Making the Perfect Apple Scones — August 30, 2020

Making the Perfect Apple Scones

The perfect apple scones are fresh from the oven….a truly scrumptious breakfast treat…deliciously spiced with the perfect amounts of cinnamon and sugar…buttery and moist with crisp crumbly edges…consisting of soft flaky centers and crunchy golden brown exteriors.

These perfect apple scones are a great reminder that fall and cooler weather are right around the corner.

The perfect apples scones are also very easy to make…so let’s get started…

********

Apples

To make the scones you will need about one heaping cup of apples. If you use too many apples, the scones will not maintain their shape because they will contain too many apple chunks and juices.

As far as which variety of apple to use, either use your favorite apple variety or whatever you happen to have on hand.

If you’re buying apples specifically for making the scones, good apple varieties to try include Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, or Fuji.

Another thing to keep in ind when you are choosing which variety of apples to use is whether or not you will be glazing your scones. If you will be glazing your scones, you will want to use a tart apple, such as a Granny Smith. If not, you will want  to use a sweeter apple, such as a MacIntosh.

You will need to peel, core and shred the apple before aking the scone.

******************

Other Ingredients

  • 1/2C brown sugar
  • 3/4tsp salt
  • 1Tbsp baking powder
  • ½tsp baking soda
  • 2½tsp cinnamon
  • 2C flour
  • ¼C butter, chilled
  • ½C heavy cream or buttermilk

***************

Topping

3Tbsp sugar

1/2tsp cinnamon

water or milk, as needeed for prope4r consistency

*************

Prep Work

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat.

*********************

Making the Batter

Whisk together the dry ingredients—flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon—in a large bowl Now stir together the liquid ingredients…Shred your apple. Add the shredded apple, then the milk. Mix until they form a soft dough. Add more flour if the dough gets too sticky, Combine the two. Knead a few times, working some extra flour into it until it is barely sticky.

*********************

Shaping the SconesScrape the dough onto a floured parchment or pan.

Divide into two balls of dough….

Flatten until both circles are about 6″ in diameter and 3/4″ thick, using a knife or bench knife that you’ve run under cold water,

Place them on a well greased baking sheet.

Carefully separate the wedges away from the center until there is about 1/2″ space between their outer edges.Sprinkle with brown sugar and/or cinnamon.

 *******************

Making the Topping 

Stir the sugar and cinnamon.together. Brush each circle with a bit of water or milk. Sprinkle onto circles.

********************

Freezing the Scones

Now place the scones in the freezer for about thirty minutes. This serves several purposes, including…

  • allowing them to rise higher
  • giving the the best texture and highest rise
  • making the scones a bit flakier
  • making the scones more tender
  • relaxing the gluten in the flour

********************

Baking the Scones

  1. Bake for 15- 20 minutes until they are golden brown. Remove and cool….When the scones are cooled,, whisk together the glaze ingredients until they are smooth. Drizzle over the scones then let harden completely…
  2. Bake the scones for 18 to 22 minutes, or until they’re golden brown. When you pull one away from the others, it should look baked all the way through; the edge shouldn’t look wet or unbaked…Remove the scones from the oven, and cool briefly on the pan. Serve warm. When they’re completely cool, wrap in plastic and store at room temperature for up to several days…
  3. Bake the scones in a preheated 375°F oven for about 30 minutes…Scones are best served warm. They’re delicious as is, but add butter and/or jam (or apple butter), if you like. To reheat room-temperature scones, place on a baking sheet, tent lightly with foil, and warm in a preheated 350°F oven for about 10 minutes.

Making the Perfect Apple Salad — August 25, 2020

Making the Perfect Apple Salad

The perfect apple salad is a sweet and savory treat that is perfect not only for a healthy lunch,…but also for holiday dinners like Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter.

Typically when you think about apple salads, you think of a salad that is known as a Waldorf salad, a lightly sweetened salad consisting of apples, celery, nuts, grapes and walnuts….all brought together with a creamy mayonnaise and whipped cream dressing

The .Waldorf salad was supposedly created by Oscar Tschirky, maitre d’hotel of the famous New York hotel known as the Waldorf-Astoria.

