Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Herbal tea an exotic product, but homey concept

Many years ago, when I first heard about herbal tea, it sounded exotic. On some gourmet store shelves in the United States, I found orange pekoe, raspberry, lemon-ginger, and other teas.

Actually, when I think about it, I have been drinking herbal tea since I was a child growing up in India. I remember drinking ginger tea, for instance, as a boy. My mother gave me ginger tea when I had a sore throat. The way my mother made was simple. All you do is grate or grind (on the stone grinder) an inch of fresh ginger root and squeeze it into hot tea liquor. You may add creamer or milk, but just black is better, I guess, for remedial purposes.

Similarly, making lemon/lime tea is simple. In hot tea liquor, just squeeze a few drops of the citrus. For an Indian touch, you may add a pinch of black salt. I make cardamom tea from whole pods dropped in boiling water. How refreshing and aromatic the tea becomes!

These days, even in Indian grocery stores, you find several kinds of herbal teas, including masala chai. I bought the other day a “variety pack” comprising masala, lemongrass-ginger, ginger and cardamom. To alleviate my sore throat, I tasted the ginger tea. It had flavor, but not nearly so strong and fresh as the home-made version.

Dear reader, do you make herbal tea or buy it?