Thursday, October 20, 2011

Living Local - Green Tea Substitute (finally!)

Deus Ex Machina and I attended a workshop on "Natural Healing with Medicinal Teas." It was a great lot of information, and I was very impressed with the presenters.

I came away with some very exciting information, though - not because I now have the outline for "curing" just about whatever ails us using herbs (many of which I'm already growing, or have access to in my local area), but because I was given an ingredient that can be used as a substitute for the green tea I so love, but have been trying to wean myself from.

Polypores.

They grow prolifically - everywhere, and, unlike some mushrooms, are easy to identify. None of them are poisonous - although it would be tough to eat most of them (because they're so *tough* ;)).

So, we came home and made a blend of chaga, sage and lavendar. It's delicious, and while I'm using it today medicinally, because someone gave me a cold, it's a keeper and could be my every-day-substitute-for-green-tea.

The best part: it's 100% local - right down to the sweetner, which is honey ;).

Oh, and free, because I don't have to buy chaga. I can go and find it ;).

9 comments:

  1. I've made use of lemon balm for tea. It's supposed to have stress relief properties, and you don't have to squeeze any lemon juice into it. ;-)

    But it's good to know that tree fungi are edible (or at least drinkable). I've known about morels most of my life, but have never found any here although I know people who have.

    ReplyDelete
  2. FARf - we're just beginning to learn about the world of mushrooms. As Deus Ex Machina said - so much to learn!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Uhh, I don't imagine it contains caffeine, does it? (Says this seriously-caffeine-addicted blog reader, who loves coffee, accepts black tea, drinks green tea when necessary -- but can't imagine the point of non-caffeinated mushroom tea.)

    Respectfully,

    Steve

    ReplyDelete
  4. Just wondering why you'd want to stop drinking green tea, Fukushima?

    ReplyDelete
  5. @ John - I don't *want* to stop drinking green tea. I LOVE green tea ... BUT ... the tea bush (camellia sinesis) does not grow in Maine. I've tried. And in an attempt to live more locally, finding an alternative that I like that will also grow in Maine has been a long-term quest of mine.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Why don't you just grow your own green tea? It does fine here in the UK as an outdoor shrub, with a bit of protection it might do okay in Maine as well.

    ReplyDelete
  7. @ Tanya - as I mentioned to John, I actually have tried to grow the tea plant (camellia sinensis). I purchased two - each costing $30. One, I planted outside on the south-facing side of my house, right next to the house, in a tire and heavily mulched it with leaves in the hopes that the south-facing location next to the house, tire and the leaves would help to insulate it.

    The other, I planted in a pot and tried to overwinter in my house.

    The one outside just died. The one in the house lasted through winter, barely, but died almost as soon as I put it outside in the spring.

    I live in Maine and my hardiness zone is 5b. The coldest zone in the UK is 7, according to a map I found, and so even though it seems like we should have a similar climate, Maine is significantly colder than even the coldest parts of the UK :).

    In short, $30 is a lot of money to pay for a plant that simply can not grow in a climate as cold and harsh as mine, and so I've been looking for an alternative to my beloved tea ;). I've found a few, including white pine and polypores, and I'll be testing them more :).

    ReplyDelete
  8. hmmm... will have to do some cold hardy tea searching for you...

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi,

    You may already know about these but here goes. Too bad about your two bushes though.

    http://coldhardytropicals.com/cold-hardy-camellias/

    http://www.permies.com/permaculture-forums/8196_0/permaculture/zone-6-hardy-camelias-blackgreen-teas

    http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/camellia/msg0120550423904.html?14

    http://www.camforest.com/category_s/4.htm

    http://www.camforest.com/category_s/40.htm

    hope this helps,

    john

    ReplyDelete