Wednesday, May 7, 2014

It's Honey and Tea Time


 For centuries, people all around the world have enjoyed the simple, soothing pleasures of a good cup of tea with a good teaspoon of honey, and nowadays there is more reason to so do. Black and green teas are not only good tasting, especially with honey, but together they pack a punch of nutritional and health benefits.
            Herbal teas come from a variety of plants other than the tea plant. They are made from leaves, berries, flowers, fruits and bark of herbs and spices. Although most herbal teas do not contain the antioxidant properties of “real” tea—black, green, oolong , white and red—paired with antioxidant-rich honey they do possess a wallop of good-for-your compounds that can enhance your health and well-being.
            Another new feature on the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid is the addition of herbs, like spices, for reasons of both health and taste. Also, herbs contribute to the Mediterranean dishes.
            Medical doctors, nutritionists, scientists and beekeepers are now confirming what healers have been saying for since biblical times—teas and honeys have a variety of healing powers.
            Here are my favorite tea and honey marriages—but there are infinite combinations for both you and me to try. There is no right or wrong combination and what’s sweet to you makes honey-tea beverages a sweet sip.

1. Black Tea:  The first tea I was introduced to was basic black tea—which does contain caffeine—and I have enjoyed it plain but realized it did need a sweet flavor boost to it.  Also, Earl Grey and English breakfast teas (perfect for an Irish breakfast, complete with fried potatoes, scrambled eggs, and scones) are part of the Black Tea group.
Best Honey Matches:  Basswood has a distinct flavor that I’ve used in plain yogurt for a rich flavor and it can give black tea a kick, too. Sourwood boasts a caramel taste that can make a common black tea come to life with taste. Earl Grey teams well with avocado, blueberry, and eucalyptus honeys, too. It’s more exotic and exciting than just a simple all-purpose clover honey that comes without pleasant surprises.
2. Green Tea:  Touted for its wide array of health virtues, this Asian tea does contain caffeine, like black tea, but not as much. It’s an acquired taste and that’s where honey comes into play so you can get the best of taste and nutritional benefits. 
Best Honey Matches:  Blueberry honey has a fruity taste which can give a nice kick to green tea, not the most flavorful tea.  Sage honey is mild, a California favorite of mine that brings out the best of green tea. 
Excerpt from The Healing Powers of Honey (Kensington)
The Healing Powers of Tea was featured by Good Cook and One Spirit book clubs, in Wellbella magazine, and is offered at Walmart.

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