Spices: Drying your own and where to shop for them.

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!

  1. Buy ginger
  2. Peel ginger and cut into slices as thin as you can manage
  3. Lay out the ginger (not on top of each other) on a dish on top of parchment paper or kitchen towel
  4. Leave for 4 days to 1 week depending on how hot it is where you live
  5. Dried Ginger!

Now for fruit… I have recently dried apples so here goes:

  1. Preheat oven to 200F
  2. 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.
  3. Lay out the apples on a tray lined with parchment paper
  4. Cook for 1 hour, flipping the apples, cook for another hour
  5. If you want your apples very crispy, then cook for another hour

I also like to season my apples with cinnamon!

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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/

Drink On!

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