Corn Dog Batter

Reliving what you loved in your childhood, those fond memories of carnivals and fairs, and really getting back to that time of innocence and youth is usually about having or doing something that you loved back then. This can come in many different forms, all depending on what you enjoyed as a child, but there are a few things that many children had in common.

Going to a carnival or fair was one of them and, when there, they usually ate the food that they still love today. One of these foods is a corn dog! Even today, many of the adults who loved it when they were young still enjoy having one because it brings them back to their youth, while also being very tasty. Of course, if they want one today, they will usually have to go to a carnival for a good one, which can be difficult.

Those who do not want to go through that hassle or buy frozen ones do have the perfect option, though! You can make your own at home and it is simple to do! From making the corn dog batter to frying them up, you will have your corn dogs ready quickly.

Making the corn dog batter is, obviously, the first step when making your own corn dogs. Without it, you are just frying a corn dog plain, which is not going to taste like you imagine a corn dog would. If you do not know exactly how to make the batter then you can rely on recipes. There are some very interesting and tasty recipes available for every person to look into, as well as being easy.

Corn dogs in general are easy to make so you will not find many recipes out there that are near impossible to deal with. Some are even creative about flavoring the batter, which really makes something you can enjoy. The different additions available allow you the ability to take what you love and change it into something else. Make your childhood treat something to fit your adult taste or just play with what you enjoy a little; it can really pay off in the end.

Whether you want normal corn dog batter or something a tad bit more adventurous, the way it is made is usually the same. You take your ingredients and mix them in a bowl until you have a nice and smooth batter to dip your hot dogs into, which should come after you dip them in the flour. If the corn dog batter is normal, you already know how it will taste after fried, but if you added something to it then it can become an adventure in itself to taste this new treat.

It will be as if you are a child again, tasting a corn dog for the first time. Recipes are easy so, if it did not turn out to your liking, you can always scrap what you currently have and try again. Make it until you are happy with what you have!

Positive Effects Of Seafood On Our Health

Seafood is a source of high quality protein and is best source of Omega-3 fatty acids. It also contains many vitamins and minerals which increase their nutritional value. So many diseases can be prevented by just adding sea food in our diet. Here are certain useful reasons for introducing seafood in our diet.

Reduce heart diseases

Cholesterol is an essential component of all living animal tissues. Saturated fats in certain foods results in high cholesterol level in blood. Sea foods are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, polyunsaturated fat which is heart healthy. Researchers have suggested that if we include one portion of sea food in our weekly diet it can reduce the risk of heart attack to half. It was also found that EPA and DHA content in fish are related to certain beneficial effects such as they prevent clotting of blood, make veins more elastic, maintain heart rhythm, reduce blood pressure and risk of heart attack.

Beneficial for joints

Studies have shown that intake of diet rich in omega-3 fats can reduce inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and it can also help in treating joints tenderness. People suffering from such problems can benefit by eating fishes like sardines and salmons which are found to be helpful in reducing arthritis.

Great for eyes

Studies have shown that people suffering from age-related muscular degeneration (AMD) can benefit from marine Omega-3 which is found to be helpful in protecting the eyesight of such patients. As retina in the eye is very concentrated in DHA (a long chain omega-3 fatty acid) the intake of seafood especially oil-rich fish can be helpful in keeping the eyes healthy and bright. Certain seafood such as fish and shellfish are rich in vitamin A which is helpful in boosting night vision.

Beauty Enhancer

Surprisingly seafood can contribute to your beauty but the question is how? Fish contain omega-3 fatty acid and zinc which can improve your complexion. Zinc is also helpful in reducing acne. Sea foods are rich source of vitamin E which is vital to skin health and is helpful in slowing down skin aging.

Good for Brain

According to Professor Michael Crawford brain development is dependent on arachidonic (AHA) and docosahexaenoic acids (DHA) which are richly found in seafood like fish. So it is right to state that seafood is brain food. Studies indicate that people who consume plenty of seafood are less likely to develop Dementia and memory problems.

