Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Relaxing at Home

Tea Time 
by Antoine Emil Plassan, (France) 1817-1903

Relaxing at home sounds simple, but it is easy to get too busy to take time to sit and collect your thoughts. To ease tension and tiredness, think back to a time when you were the most relaxed and happy. Replicate the things that you were doing in those days that gave you sublime feeling of contentment. Tea time might have been one of them. There was a time when taking tea was supremely important to the home maker. Today it is not a common custom, and so we must make a special effort to remember to stop and take tea. Those few moments can be relaxing and restoring and extremely luxurious.

The blackberry patch yielded a few ripe berries for blackberry tea. I am going to show one way of making this wonderful, health-promoting drink.

The berries were in various stages of ripeness, so I just took the black ones, which were very sweet, and left the others for later. The way to tell if a berry is ripe and sweet is that it will easily come off the vine when you pick it. 

I picked about a cup of berries for the pot of tea I was going to make.

First, fill the stove-top kettle, or tea kettle or a saucepan full of coldest water from the tap and bring it to a boil. Pay no attention to the noise the kettle makes, because sometimes it sounds like it is boiling but it is not. When steam comes out of it, and lifting the lid reveals a rolling boil, it is ready to pour. While it is boiling, you can get the berries ready for tea. 

You will need a fork to mash the berries, a tea pot and a strainer. This one fits nicely inside the tea pot.

Mash the berries to the consistency of a puree, making sure every berry has been crushed.

Insert the strainer into the tea pot. If you don't have this kind of strainer, put a tea strainer type of spoon over the top of the pot. 

Pour the blackberry puree into the mesh strainer.

Add boiling water from the kettle, filling your teapot as full as you want it. This berry puree makes a strong tea.

Replace the teapot lid on top of the strainer and let the berries steep in the hot water a few minutes, or until the water has turned a beautiful red color.

Lift the strainer and allow any liquid to drain, and then remove the strainer and replace the teapot lid.

Pour yourself a fragrant cup of blackberry tea. If the blackberries are ripe and sweet, no additional sweetener is needed. You can also do the same thing with strawberries or raspberries.  

Experiment with the flavor by adding a drop of honey or a few grains of raw washed sugar cane. Raw sugar,  has a wonderful aroma and taste, like molasses, only better.  It is sometimes labeled "turbinado" on the package, or "muscovado" or "demerara". Each one is slightly different in texture, taste and aroma and can be found in the grocery store or at a whole foods market.   This blackberry tea stands on its own, however, with not much need of sweetening, however, once fruit of any kind has been heated, it becomes more acidic, and need of additional sweeteners.

While at their peak season, indulge in blackberries for a nutritious snack or dessert. One cup of fresh blackberries has 62 calories, 1 gram of fat, 15 carbohydrates, 8 grams of fiber, 2 grams of protein and only 1 mg of sodium. Here are the top 10 health benefits of eating blackberries:

1. Blackberries are one of the top ten foods containing antioxidants.

2. Blackberries are packed with polyphenols helping to prevent cancer and heart disease.

3. Blackberries are filled with anthocyanins (antioxidants which give blackberries their deep purple color) which help in memory retention and the risk of hypertension.

4. Blackberries are said to strengthen blood vessels, help fight heart disease and help improve eyesight.

5. The high tannin content of blackberries help tighten tissue, relieve intestinal inflammation, and help reduce hemorrhoids and stomach disorders.

6. Ohio State University found that blackberries may protect against esophageal cancer, a cancer caused by gastric reflux disease.

7. Blackberries have shown to protect against other types of cancers. They contain phytoestrogens (plant estrogens), a compound believed to play a vital role in preventing breast and cervical cancer.

8. Blackberries are high in Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Manganese and fiber.

9. The high fiber content of blackberries help reduce risk of intestinal disease and the risk of developing diabetes.

10. Blackberries are a healthy food choice that kids and adults love. They are a great way to refuel after a hard workout and help aid in fighting obesity.

If you do not have your own blackberries growing, it is worth the price to buy a bush or two and plant them in a pot or in your yard somewhere. If they will not grow in your area, it is worth the price to buy them in frozen packages from your grocery store.


amulbunny's random thoughts said...

When I was a kid we had a cottage at a lake in Northern Wisconsin. All along the dirt road from the highway to the cottages, were blackberry bushes. Ate more than made it back to the kitchen. We had a blackberry bush at home as well.

There are blackberries grown on the coastal plain near Camarillo CA. The plants are staked and then they are grown under fabric covers so the seagulls and other birds don't get them. They are only about 2 miles from the ocean.