The salad recipe first appeared in his cookbook, The Cook Book by Oscar of the Waldorf in 1896 and has become a favorite ever since.

nSo let’s get cooking…

**********

The Apples

Apples…2C apples…which is typically 2 medium apples.

A few good choices would be Granny Smith, Pink Ladies, Golden Delicious, and McIntosh.

Feel free to experiment with different apple varieties…depending on what’s in season or what you happen to have on hand. Just make sure that you use crisp apple…not one with a softer, more mealy flesh.

Also combining different varieties of apples will give your salad a ore  complex flavor.

********************

Other Dry Ingredients

Celery…1C, thinly sliced

Dried Cranberries

Nuts…1/2C chopped walnuts or pecans

Raisins…1/2C

Grapes…1/2 cup seedless red grapes

*********************

Dressing Ingredients

1/2C cup sour cream

1/3C mayonnaise

1/8tspcinnamon…

2tspoons honey

1/8tsp cinnamon

*********

Instructions

Making the salad is probably common sense…first prep your ingredients…then combine the dry ingredients…then make the dressing…then add the dressing to your dry ingredients—pretty simple, right..

Prep the veggies…You want to cut the apples, celery and whatever else needs chopping into 1/2″ cubes. Sprinkle the cubed apples with sugar, lemon juice, and salt. Toast nuts in over at 350 F for about five minutes to bring out their flavor.

Make the salad…Combine dry ingredients. Wait and add nuts, if using, until right before serving.

Make the dressing…Combine sour cream, cinnamon and honey in large bowl; mix well.

Finish the salad…Add dressing to prepped apples. Toss together until coated. Cover. Refrigerate at least 1 hour. 

Making the Perfect Apple Pie. — August 21, 2020

Making the Perfect Apple Pie.

The perfect apple pie has a perfectly sweet and juicy filling…and perfectly flaky, buttery pie crust…guaranteed to be a favorite for both the holidays and weekend desserts.

Apple pie is a classic dessert that’s especially perfect for fall….(or any other time of year, right?!)

So let’s get started…and let’s hope that this fall is much better than most of the year so far has been thanks to coronavirus and face masks)…

**********

The Apples

The apples that you should use for apple pie will be tart, sweet, and firm enough not to simply turn into mush while you bake the pie, but light enough that they are soft when they bake.

You  will need about seven peeled and sliced apples. Good apple choices would include…

  • Braeburn…sweet and crisp, bakes up firm and juicy
  • Cortland…juicy and tart, relatively soft, great all purpose apple for baking
  • Fuji…crisp, firm, juicy, balance of sweet and tart, holds its shape in baking
  • Golden Delicious – Softer, sweet, and yellow in color
  • Granny Smith…tart, green, flavorful, and perfect for apple pie
  • Honeycrisp…honey sweet and tart flavor, crisp and juicy, holds shape in baking
  • Idared – Red in color, not too harsh in flavor, on the tart side
  • Jonagold…cross between a Golden Delicious and a Jonathan with a lovely aroma and a sweet and sharp taste
  • Northern Spy – Red and green, honey notes, and on the sweet side

Combining several different varieties of apples will give your pie a more complex, deeper flavor.

Avoid using Red Delicious apples for pies, they don’t cook well. Actually I avoid Red Delicious apples altogether. They are the “beauty queen” of the apple bins…made to look gorgeous but not really that useful.

***********

the Filling

  • 1/2C sugar
  • 3Tbsp flour
  • 1tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4tsp nutmeg
  • 1tsp vanilla
  • 1Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2C butter
  • 1/4C water
  • 1/2C brown sugar
  • 2 ½ cups flour
  • 1tsp salt
  • 8Tbsp ice water
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1C butter

**********

The Apples

The apples that you should use for apple pie will be tart, sweet, and firm enough not to simply turn into mush while you bake the pie, but light enough that they are soft when they bake.