Boost up lungs functioning

Respiratory problems can be reduced by including cold-water fish in the diet as it triggers tissue repair and physical strength that is necessary for recovery. Omega-3 fat consumption also leads to improved immune functioning and reduction in inflammation.

Here are certain useful reasons for introducing seafood in our diet.

Reduce heart diseases

Cholesterol is an essential component of all living animal tissues. Saturated fats in certain foods results in high cholesterol level in blood. Sea foods are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, polyunsaturated fat which is heart healthy. Researchers have suggested that if we include one portion of sea food in our weekly diet it can reduce the risk of heart attack to half. It was also found that EPA and DHA content in fish are related to certain beneficial effects such as they prevent clotting of blood, make veins more elastic, maintain heart rhythm, reduce blood pressure and risk of heart attack.

Beneficial for joints

Studies have shown that intake of diet rich in omega-3 fats can reduce inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and it can also help in treating joints tenderness. People suffering from such problems can benefit by eating fishes like sardines and salmons which are found to be helpful in reducing arthritis.

Great for eyes

Studies have shown that people suffering from age-related muscular degeneration (AMD) can benefit from marine Omega-3 which is found to be helpful in protecting the eyesight of such patients. As retina in the eye is very concentrated in DHA (a long chain omega-3 fatty acid) the intake of seafood especially oil-rich fish can be helpful in keeping the eyes healthy and bright. Certain seafood such as fish and shellfish are rich in vitamin A which is helpful in boosting night vision.

Beauty Enhancer

Surprisingly seafood can contribute to your beauty but the question is how? Fish contain omega-3 fatty acid and zinc which can improve your complexion. Zinc is also helpful in reducing acne. Sea foods are rich source of vitamin E which is vital to skin health and is helpful in slowing down skin aging.

Good for Brain

According to Professor Michael Crawford brain development is dependent on arachidonic (AHA) and docosahexaenoic acids (DHA) which are richly found in seafood like fish. So it is right to state that seafood is brain food. Studies indicate that people who consume plenty of seafood are less likely to develop Dementia and memory problems.

Boost up lungs functioning

Respiratory problems can be reduced by including cold-water fish in the diet as it triggers tissue repair and physical strength that is necessary for recovery. Omega-3 fat consumption also leads to improved immune functioning and reduction in inflammation.

Apart from these benefits Epidemiological studies have reveal the link between sea foods and low level of depression.

The Health Benefits And Effects Of Whole Coffee Beans

For over thousands of years now, coffee has been identified to stimulate talkativeness, alertness, activeness and creativity. It is one of the most in demand drinks and you can simply prove it by means of the growing numbers of coffee establishments sprouting all over the world. Whole coffee beans are seeds of a coffee plant. It is the kernel inside the violet and red fruit called cherry.

There have been lots of health studies that revealed how drinking coffee affects human beings. Coffee contains numerous compounds which affect the person’s body chemistry. It is consists of substances which are gentle psychotropics for individuals as defense mechanism. However, these chemicals are poisonous if taken in high doses, or even in their usual quantity if drank or eaten by people. Coffee has caffeine – a stimulant.

Moreover, there was a research which discovered that coffee has more stimulating effects which are not connected to its caffeine content. It contains unidentified substance that enhances the production of the two stimulating hormones – the adrenaline and cortisone.

Drinking coffee results in several health benefits which other beverages cannot give and they are the following:

1. Some studies found out that those who drank more coffee have fewer chances to acquire Alzheimer’s disease in their advancing years and had a reduced threat of developing dementia.

2. Caffeinated coffee intake results to a lower incidence of disease on gallstones and gallbladder in both male and female.

3. Coffee minimizes the risk of diabetes but researchers have not proven yet why it has this effect.

4. Coffee drinkers lower the possibility of developing Parkinson disease at about eighty percent (80 %) because of its caffeine component.

5. The caffeine content in whole coffee beans helps to boost emotions and sharpens the mentality.

6. It also cures headaches because of caffeine.

7. It contains large quantity of antioxidants which help to control the damage to body cells.

Eating or drinking the coffee is the easiest way of permitting caffeine to penetrate the bloodstream and can have harmful results it taken in huge doses and on a regular basis. The following are the effects of coffee.

