In addition to being the second most consumed beverage on the planet, tea has numerous other uses which include cooking, health & beauty, home and garden. Even as a beverage its uses go beyond a simple cup of tea in that after brewing, it can be made into ice cubes for cold drinks, it can be added to concentrates instead of water to make juices and can be made into alcohol free cocktails.
Cooking with tea is nothing new, but it is an exciting and healthy way of cooking. Tea may be used as an herb or spice for rubs, seasoning, sauces and dressings; as a marinade/tenderizer for meat; as a broth for braising, poaching, soaking & cooking; as an aromatic in a smoker; as a green with earthy, spinach-like taste; as soup stock and to perk up stews & chili; as a garnish for crunch and flavor and last but not least as desserts like sorbet since it takes sugar well or in cakes, cookies and puddings.
Tea is completely natural and has numerous health benefits when it is taken internally including providing a calorie free beverage that contributes to hydration, containing vitamins and minerals such as B vitamins, riboflavin, niacin, folic acid, panthothenic acid, magnesium, potassium, manganese, fluoride, carotene, vitamin C, iron, zinc, chlorophyll and calcium, caffeine as a stimulant of the central nervous system for high level of concentration, less reaction time, general alertness as well as improving memory and phytoestrogens which are known to increase bone density. Tea is also the only source for the amino acid L-Theanine. In addition to its use internally, tea may be used in the mouth to reduce the amount of oral plaque, dental cavities and gingivitis plus counter bad bread better than mint, parsley or chewing gum. It can also be used on skin for mild sunburn, hair as a rinse to highlight color, feet for soaking to refresh or eliminate odor, eyes to reduce swelling and redness and face to slough off dead skin and contribute to an overall pick-me-up.
In the home, tea leaves may be used to absorb odors especially from cooking but also in the fridge, with flower petals in a potpourri or steeped as a deodorizing spray. Leaves can also be scattered on pet beds to ward off fleas, on floors and carpets to attract dust before vacuuming or placed in areas to absorb moisture. Brewed tea can also be used to dye fabric, paper, or plastic to give an antiqued look, as a non-toxic wood stain or as a good cleaning agent for any kind of woodwork, black lacquer pieces as well as mirrors or chrome.
Tea is also useful in the garden especially for watering acid loving potted plants, but the leaves are highly biodegradable and may be added to compost or sprinkled around plants for extra fertilization. Mixed with seed and set in the refrigerator for five days, tea also accelerates germination.
“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others,
faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.”
I Peter 4:10