You  will need about seven peeled and sliced apples. Good apple choices would include…

  • Braeburn…sweet and crisp, bakes up firm and juicy
  • Cortland…juicy and tart, relatively soft, great all purpose apple for baking
  • Fuji…crisp, firm, juicy, balance of sweet and tart, holds its shape in baking
  • Golden Delicious – Softer, sweet, and yellow in color
  • Granny Smith…tart, green, flavorful, and perfect for apple pie
  • Honeycrisp…honey sweet and tart flavor, crisp and juicy, holds shape in baking
  • Idared – Red in color, not too harsh in flavor, on the tart side
  • Jonagold…cross between a Golden Delicious and a Jonathan with a lovely aroma and a sweet and sharp taste
  • Northern Spy – Red and green, honey notes, and on the sweet side

Combining several different varieties of apples will give your pie a more complex, deeper flavor.

Avoid using Red Delicious apples for pies, they don’t cook well. Actually I avoid Red Delicious apples altogether. They are the “beauty queen” of the apple bins…made to look gorgeous but not really that useful.

*******

The Filling

  • 1/2C sugar
  • 3Tbsp flour
  • 1tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4tsp nutmeg
  • 1tsp vanilla
  • 1Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2C butter
  • 1/4C water
  • 1/2C brown sugar
  • 2 ½ cups flour
  • 1tsp salt
  • 8Tbsp ice water
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1C butter

**********

Prep Work

Heat oven to 375°F. Place one oven rack in the lowest position. Put a large rimmed baking sheet on bottom rack to catch any drippings from the pie. Position second rack one rung above that.

*********************

Making the Pie Filling

Peel, core, and slice or roughly chop the apples into 1/4″-1/2″ pieces. You want to go ahead and peel the apples because apple peels will make your filling chewy.

As you slice your apples, add them to a large bowl and sprinkle them with a little lemon juice to keep them from turning brown.

Mix together the vanilla, flour, sugar, and spices in a separate bowl. Then add this to the apples and toss the mixture again. Adding flour to the fresh apples will make the juices thicker and spicier as the pie bakes.

You could also use two 21oz cans of store-bought apple pie filling if you don’t want to bother with making your own filling.

Now let the filling sit at room temp while you are making the pie crust so that the sugar will start bringing out the juices from the apples.

***************************

Making the Pie Crust

Whisk together the dry ingredients—flour, sugar and salt—in a medium-sized bowl.

Cut in the butter…Cut the butter into cubes. Then add the cubed butter into your dry ingredients. Now use a pastry cutter or your fingers to create a mixture that resembles yellow corn meal mixed with bean sized bits of butter.

You want to be sure to use very cold butter—either using butter straight from the refrigerator or sticking the butter into your freezer for a few minutes to make it even colder. This will ensure that you end up with the flakiest pie crust ever.

Also work quickly as you finish making the dough so that the butter stays cold. If the dough gets warm while you are finishing it, stick it in the fridge for ten minutes before proceeding.

Add ice-cold water…Gradually add only enough water as needed to allow the dough to start to come together without becoming too dry…not so much that your dough becomes too sticky.

Roll out the pie dough…Work the dough together with your hands. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface. Shape into a ball. Roll the dough into a 12″ circle that is about 1/8″ thick. If the dough starts sticking while you are working with it, gently lift up the dough and sprinkle a little more flour on your work surface to keep the dough from sticking.

Refrigerate…Layer dough circles between two sheets of parchment or wax paper. Refrigerate for at least ten minutes.

***************************

Making the Bottom Crust

Refrigerate the dough for at least one hour. Then take the disks of dough and let them sit out on the counter for about fifteen minutes.

line the bottom of a 9″ pie plate with one disc of the rolled out dough. Press firmly against side and bottom. Trim the crust around the edges lays about 1/2″ beyond the edge of the pan.

Or else, you could also skip all the trouble of making your own homemade pie crust and simply use Pillsbury™ refrigerated pie crust like I do…right?!

************

The Filling

Now you are ready to add the apple pie filling to the pie crust…and officially make an apple pie…name it and claim it…

First stir the filling again before adding it to the bottom crust.