1. Coffee has high level of acidity which can lead to abdominal pains.

2. Caffeine makes you think that you have more energy, as a result you are going experience hot flashes and you will sense that you have to burn it off. Hence, the body breaks down because it feels that the energy level is low.

3.When too many coffee beans are consumed by the body, the lack of ability to perform normal tasks can occur, thus the loss of motor capacity. You can easily experience overdose because of its high caffeine content.

4. Incidence of inability, nausea, exhaustion, fever and fatigue can arise when too much caffeine was taken by the body.

5. Individuals who are not a coffee drinker but with risk issues for heart disease may possibly increase the possibility of heart attack if they consumed a large amount coffee.

 

 

Better Nutrition with homemade Soup.

Chilli a day can keep the doctor away.

It’s rather apparent chillies are usually supreme flavour boosters. With that said, many people are naive. They don’t know that chilli peppers possess awesome, super vitalized natural health advantages! Not only can you really provide your food a flavour punch, it helps you with slimming down. Therefore if you’re wanting to “drop a few”, you need to ensure to feature chilli in your eating routine! A great method to improve your body fat burning capacity.

In compliance with research released within Cancer Research (2006), chillies can help reduce the possibility of cancer of the prostate. This is really amazing due to their amazing capability to eliminate cancer cells, when leading simply no injuries to other cells.

Now you’re prepared to eat more chilli. Based on studies, cut up chillies retain the advantageous health improvements of speeding up your immune system’s capability to operate. How brilliant is that fact! Developing sinus issues? No problem! Try to look for the chilli pepper cayenne and fuse it together with that chicken soup! Instant unblocked nose!

Are you aware that chilli really has more vitamin c than oranges. Actually over double of what a standard glass of “OJ” has! Additionally, vitamins A and B will also be very abundant within chilli peppers. If you wish to safeguard your body’s defence mechanism, grab a chilli!

A number of methods to incorporate these wonder employees in what you eat are, mixing them in shakes, absorbing them in oil creating “Chilli Oil”, and just eating them raw! For anyone who is having issues determining which chilli is ideal. Never be troubled, you’ll uncover plenty to choose from. It’s thought that green coloured chillies aren’t as spicy as red-colored and orange ones. Be sure to bear in mind the littlest chillies will be the most spicy.

5 Alternatives To Pumpkin Spiced Latte

Every year, we notice a shift in what drinks people are ordering as soon as the weather changes. Autumn arrived here over the weekend and already we’re talking with customers about Gingerbread Latte and Pumpkin Spice Syrups. Seems like only yesterday it was smoothies and frappes!

While the major coffee shop chains such as Starbucks are sticking with their tried and tested recipes from last autumn, including their big-selling Pumpkin Spiced Latte, other smaller independent coffee shops are experimenting with what could be the next wave of autumn hot drinks. We thought we’d take a look at a few and see if they will ever catch on.

Toffee Apple Hot Chocolate

This became quite popular last year and we expect it will be even more of a success this autumn as customers become ever more open to trying new versions of their trusty hot chocolate. Sweetbird make an excellent Toffee Apple Syrup which can be added the finished drink before serving to add an extra dose of sweetness and a warm apple flavour that works so well with chocolate. Of course you can still add your own flourishes before serving, such as whipped cream, brandy snaps, chocolate sauce, whatever takes your fancy. Be careful not to overload it with toppings though, the drink will already be quite sweet as it is.

Toffee Apple Syrup

A perennial favourite, there can’t be too many coffee houses that don’t have this on their menu already at this time of year. Why not make it slightly different this year and add a shot of vanilla or cinnamon syrup, both of which work beautifully with gingerbread flavours. A little grated orange or lemon zest on the top of the foam can also work, provided you don’t overdo it!

