Grey Tea cookies.
This Root Vegetable Pot Roast recipe is everything a comfort food should be – and it’s made with chai tea.
This recipe for Tea Smoked Roast Chicken will make you forget the barbecue.