Turn the apple pie filling into the pie crust, mound the filling in the center of the bottom crust.

Don’t worry if the apples are high in the pan, they’ll shrink as they cook.

********************

Making the Top Crust

You can either make the top crust by laying the entire pie crust disc over the pie filling or by weaving strips of crust to make a lattice-topped pie.

If you are laying the entire pie crust disc over the pie filling, place the disc gently over the filling…trim excess dough with kitchen shears, leaving about 3/4″ hanging over the edges of the pie plate…wrap this 3/4″ overhang over and under the edges of the bottom crust…crimp the edges with your fingers or a fork to seal…trim the edges…and finally cut slits into the crust in several places to allow steam to escape while the pie cooks.

Another options is to make a lattice pie crust…the woven crust typically seen on the top of an apple pie. To make a lattice pie crust, roll out the dough for the top of the pie into a 12″ circle….cut the circle into ½” strips, using a sharp knife, pizza cutter or pastry wheel…now arrange half of the dough strips going one direction across the pie, leaving a little bit of space in between each strip…weave the other half of the dough strips through the first set, over and under, pulling back the first set of strips as needed….trim off any excess dough from around the edges of the pie.

A third option would be to cut shapes out of the crust and then arrange the  shapes on top of the pie filling.

Brush with egg wash,..Stir together the egg yolk and cream in a small bowl.

Brush ovee the pie, using a pastry brush This will help the sugar stick and help the crust brown nicely.

Sprinkle with the sugar…Sprinkle some coarse turbinado sugar on top of the pie. This makes the pie look pretty and adds a delicious sweet crunch to the top crust.

Refrigerate…Refrigerate pie for thirty minutes before baking…while waiting for the oven to preheat.

***************

Baking the Pie

Place the assembled pie on top rack of oven.

Place a rimmed baking sheet on the second rack. This will catch any filling that might bubble over the edges of the pie.

Bake at 375°F for 20 minutes, until the top starts to lightly brown. Starting the apple pie at a higher temperature at first and then lowering the heat will keep the crust from getting soggy.

Turn the oven down to 350° F.

Bake another 40-50 minutes

Cover the pie loosely with foil. This will help prevent the crust from browning too much.

*******************

Serving the Pie

Allow pie to cool for at least two hours before serving. As the pie cools, the filling will thicken up, making it easier to servem making sure that you don’t end up with a liquidy pie.

Making the Perfect Apple Overnight Oats — August 19, 2020

Making the Perfect Apple Overnight Oats

I am so not a morning person. I barely wake up until I have had about two entire pots of coffee…so being able to simply have breakfast ready ahead of time is idea for both me and my kids.

The perfect overnight oats is a sweet combination of your favorite fruit…(in this case===raspberries), nuts…(totally optional, but in this case, we’re using almonds)…sweetener—such as honey…and perhaps some extras such as  chia seeds, and obviously oats.

This is a nutritious, delicious, and filling breakfast that is a great way to start to your day.

Now for the recipe…(which, like smoothie “recipes,” doesn’t even really seem like a recipe because it’s so easy and pretty much common sense.

And also like smoothies, there is an endless combination of flavors that you could have…based on which fruit you choose, which flavor yogurt you choose, and so forth…

 

 

************

Ingredients

  • Almonds…sliced, slivered, or chopped…1Tbsp
  • Chia Seeds, optional…2tsp
  • Honey, maple syrup,  or any other type of sweetener…which is totally a matter of personal preference)
  • Milk…1C milk…(once again, for hints on which kind of milk, check out this previous post…Visions of Veganism—Milk)
  • Oats…½C
  • Fruit…1/2C fresh or frozen…(such as, guess what, apples?!)
  • Yogurt…1/4C plain Greek yogurt

 

 

*************

Instructions

Stir together milk, oats, yogurt, honey, chia seeds and pinch of salt until combined.

Pour into a pint-sized jar or resealable container.

Mix thoroughly.

Seal the lids onto the jars..

Refrigerate anywhere from six hours days.