Spiced Chai Cappuccino

Very easy to make and, in our opinion, a rather underrated recipe. It may be that many customers don’t know what to expect when it appears on a drinks menu, and may not make the connection that it’s flavoured with cinnamon. However, we sell a lot of this syrup throughout autumn and winter, so we can vouch for the fact that it’s still fairly popular. Try it on your coffee menu and it’ll definitely have a loyal following.

Frosted Mint Hot Chocolate

Nothing innovative with this one really, Costa Coffee have been serving it for a couple of years now and with good results. Add either Monin Frosted Mint syrup or try using Black Forest Syrup as an alternative – both work well in hot chocolate, as does Tiramisu. Again, your own flourishes before serving are the key to making this stand out from the competition, a few slithers of orange peel or maybe some grated nutmeg or cinnamon can transform them into something unique to you.

Pumpkin Spice and Vanilla White Hot Chocolate

OK, so we couldn’t complete a list of alternatives to Pumpkin Spice without including Pumpkin Spice? Hear us out though, this is no ordinary Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte, it’s so simple you’ll wonder why you’ve not come across it before.

Make your normal hot chocolate with white hot chocolate powder instead of regular dark chocolate, and then just add a pump of Pumpkin Spice and a pump of Vanilla syrup before adding cream and a sprinkle of either cinnamon or cocoa powder. A lovely final touch is to add a few slithers of orange peel for that autumn look. Gorgeous!

Finally, if you’re stuck for some inspiration, take a look at the Monin website – they have hundreds of recipes that you can adapt to suit you. There’s no need to follow the crowd this autumn and winter, get out there and create something new – your customers will love you for it!

7 Perks That Silicone Bakeware Will Bring To Your Kitchen

A silicone mat for cooking offers many benefits. Here are the 7 most significant advantages you will enjoy when you have this type of bakeware in your kitchen.

1. Light-weight.
Silicone is a lightweight product. Non-stick silicone sheet liners can be rolled up for simple storage, a definite benefit over other types of bakeware. The weight is a fraction of the weight of a cookie sheet or other cooking pan, also when you consider it to aluminum or other lightweight products.

2. Resilient.
Even though it is lightweight, silicone is considerably heavy duty. You can presume a Simplicity baking mat, one of the much better brands, to last for years … for countless uses at regular oven temperatures. The material is stain-resistant too. If you’re like most people, you usually want to replace items when they become discolored, even though they are still functional. A Silicone baking mat might discolor somewhat over the years but evident stains are unusual. This is mainly because nothing at all sticks to it, the next significant advantage.

3.Non-Stick.
We have definitely all seen pans that are supposed to be non-stick but when the cookies are done, they do not glide right off of the pan. Some sticking is virtually inevitable. This is not the scenario with a silicone baking mat. The product is truly non-stick. Non-stick silicone sheet liners for sizable cooking pans were generally created actually for professional chefs to use because they allowed them to cook batch after batch without spending time on clean-up.

4. Microwave oven Safe.
Few materials are oven and microwave safe. Silicone is one of minority. If you only used your Simplicity Baking mat in the microwave, it would quite likely last a life time. Microwave oven rays have absolutely no effect on the material.

5. Dishwashing machine Secure.
We all would prefer cookware that is dishwasher safe. The Simplicity baking mat can be positioned in the dishwasher on the top rack. Obviously, the mats are so simple to wash you might actually not feel the need to place them in the dishwasher whatsoever. Washing with comfortable soapy water then rinsing is all you absolutely need to do.

6. Economical.
If you cook a great deal, you most likely spend a great deal of money on throw away parchment paper, bakery release paper and waxed paper. And then you spend more money on grease, shortening, oil, flour and oil cooking sprayers and other non-stick sprays. You don’t need to buy any of those elements ever again. Once you possess a great silicone mat in your kitchen, you can easily bake without having buying any of the disposable papers and that renders it an environmentally friendly choice too. You won’t have to purchase grease or oil to prevent sticking and that makes things better for your health.

7.Non-Toxic.
An additional health advantage is that silicone is actually non-toxic. The exact same can not be said for non-stick coatings like Teflon. Ultimately those coatings will wear off and the toxins get inside your foods. Heating Teflon discharges harmful fumes that could make you sick. The makers certainly never told us those things. It took years for health and wellness groups to obtain the word out and many people are still uninformed.