I get them when they are on sale at the market, don't like the frozen ones. They make wonderful smoothies.

Lydia said...

I agree: the fresh are the best.They are very healing also.

Donna said...

Thanks for this post. Very informative and the tea looks delicious.

Finding Joy said...

The colour of the tea was lovely, would make a pretty dye. I like to have a break in the afternoon with a mug of tea in the sunshine.

Gayle said...

What a beautiful color the tea is,how sweet of you to show how to make it.Another good one for my little granddaughter's notebook.I have gotten so many wonderful things for her to have in her notebook from your blog.You're such a great mentor.

Gayle said...

What a beautiful color the tea is,how sweet of you to show how to make it.Another good one for my little granddaughter's notebook.I have gotten so many wonderful things for her to have in her notebook from your blog.You're such a great mentor.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed reading your blog about having tea at home and relaxing.

Since it is blackberry season, our berries are beginning to ripen even up in the mountains.
I'm looking forward to freezing some for pies for family and friends that come for Christmas.
Will try your blackberry tea soon. Thanks for sharing.
Mrs. J.

Anonymous said...

I'll have to try it. No blackberries grow here, so I'll have to buy frozen.

Anonymous said...

Lydia, such a pretty post! It really makes me want to 'take tea' on a daily basis now...I have to stay away from caffeine, but there's always blackberry tea, thanks to your fun tutorial!

Barbara Neubeck said...

Hi Lydia,
Your blackberry tea looks delicious. I grew up with blackberry bushes in our yard. We all loved blackberry season because my Mum made lots of pies and tarts and trifles with the berries. We liked to eat then straight off the vine..( can be a bit messy though).
Have a good week
Barb from Australia

Denise said...

Great idea for blackberry tea. We have a blackberry bush, but the birds usually get them before I do.

Jackie Juliette said...

What a wonderful post! I often do the same with fresh berries grown on my rooftop garden/patio here in the middle of Midtown Manhattan! I also like to combine it with some green tea and fresh lemon juice. It can be pretty tart that way, but that's how I like it.

Trish said...

You are so blessed to have lovely fresh fruit to make your tea with!
Blackberries are delicious little power-houses of goodness.
I very often choose herbal or fruit teas over the black for my morning and afternoon breaks.
I was given some raspberry canes a few days ago and hope to be making tea from my own berries too :-)
Lovely post, Lydia..thanks for sharing it with us.

magnoliasntea said...

Oh my, this post is so wonderful! We have blackberries, and I love making jam and cobblers with them, but I've never made blackberry tea. Thank you for the how-to.
Have a great weekend!

Anonymous said...

Hi Lydia,
here's a fun hot weather treat for you. Try infusing the blackberries with Yorkshire Gold tea or with a good quality green tea. Hot tea is good this way.
You get the great taste of good tea plus the great infusion of the berries.

Then chill the tea and add ice cubes made of the iced tea for a Delicious and healthy treat that is not diluted.

Mrs. J.

Sarah R said...

I know everyone else was very excited about the tea, but the post meant something else to me. I am unfortunately full time employed, but I had last week off for vacation, and did nothing but tidy, organize, and relax. It was most wonderful. On Wednesday, it was the start of my cycle, and instead of having my usual advil cocktail in order to work through the cramping, I was able to snooze on the couch with my warm blanket and just relax. It was wonderful. What did I do last week? Let's see, I cleaned the oven, made delicious dinners. I washed the walls, swept and mopped the floors. Cleaned both bathrooms thoroughly. Sat at my table with a cup of coffee and watched the rain come down. I washed all the linens, attempted to paint my front door but couldn't because of all the rain, and slept like a log. I need to retire! I want to live like that every day!

Lydia said...

Sarah R. Congratulations on participating in the essence of victorious life at home.

For other readers, it has been awhile since I have posted but I have a few interesting things coming up. It just takes awhile, and if you are like me at home, you understand that laundry, dishes, food prep., visitors, personal care, care of elderly and also church things, take up an enormous amount of time. I miss being a teenager when I had only a few chores and then could sew the rest of the day!!

Blessed Homemaking said...

Oh, I've never tried making blackberry tea like this. Thanks for the idea! Right now I'm drinking lots of red raspberry brew tea from the loose leaves I purchased. This tea is to help with womanly health and prepare a lady for childbirth.

Lydia said...

The midwife recommended raspberry leaf tea for ease in birth, but I think the fruit of the raspberry would be a lovely soothing tea as well.