Making the Perfect Apple Muffins — August 17, 2020

Making the Perfect Apple Muffins

Preheat your oven to 350. Grease your muffin pan.
Stir together the dry ingredients.
Stir together the wet ingredients.
Make a well in the dry ingredients.
Add the wet ingrefients to the dry.
Stir all the ingrdients together.

Fill the muffin liners 3/4 of the way up.

Bake for 20 minutes.

Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Making the Perfect Apple Juice — August 15, 2020

Making the Perfect Apple Juice

Making the Perfect Apple Jam — August 13, 2020

Making the Perfect Apple Jam

Making the Perfect Apple Herbal Tea — August 11, 2020

Making the Perfect Apple Herbal Tea

Back Where I’m From, Sweet Tea Flows Like Water — August 10, 2020

Back Where I’m From, Sweet Tea Flows Like Water

In an earlier post, we had look at the best teas for helping you get to sleep, but this time let’s look at tea as far as helping you stay hydrated. Later as we move up the pyramid, we’ll then look at tea again as we clean out our spice cabinet and learn what’s really in all those red and white McCormick canisters that have probably been there for how long?

 

Tea obviously contains water…

After all, tea is made by infusing dried, crushed leaves or herbs in hot water

 

And tea contains herbs…

Herbal tea has been used in medicine in southern and eastern Asia for thousands of years, and drinking herbal tea has many health benefits—such as settling your stomach, burning fat, curing a cold, relieving muscle tension and twitching, calming the stomach, improving your mood, helping to manage stress, helping you lose weight, and helping you feel less stressed, sad, or anxious.

The people of the ancient Shang dynasty in China first introduced to our side of the globe by serving it to Portuguese missionaries during the 16th Century. The popularity of tea spread quickly throughout Europe and Asia.

 

But which tea?!

There is such a wide range of tea brands and varieties that choosing which tea to actually buy can seem mind-boggling….almost like choosing coffee or your favorite donut at Dunkin’ Donuts…

 

So which teas are best for when?!

Just like everything else, each of us probably has an opinion on which tea is their favorite, which brand to buy, how to make it, and so forth…

So in this post I have decided to simply list as many different types of tea as I could think of, and start exploring these different types of tea before we reach the herbs/spices rung of the Raw Foods Pyramid.

 