Hardly ever do you discover a product with many advantages. These 7 are sufficient to convince most folks, but as you use your silicone mat, you will most likely find more advantages, especially if you choose Simplicity Baking Mat.

Gluten-Free Dessert Ideas

Sticking to a gluten-free diet is a challenge under the best of circumstances but when it comes to creating desserts things get even more difficult. So many delicious desserts like pies, cookies, cakes and pastries are made with flour containing gluten.

Creating delicious gluten-free desserts becomes easier when you keep the right ingredients on hand. Some common items to keep in your pantry include:

Almond meal flour
Arrowroot powder
Baking powder
Bittersweet chocolate
Canola oil
Cashew butter
Cocoa powder
Coconut flakes
Coconut milk
Cornstarch
Dried fruit
Espresso powder
Evaporated milk
Gluten-free flour mixes
Gluten-free spices
Granulated, powered and brown sugar
Lemon extract
Maple syrup
Nuts
Peanut butter
Rice
Seeds
Shortening
Sorghum flour
Tapico starch/flour
Vanilla extract

Be sure to check the ingredients on these products before you purchase them. You will want to avoid wheat, barley, brown rice syrup, caramel coloring, rye, brewer’s yeast, wheat starch, hydrolyzed wheat protein, malt, malt extract, malt syrup, dextrins and malt flavoring.

Remember that baking gluten-free is different than regular baking. If you don’t use a baking mix you will need to combine gluten-free flours to get the right results. You can use psyllium husks, ground chia seeds or flaxseed rather than xanthan gum if it gives you stomach distress. Baking at a lower temperature is recommended for some recipes to keep your dessert from getting too brown. If you screw up a recipe consider turning it into crumbs for toppings or to be added to other recipes.

Many gluten-free flours don’t contain preservatives so you may find that desserts made with them dry out quickly or become rancid. Store these items in a zip-top bag (with air removed), freezer wrap or in an air tight container in the refrigerator or freezer separated from other food. Mark all containers used for gluten-free food to keep them separate from other containers. Bring the stored food to room temperature before consuming.

Our favorite gluten-free dessert recipe courtesy of http://bakedbree.com.

Gluten Free Blueberry Crisp

Ingredients:

4 cups blueberries (any fruit will work)

Crisp:

1 cup gluten free old-fashioned, gluten free oats (we used Bob’s Red Mill GF oats)
1/2 cup chopped raw pecans
1/2 cup almond meal
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Wash and pick over the blueberries. Add to an 8×8 pan. Add oats, pecans, almond meal, olive oil, maple syrup, and salt to a small bowl. Mix to combine.
2. Spread the mixture over the blueberries.
3. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes, longer if the berries are frozen.

The correct information you need to know about food additives

Have you seen the words like “do not contain food additives” marked in the food packaging? Or the use of advertising, media and other means to say its products do not contain food additives? This is a selling point of some individual enterprises. But, this will only mislead the public awareness of food additives, even deepening public misunderstanding of food additives. How much do you know about food additives? Do you really think the food contains food additives equivalent to the problem food? Actually, food additives are an integral part of modern food processing industry. Do not use any food additive is difficult for the food-making process now. Except for a few kinds of foods do not use food additives and the big percentage of food in the supermarket use food additives. For example, rice has preservatives; flour adds anti-knot agent and preservatives; oil needs bleaching agent and anti-oxidant; salt has anti-knot agent; soy or sauce contains preservatives; bread has expanded pine agent; anti-season fruits use preservative and preservatives. In fact, the use of additives is completely safe if it is used in a scientifically and rigorous way.

