Hopefully from these posts I have inspired you to make your own tea blends! One thing I have noticed is that good quality spices can really impact the taste of your tea. I started off buying all my spices for my tea but then decided to experiment with drying my own spices instead. I started off with dried ginger, I realized that buying the root fresh and drying it myself was cheaper than buying the already dried spice. Of course, if I cannot get it in stores or if the plant is not native to California then I can’t dry it. However, anything that I can grow on my patio and dry in the Sun or in the oven, is fair game. I also branched out to drying my own fruit. If you like your kitchen gadgets you can purchase yourself a nifty dehydrator but if you’re on a budget (like me) then the oven will do fine. So I spoke about drying ginger… well let me tell you how easy it is to dry!
- Buy ginger
- Peel ginger and cut into slices as thin as you can manage
- Lay out the ginger (not on top of each other) on a dish on top of parchment paper or kitchen towel
- Leave for 4 days to 1 week depending on how hot it is where you live
- Dried Ginger!
Now for fruit… I have recently dried apples so here goes:
- Preheat oven to 200F
- Cut apple into 1/8th inch slices. I don’t peel or de-core the apple as I like the cool star shape the core makes and the skin gives it color but it is completely your choice.
- Lay out the apples on a tray lined with parchment paper
- Cook for 1 hour, flipping the apples, cook for another hour
- If you want your apples very crispy, then cook for another hour
I also like to season my apples with cinnamon!
The last comment I’ll make on drying your own fruits is that I try to dry the fruits that are currently in season as they’ll be more ripe which will make for tastier dried fruit. I caught the apples at the end of the season but next I am going to be drying strawberries and maybe apricots. Here’s a list of what fruits and vegetables are in season in Spring: http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/whats-in-season-spring
Now, for those spices you can’t grow or buy in your country I suggest going to a specialty spice shop. Supermarkets will stock the more well known spices but if you’re into trying the more weird and wonderful then I recommend finding a spice shop or an ethnic food market. I go to the Savory Spice Store as they have all the spices you can imagine and it won’t break the bank either. Here’s a link to their website: http://www.savoryspiceshop.com/