Very popular in Asia and favored in Japan and China, green tea is making headway in the U.S. as well due mainly to its many health benefits including its content of antioxidants, antiseptics and detoxifiers. Green tea also has naturally about half the caffeine of black tea. Most of the world’s green tea comes from China and Japan. Green tea accounts for almost two-thirds of the Chinese crop which also produces black and oolong teas. Japan produces green tea almost exclusively, but because it is a nation of tea drinkers only about 2% of Japan’s crop is available for export.
Processing occurs immediately after picking and green tea is often referred to as “unfermented” tea. The freshly picked leaves are panfried in a large metal wok or steamed to break down the enzymes in the leaf that cause fermentation or oxidation. It also softens the leaves for rolling which is the next step. Then the leaves are dried, sorted and packed. This process generally takes twenty-four hours or less. The resulting teas vary widely in appearance and taste but generally have a light, slightly sweet herbaceous flavor. Green tea tastes best when prepared with water that is cooler-than-boiling and steeped for only three minutes and goes well with seafood or fish filets, salads or chicken. Chefs are even cooking with it, using it in sauces and rubs and throwing it onto their grills to lend a smoky tea flavor to meats.
Because green tea is one of the least processed teas, more of the tea leaf’s beneficial properties remain intact and rolled teas release nutrients more readily since the rolling breaks up the structure of the tissues. It has effects that are antimicrobial (fights bacteria), antimutagenic (prevents mutation of bacteria), and antioxidant (helps reduce harmful chemicals in the body). The long list of health benefits includes reducing the risk of certain cancer, lower lipid (cholesterol/fat) blood levels, prevention of tooth decay and treatment for stomach problems. Using green tea as a gargle may also help prevent the onset of flu since it has fairly powerful anti-viral properties.
GREEN TEA SOOTHER
A wonderful, all-purpose astringent and antibacterial solution. This recipe is for a concentrated strength, not drinkable!
1c green tea
1 quart spring water
Brew tea by heating water to 185 degrees and steep for 20 minutes. Cool & pour into sterilized bottles and refrigerate.
• Use as a refreshing bath splash.
• Use as a foot soak for about 15 minutes
• Use as a mouthwash.
• Use on cotton pad for minor cuts, rashes and abrasions.
• Use to soothe minor sunburn.
• Use on cotton pads to freshen tired eyes.
• Use to rinse face for an astringent, healing effect on the skin.
“Taste and see that the Lord is good;
blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.”