In recent years, Chinese pay more and more attention to the demand of healthy eating. They care about whether what they eat is safety and healthy. Especially when they mention the food additives, they may exclusion, even panic. When asked how to treat this issue, the Nobel Prize winner Robert said: “some food additives I confirm that is beneficial to the human body, and it is an integral part of the modern food industry. Most of the time, the fear of additives come from people do not has an understanding about it. It is not easy to figure out what is useful and what is harmful when it without test. So do not blindly to exclusion food additives, instead it should be treated by scientific and rigorous way. ” The food additives in China has clear provisions in certain standards about the scope, the use CAP and how callouts. This can guarantee the use of additives will not bring harm to consumers. The safety of food additives are established on the basis of reasonable usage, the maximum amount use of food additives are not allowed, or it may cause harm to the human body. The food additives should have accurate measurement according to the total amount. Due to the lack of precise measurement equipment in some enterprises, then it result in excessive use of food additives. But things like Sudan, melamine, plasticizers, industrial gelatin, etc are not official food additives.

When it refers to food additives such as colors and flavors, people may think these are harmful substances. In fact, food additives themselves are harmless, such as red pigment and lutein. These are colorants in food additives, it adjusts the color of food. But the ingredient is carotenoids. It is good to your body instead of harm to eat. But the harm to human body is the improper apply of food additives. Many illegal manufacturers use too many food additives or abuse of food additives, this will do harm to consumers with different physical. In order to reach products shelf period, producers often add excess of preservatives and anti-oxidant in the products to prevent corruption or metamorphic; in order to keep food stability, they add excess thickeners to keep food texture stable within shelf period; in order to make food has better of color, they use excess pigment and bleach; or in order to make the food has good fragrance and taste, the producers use excess flavor, sweetener and sour agent. Some enterprises uses industrial-grade additives to reduce the cost, also to hide food quality issues. Due to abuse of these illegal additives, then problems exposed. What’s more, the lack of knowledge about food additives and errors in understanding. It leads to people confuse the concepts of illegal additives and food additives. It causes the misconceptions of food additives endanger food security. So, it needs strict specifications.

With the development of food industry, varieties of food additives will be increased and the usage will become more popular. This is an inevitable trend. People can not live without food additives. More importantly, the use of food additives is a guarantee of food security. So far, domestic food safety incidents are all not caused by food additives. Melamine and Sudan belong to fake and illegal use. They are not the food additives. Food additives are everywhere in the modern civilized society. The right choice is to accept food additives, strive to make food additives scientifically and legally use the food additives.

5 Advantages of a Home Made Ice Cream Maker

Ice cream is one of the worlds’ favorite comfort foods. It just seems to make everything better, don’t you agree? You can mix it with fruits, custard, wafers, chocolates, nuts, brownies, cheeses and other stuff that people like, to give it different wonderful flavors. There are even eccentric flavors such as squid, wasabi, chicken, and bacon! Ice cream has been enjoyed by the elite from as early as second century B.C., and as its goodness became known, more and more people hungered after it which gave birth to its massive production in the 1800s.

Surprisingly, not a lot of people know that you don’t have to look for a gelateria or sherbet shop every time you want some dessert. Through developments in technology, you can now make your own frozen dessert according to your tastes. Ice cream makers are available in the market and can be purchased in almost any appliance shops or online store. Some think that these machines are expensive but the truth is they have many advantages that can outweigh their prices.

One of the main advantages of having a homemade ice cream maker is the ability to create healthy desserts anytime. Unexpected guests may always visit one’s home and it can be a real treat to serve them delicious homemade desserts such as sorbets, sherbert and yogurt. You can always lug one of these over to a friend’s house to have an impromptu party, as most of them can be easily cleaned and stored after without hassle.

Another good thing about these machines is that they can be used to make different ice cream flavors effortlessly. Right after you create one mix, you can go ahead and pour it into a freezer bowl and make another one. Even a cheaper model can make tons of flavors since most of these machines can create desserts in as little as 20 minutes.

Aside from portability and ease of use, the homemade stuff is healthier than most frozen desserts bought in the store. You may not be so sure whether the ice cream that you are about to buy from the grocery has been defrosted and frozen back several times which can lose its flavor and health benefits. Having a homemade ice cream maker gives you the option to create your own flavor and to put ingredients which you think are beneficial to you.

