Tag Archives: Tea

Ingredient of the day: Burdock Root (Articum lappa)

12 Jul

In my last sauerkraut recipe, I added some ground burdock root.  I love burdock for its nutty taste and for its healing properties.  You may know burdock more as a common weed, and an annoying one at that.  If you have dogs or cats that venture outdoors, you have likely seen the fruits of the plant, aka burs, even if you haven’t been acquainted with the plant itself.

Rosalind: How full of briers is this working-day world!

Celia:  They are but burs, cousin, thrown upon thee in holiday foolery.  If we walk not in the trodden paths, our very petticoats will catch them.    —Shakespeare, As You Like It

Dog with burs. He’s wearing them like they’re in style! These are one of the worst things to get out off your mutt’s fur.  Image credit to the St. Thomas dog blog

Burdock’s root is most commonly used for both healing and culinary purposes, not the annoying fruits of the plant.  It is often available at several of my local health food stores, and I imagine it’s also easy to find in asian markets because burdock is a common ingredient in Japanese kinpira recipes.  Burdock is considered a bitter, aka it stimulates the digestive juices and whets the appetite.  It is most known  as a treatment for skin problems like eczema and psoriasis.

For a therapeutic dosage, Hoffman recommends that you should drink at least three cups of burdock tea per day, prepared by using 1 tsp of the root simmered for 10-15 minutes in a cup of hot water.  It is also possible to apply the root to the skin in external preparations, either in the form of the same tea or by expressing the sap of the root and mixing it with an oil base to desired consistency (Thanks once again to David Hoffman’s Holistic Herbal for the specific herbal info.  See my bibliography).

Arctium lappa

Burdock:  Arctium lappa (Photo credit: Matt Lavin)

 

Carrot and Burdock Kinpira

adapted from Aveline Kushi’s Complete Guide to Macrobiotic Cooking

Cut 2 carrots and one generous burdock root into matchsticks (slice them on a steep diagonal, and then cut the diagonals again lengthwise).

Sautee the  burdock in a little bit of sesame oil for about 3 minutes, then add the carrot and saute 3 minutes longer.

Add water to cover half the veggies, and a splash of soy sauce.  Cook, uncovered until the water cooked off, adding a generous portion of grated ginger to the mix towards the end of the cooking time.  If desired, garnish with toasted sesame seeds.

 

 

 

 

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Flavor of the Day: Rooibos, Rose, Raspberry Leaf Jun

28 Jun
That's not a rose hip ... _this_ is a rose hip.

Rose hip (Photo credit: Zak Greant)

Raspberries

Raspberries: the leaf often gets overlooked, but that’s what I’m interested in for this recipe.  (Photo credit: Kodamakitty)

 

I should call this my flavor of the month, because it’s what I’ve been drinking the most of lately.  Rooibos definitely stands out flavor-wise in this mellow herbal concoction.

This recipe uses the Jun 101 basic brew instructions as its primary fermentation process.  You are NOT brewing Jun with rooibos tea.  Jun is always brewed with green tea and honey.   Once you finish the primary ferment, you can add whatever flavors you want to.  Bottling the Jun and leaving it out at room temperature for a while will create a secondary ferment.  This helps the flavors of the herbs to sink in, and allows the brew to build up some bubbles.

RRR Jun:

Add to a pint sized bottle with a sealable top:

1/2 t rooibos

1/2 t raspberry leaf

1/2 t rose hips

Pour your plain, already fermented Jun (see Jun 101 for details) over the herbs, seal the bottle and let sit for a day or two.  Strain your bottle into a glass as you drink it at room temp or chill in the refrigerator.

 

Rooibos, Aspalathus linearis (N.L.Burm.) R.Dah...

Rooibos, or African red bush. photo credit: Wikipedia.

 

About the Herbs:

Rose Hips are collected in the autumn.  They are the fruits of the Dog Rose. Rose hips are one of natures best sources of Vitamin C, and much of their medicinal value is because of the content of this nutrient.  They aid the body’s immune defenses, help with constipation, and with probelms of the gall bladder, kidneys, and bladder.

Raspberry Leaves are well known in my profession as a doula, because they are a womb herb.  When consumed regularly during pregnancy, they act as a tonic for the uterus.  I have heard some doubts as to the value of its use in the first trimester from prenatal students who were advised by their healthcare providers: particularly in people who have a high risk for miscarriage.  However, in my reading I have not seen it indictated as a uterine contractor, only a uterine strengthener.  I have also read that it helps to counteract morning sickness.  Raspberry leaf is particularly good to drink throughout the third trimester, in preparation for labor and even during labor.  Raspberry leaf also has astringent qualities.  It is good for diarrhea and other ‘loose’ conditions, as well as mouth sores, bleeding gums, or sore throats.  (sources:  Susun Weed’s  Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year and David Hoffman’s Holistic Herbal)

Rooibos, or african red bush tea is a popular drink these days for people who like drinking tea but don’t want caffeine.  My herb books actually don’t include rooibos as a medicinal herb, but it is apparently high in anti-oxidants.   Wikipedia claims that it helps with allergies, nervous tension and digestion.

