Teas and Food Pairings for a Healthy Lifestyle

We are gifted with nature that provides us with foods and things for our health and well-being. And since time immemorial, human and nature journeyed together where we discovered little by little how we can use nature so we can be healthy and happy.
teas

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Tea is one of the gifts that we enjoy. Man discover how to use it for our wellness and even learned to develop such as infusing herbs and other edible plant-based foods into them. Man made studies and researches and discovered the many health benefits of drinking tea. We also have learned that tea can improve and enhance different moods.

Tea is made from the leaves of Camellia sinensis that originally thrives in cold places such as Japan, China, and Darjeeling. It grows as tall as three to five meters.

Transforming their leaves into healthy tea undergoes five fundamental steps, although not all types of teas does not go through all these processes. Other types repeat some steps for several times. The process is: plucking, withering, rolling, oxidizing, and firing or drying.

Plucking, also known as harvesting, is a process of picking the right tea leaves, while withering is allowing tea leaves to wilt and soften. Rolling is shaping tea leaves and extracting its juice. Oxidizing tea leaves is a special step to start, repair, or prevent oxidation to generate different flavors and aroma from various types of tea. There are two basic reasons for drying tea leaves: for shelf-stability and to enhance taste.

Traditionally, our forefathers five basic types of tea that they used for health, therapeutic, and wellness purposes: Green tea, White tea, Black tea, Oolong tea, and Pu’erh tea.

Tea is more complex than we think and learning about them, their types, their unique aroma, and the foods that can pair with each tea.

Amazing Green Tea

teas

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Green tea leaves are collected, withered, and rolled. These leaves are not oxidized since during the process of rolling them, oxidation is impeded with the use of heat. Fresh green tea leaves are steamed or pan-fired, a process where tea leaves are tossed in hot dry wok, to required heat to prevent enzymes from browning the leaves. Green tea leaves are formed by curling with fingers and pressing them into the sides of the wok. Then, tea leaves are rolled and stirred, and as final “firing” to completely dry them. The extracted juice from green tea leaves are green or yellow with flavors that play from grassy (from pan-fired teas)  to freshly steamed tea leaves.

Smoky teas like green tea are potent and can be paired with pan-fried chicken or turkey because it reduce the greasy mouth-feel of the fried meat. They help stress the flavor of potatoes, light stir-fry foods, and some pizza with root vegetables. However, green teas do not taste good with sweet foods.

The nutty green tea taste is pronounced when they are served with unsweetened pastries, sandwiches, fruit salads, and chicken. It has a mild sweetness which is a good match with baked meat-based foods and whole breads. Take note that they are not good pair with greasy meat or deep fried foods.

Majestic Black Tea

teas

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Black Tea goes through complete oxidation. The juice from black tea leaves comes from dark brown to deep red with strong and sometimes astringent tastes. This type of tea brings out the best with full-flavored foods such as spicy ones.

Smoky black teas from China are strong and good match with strong-flavored foods such as sweet chocolate, dark meat, and blackened meat. Fruity black teas from Sri Lanka are best with sweet desserts, while earthy black teas from Africa and Yunnan are good match with mashed potatoes, chicken, blackened meats, and vegetable gravy recipes. Take note that earthy black teas do not work with sweet and creamy desserts.

Natural White Tea

teas

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White tea is unprocessed tea. They are picked when they are unopened or newly-opened buds. After gathering these fresh newly-opened or unopened tea leaves, they are withered to dry. If there is not enough sunlight, they may be placed in a tumble dryer on very low heat. Leaves are neither rolled or formed. They give  very pale green or yellow juice and has the most delicate aroma and tastes.

Since white tea has subtle and silky taste, pair it with lightly-flavored foods like plain vegetable salads without dressings, or lightly-flavored seafood or fish recipes. To savor the subtle tones of white tea, add some wildflower honey or fireweed honey.

Friendly Oolong Tea

teas

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Oolong tea is considered one of the most time-consuming teas to produce. It goes through all the basic steps with rolling and oxidizing done repetitively. It is defined as midway around green and black. These tea leaves are rolled, allowed to rest, and then oxidized. Then this process is repeated again and again. Usually, low and gentle heat is used to slow the enzymes. After the process is completed, it produces rich taste and aroma. Oolong teas are recommended for those who are starting to drink teas.

Oolong teas can be paired with wide selection of foods – from lighter grilled meats to lighter fish recipes. Oolong are placed into two types: light oolong teas and dark oolong teas. Light oolong teas work best with lobsters and scallops, and sweet rich seafoods. The floral and fragrant aroma of this oolong should be paired with sweet and salty foods. Dark oolong teas has striking taste and therefore work best with strong foods such as grilled meats. To bring out the best in dark oolong teas, combine them with smoked meats, duck met, trout, salmon,and meat-based appetizers. For sweets, combine this tea with pancakes with maple syrup and pastries.

Unique Pu’erh Tea

teas

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Pu’erh Tea (pronounced as pu-ERR). This type of tea goes through the process similar to Green tea. The difference is that before the tea leaves are dried,it is either aged as loose-leaf or leaves are pressed into compact cakes and decorative forms. The tea is fermented and depending on the king of pu’erh teas being produced, the aging method lasts from several months to many years. Well-stored and old pu-erh teas are considered living teas. They are expensive because of their earth aroma and rich smooth flavor.

Because Pu-erh teas come with powerful, distinct, and earthy tastes, they are best paired with stir-fry recipes or chicken to balance the oily and greasy flavors.

Happy life means enjoying nature’s gifts including an afternoon cup of tea with someone!

You may want to know the different types of vegetarians to complete your healthy regime.

 

 

 

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