If you are looking for a quality machine for a fraction of the price, you may also look into buying a durable ice cream maker online. A durable one can last a long time and it can be very good investment if you are planning to use it very often. Some of the trusted brands in the market are Cuisinart, Hamilton Beach, Lello and KitchenAid. They can be easily purchased online where you can also read feedback from users so you can assess if their features are apt for your needs.

Last but not the least, having a homemade ice cream maker saves you time than going out and looking for the flavor that you want. You do not need to be a professional to create new flavors. All you need to do is to look for a recipe and gather all the ingredients and you can make as much ice cream as you want.

Tea the Real Story

Everyone knows what tea is, right? Tea, technically, comes from the leaves of one plant, camellia sinensis. Anything other than the leaves from this plant is not actually tea, although tea is often used as a catchall word to include all the different herbal beverages used these days.

Legend has it that tea was discovered long ago in China quite by accident. Some leaves from a nearby plant blew into a cup of hot water; a nice brown colored beverage resulted, was found to have a refreshing taste, and tea was born. However it was discovered, tea is very refreshing, whether it is black, green, oolong or white. Tea has been proven in more recent times to have wonderful health benefits. We have all heard of antioxidants in tea, helping to fight free radicals that can cause harm to the body. Tea is far lower in caffeine than coffee. It is refreshing, whether used hot or cold.

There are various types of tea, all beginning with the same leaves. Black tea is created by bruising or crushing the green leaves to expose them to oxidation and allowing them to ferment, then rolling the leaves and drying. This produces a beautifully colored beverage and has the strongest flavor of all the varieties of tea. Oolong tea (pronounced OH-long) is oxidized and fermented the same as black tea, but only for about half the amount of time and the resulting product is a lighter, more reddish beverage with a flavor all its own, somewhere in strength between black tea and green tea. For green tea, the leaves are heated immediately, stopping the fermentation process entirely, then dried and rolled. It produces a lovely light colored beverage, and is said to have the most health benefits. The processing of white tea is similar to that of green tea, but only the unopened buds of the leaves are used. It has the same health properties as green tea, but the flavor is the lightest and most delicate.

Good quality tea is a wonderful beverage. Whole rolled or twisted leaves are the best quality; the smaller the leaf, the higher the quality of the tea. The top grades are called Flowery, Golden Flowery or Tippy. Seconds, termed Choppy, are the leaves that have broken into smaller pieces. They brew a great tea, and are usually less expensive. The smallest particles leftover from the tea process, called Fannings, are what is used in tea bags. It brews tea of course, but once tasting a tea brewed from a wonderful full leaf Darjeeling Black Tea, for example, it is hard to return to a tea bag for optimal flavor.

Orange Pekoe (rhymes with gecko) is a western terminology applied to a grade of black tea; the word orange in the name has nothing to do with flavor, but could be a reference to the Dutch House of Orange using the name Orange as an implied sea” of some sort. Pekoe may be a westernized interpretation for a Chinese word meaning white hairs, referring to the fine white down on the tea leaves.

So, what are herbal beverages called? Herbal beverages are called tisanes, and may be prepared by different methods, usually infusion or decoction. It is incorrect to apply the term tea to anything infused or decocted, although tea is actually infused. Infusion is the preparation method of choice for leaves, flowers or buds; plant matter that will release its properties easily into a drinkable beverage. Placed into heated or boiled water and allowed to steep, the herbs release their goodness into the water, and then are strained out. Decoction is the method used for harder or denser plant materials, such as roots or barks that take longer to release their flavors or health benefits. With a decoction, the plant materials are brought to a boil, simmered gently for 15 minutes or more allowing the liquid to reduce, and then straining.

No matter which you prefer, tea or tisane, for pure enjoyment or for health benefits, look for the best quality. Discover your favorites among the different types of loose teas. Taste the different herbal tisanes and discover new flavors. Above all, enjoy.

Thank you for taking the time to read my article. I hope it was informative and helped you along your own culinary journey. You will find many more recipes and helpful tips on my web site. I am on Facebook at A Harmony of Flavors and share a recipe or tip each day to the fans that have liked my site.