  1. Banana Tea—Dr. Oz RecipeNot only will banana tea help you fall asleep quicker and stay asleep longer, but bananas are rich in both potassium and magnesium, two minerals that can help your blood vessels and muscles relax.
  2. Basil Tea…Basil tea is made with fresh or dried herbs. Basil tea is perfect for helping with digestion.
  3. Black Tea…Black tea contains a lot of caffeine, which will obviously, or hopefully, help you stay awake and alert throughout the day….as well as other health benefits—such as repairing lung damage caused by cigarette smoke exposure and reducing the potential of stroke.
  4. Catnip TeaCatnip Tea?! Really?! Before now I only thought that catnip was just fun to give your cats, but the organic compound nepetalactone that is found in catnip is actually used in medicine to treat many things, including insomnia.
  5. Chai Tea...The traditional Indian spices in chai tea serve as a natural stimulant—helping to facilitate energy production within the body, boosting energy and mental clarity—all without that afternoon, post-caffeine crash.
  6.  Chamomile TeaChamomile Tea does the opposite of black tea…instead of  providing you with a huge dose of caffeine to keep you overstimulated and hyper all day, chamomile tea helps get rid of all that anxiety and stress. Chamomile tea has also been shown to provide many more health benefits—such as boosting blood circulation, getting rid of bloating and indigestion, and helping you get a good night’s sleep.
  7. Ginger Tea…Ginger tea provides just enough of a boost of natural energy boost to keep you feeling like you can tackle the world, improves circulation, and helps whenever you are feeling nauseous,
  8. Green Tea…Green tea can calm you down and make you feel relaxed. It contains L-theanine that boosts the brain waves, giving you a similar sensation that is experienced during meditation.Green Tea will help relieve a whole host of ailments including a slow metabolism and icommonly called the ‘wonder tea’….It’s packed with antioxidants, lowers cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure and even fights tooth decay.
  9. Honeybush Tea…This caffeine-free tea has a sweet, fragrant taste. Honeybush has a calming effect, reducing stress and easing the mind. It is also a powerful antioxidant, potentially reducing the risk of heart disease and cancer.
  10.  Indian masala chai…can keep your mind positive every day. It has properties that can lift up your mood and make you feel happier. This chai promotes positivity by stimulating your body to generate serotonin, a chemical that stabilizes the mood.
  11.  Lavender TeaLavender tea treats a variety of ailments, like agitation, anxiety and insomnia. Lavender is known for its mood stabilizing properties, reducing stressful feelings and acting as a muscle relaxant.Usually the first “natural” ingredient that I think of when thinking about ways to help relieve stress and calm down for the night is lavender, but I never knew that you could buy lavender tea…actually I’d never looked for it before…Lavender tea is your best option whenever you are sleepless. It promotes relaxation that places you in a sound and undisrupted sleep. Drinking lavender tea can also help improve blood circulation, and keep your nervous system in top condition. You can drink a cup every day before bedtime.
  12. Lemon or Orange Tea….to boost your mood. These two teas taste great and are effective in relaxing your body. Their scent will also calm you down.
  13.  Lemon Balm Tea…Lemon balm is an herb in the mint family. It has been used for thousands of years to induce a clam state. It promotes restful sleep, improving impulse control and reducing feelings of rage…Lemon Balm TeaLemon Balm Tea…Lemon Balm tea is good for anxiety, panic attacks and if you are feeling stressed. Adding a little honey to herbal teas is also beneficial and can make them a little more palatable too….Lemon balm is a herb commonly used to treat insomnia and to help with anxiety and stress. Lemon balm is often combined with other herbs, such as chamomile and valerian, to create a very powerful tea for insomniacs.
  14.  Lemon Verbena Tea…Lemon verbena is a plant native to South America. This herb, also known as lemon beebrush, is a powerful anti-inflammatory that helps regulate hormones. It’s mood-boosting properties help to reduce anxiety and depressive thoughts.
  15. Lemongrass tea…. This tea contains essential oils that help your body calm down. It is the best natural anti-depressant.
  16. Oat Straw Tea…Oat straw tea is made from the grassy stem part of the oat plant. Oat straw is considered a “nutrient dense” herb and is especially great for soothing the nervous system, helping to manage everyday stress, cleansing the liver and gallbladder, and supporting a healthy circulatory system.
  17. Oolong Tea…Oolong tea is high in antioxidants and is known to reduce bad cholesterol levels. For years, it has been considered the best tea for weight loss for both men and women. For the most optimal benefits, it is important to consume at least one glass, 2 to 3 times every day.
  18. Passion Flower TeaPassion flower tea is made from the leaves and vines of the passion plant, which is native to Mexico and Central America and was named “passion fruit” by  Spanish missionaries in Peru, who saw the flower’s design as being symbolic of the Passion of Christ. Passion flower tea contains many important nutrients—including vitamin A, vitamin C, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, potassium and antioxidants.
  19. Peppermint Tea…Peppermint tea can help calm your mind and body. It is the best tea for your emotional wellness. If you have been suffering from a heart-breaking experience, all you need is a sip from peppermint tea. You should feel better after emptying a cup….Peppermint tea is the tea of choice whenever you are looking for something to help calm stomach problems such as indigestion before you go to bedPeppermint tea is known to soothe an upset stomach. It helps reduce nausea, stomach cramps, heartburn and motion sickness. It is also a known antispasmodic, reducing the chance of vomiting…Peppermint Tea….If you are feeling bloated, you can’t go past good old
  20. Rooibos Tea…This sweet, nutty tea is popular in South African countries. It is naturally caffeine-free, yet boots memory, focus and concentration. Rooibos tea also relives nervous tension and improves mental clarity.
  21. St John’s Wort TeaSt John’s Wort is a popular natural anti-depressant that helps relieve anxiety and stress, two of the most common causes of insomnia. But before using St. John’s Wort, make sure that is safe for you to use, based on your current state of health and any other medications you are currently taking.
  22. Tart Cherry Tea…Tart cherry tea is for the anxious people. It is effective against anxiety or restlessness. Drinking a cup of tart cherry tea will slow down the blood flow, just like how the lavender tea works. You will begin to feel more relaxed afterwards.
  23. Valerian TeaThere has been much debate as to the effectiveness of valerian and valerian tea, in helping people deal with insomnia and anxiety, even though people have been using the root of the valerian plant for its sedative properties for centuries.
  24. White Tea…White tea is both unfermented and uncured. In addition, is known for its potent anti-cancer properties, and is also shown to be highly effective for weight loss.