Jun 101

13 Jun

I originally posted the directions for Jun fermentation as an after thought under my Kombucha 101 recipe, because it’s such a similar process. However, I get a lot more emails about Jun than I do for Kombucha sharing, and everyone has questions about it. So here, by popular demand, is:

JUN 101

  1. Get a glass jar that holds ¾ gallons to 1 gallon of water. You might obtain a free one at your local health food store—their discarded olive or pickle jars will do the trick. You can purchase one for about $10 at a kitchen supply store.
  2. Brew the tea. Pour hot filtered water over 4-5 green tea bags or the equivalent of loose tea. Organic is better because anything added to the tea leaves to kill pests can also kill your culture. Add 1c honey and mix well. Only use honey. That’s what the jun culture is adapted to. Let the sweetened tea sit until the temperature is comfortable to the touch—usually I let it sit overnight. If it’s too hot, you’ll cook your mother: she is alive!
  3. Strain out the tea leaves.
  4. Put your SCOBY mother (Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast) on the top of the culture. She might float down to the middle of the jar. That’s okay. Add ¼ to ½ cups (I just throw in a good sized “glurp”) of starter jun liquid, from your last batch. You can add even more if you want. Using starter liquid from your last batch helps create a pH environment that is inhospitable to molds, so if you have had mold trouble with other ferments, you might want to use more starter.

    20130613-231712.jpg

    My latest Jun mother, aka SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast). This one formed in 8 days.

  5. Cover it securely with a towel. You want it to be able to breathe, but you also don’t want bugs to get in. I suggest securing it with a couple of rubber bands.
  6. Leave it in an out-of-way place, out of direct sunlight for 1-3 weeks. After 1 week, taste it. If it’s too sweet for your liking, then it’s not done. Put it back and let it keep going. If it’s too sour, you let it go too long. It’s still okay, just not as pleasant. Batches will ferment faster in warmer temperatures.
  7. When the batch is done, you will notice that a new SCOBY has formed at the top of your jun liquid. Now you have two mothers. You can save one as a back up, give it away, compost it, or look for other options: if you look online, you’ll find people who have developed recipes for SCOBY (eeeeww). I’ve also heard of people drying them and turning them into fabric.
  8. You can leave your finished jun in a big jar, or you can bottle it. Bottling the jun will help it to build up more bubbles, because you are not constantly opening and closing the same container and the pressure can build a little. If you are bottling, this is also a good time to flavor it. A few pieces of chopped ginger will make an extra fizzy one, or you can add other herbs. I like to use a few dollups of frozen juice concentrate (my favorite lately is pineapple). Edible aloe vera can make an interesting addition to your jun cocktail as well.
  9. Once you have bottled your Jun, you may leave it out for about a day, especially if you have flavored it, to create a secondary ferment which will let the flavors sink in and build up bubbles. Soon, you will want to put it in the fridge, to slow down the fermentation process, or you’ll end up with a super sour and potentially explosive brew (see Cherry Explosion).
  10. Make another batch! If you wait in between, you can store your SCOBY in a little bit of jun liquid, sealed in a jar in the refrigerator. She will lie dormant until you are ready to rock. You can also store her at room temperature in a little liquid, with a towel covering the container. This is what has been referred to by fellow fermenters as a “SCOBY hotel.” If you leave her at room temp, she will continue to grow, so you should check periodically to make sure that there is still liquid in your hotel.

Tips and FAQs:

1. It’s a pretty no-fail recipe, but sometimes things can happen. If you see mold growing on your mother THROW IT OUT! If flies invade, throw it out. But, if there are little brown strands hanging off the bottom of your mother, or if the mother has air bubbles in her, it’s okay.

2. Jun, like kombucha and tibicos, will corrode metal. If you handle your Jun brew or SCOBY intermittently with metal implements such as a fork, or a metal strainer, that’s okay. You do not want it in prolonged contact with metal, or you will both contaminate your SCOBY mother and ruin your metal.  You probably don’t want it in prolonged contact with plastic either.  I can just imagine what creepy chemicals that would leach out.

3. What does it taste like?  My Jun has a ‘lighter’ taste than kombucha, perhaps more astringent.  If you let it go too long, I think it gets even more vinegary than kombucha.  Sorry I can’t be more specific– I don’t have the language of a wine connoisseur.

4. What’s the difference between kombucha and Jun? Kombucha is a culture adapted to fermenting tea and sugar, whereas Jun takes green tea and honey. That’s the big difference.  I’m sure a bioscientist could tell you more specifics about the organisms in there.  I have found that my Jun tolerates cooler brewing temperatures better than kombucha in the winter, and it will grow a thicker SCOBY more rapidly.   Jun also tends to develop more sediment than Kombucha at the bottom of the bottle. This is the lees, in brewers terms.  Lees forms in wines also.  You can drink the sediment or filter it out.

The batch after I bottled most of it.  Notice the cloudiness at the bottom of the bottle, from the sediment.

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