 helping you feel refreshed and optimistic….

Making the Perfect Cup of Hot Tea — August 8, 2020

Making the Perfect Cup of Hot Tea

Okay, so I realize that not everybody has had the privilege of growing up in the Deep South where people don’t even bother to take drink orders, but simply pass around huge glasses filled with ice tea as soon as your butt hits the restaurant dining table chairs…

 

 

So how do you make that Mississippi nectar that is the pride of the hospitality state?

Sure lots and lots of sugar is important, but many other factors are important also—such as the technique/process you will be using, the quality of the water used, temperatures, and time.

But there are many factors that go into making the perfect cup of tea, including…

 

 

**********

The Method

What method you use when making your tea is a personal preference, but here are a few options…

 

French Press…The same French press that you use to make coffee can also be used to make tea. Using a French press allows you to brew several cups of tea at one time. A French press also allows you to steep and serve your tea in the same vessel. However, you could easily over-steeping your tea since the tea leaves simply sit at the bottom of the press after you make the tea, instead of being taken out.

 

Tea Ball Infuser...Tea ball infusers are basically teabags that you fill yourself with whatever loose tea you would like and then steep in your tea until you get the strength of tea that you would like. These hinged mesh spheres are obviously more “environmentally friendly.”

 

Tea Brewing Strainers…Tea brewing strainers are small mesh baskets that you fill with loose leaf  tea and then pour hot water on top of the leaves. As the hot water passes over the loose tea leaves, your tea is “brewed,” but this is probably not your best option because you can’t is not very popular and control how long your tea brews.

 

Teabags...Of course you already know what a teabag is, and this is the most common method of making tea. This method is the most convenient, even though not the most “environmentally friendly.”

 

TeapotTeaposts are always a great choice, but not all teapots will deliver the same results. Two factors to consider when choosing a teapot are whether or not the teapost has a built-in strainer to help infuse the tea or requires use of a separate straining device….and what  material your teapot is made from so that you can know that the brewing temperature is ideal or not for the type of tea which you will most likely be making.

 

 

*****************

The Temperature

Even though most of us would assume that in order to make tea, you must bring your water to a rolling boil, this is not always the case. In fact, different types of tea require different temperatures. Bringing your water to a rolling boil can actually keep your tea from reaching its fullest flavor potential.

As a general rule, white tea and green tea should be made with the lowest temperature, about 175 degrees. Oolong and black tea should be made with a medium temperature, about 200 degrees. And mate, rooibos, and other types of herbal tea should be made with the highest temperature, about 210 degrees.

Bringing your water to a full rolling boil and then letting the tea cool down to the ideal temperature also will negatively impact the flavor of your tea.

 

 

*********

The Time

Time can also affect the flavor of the tea. Different steeping times will create subtle flavor differences that you may or may not like. The best thing to do is to take the time to steep any new type of tea that you may be trying in thirty second intervals until you find the steeping time for that particular tea that you like best.

 

 

*********

The Water

Water is obviously a very important ingredient to a great glass of tea, almost as important as the sugar. Only use water that is fresh and cold.  Avoid using tap water that has been sitting in stagnant in your kettle for any length of time or that has already been boiled previously. Always use cold water instead of hot water. Hot tap water tends to carry more minerals—such as calcium and lime—and can mess up the flavor of your tea.