5 healthy spring flower and herbal leaf teas

Hello, spring is coming. Maybe not yet in Finland, spring in Finland usually starts in May. In Vietnam we calculate spring from January so now is spring time with me. Today I will share with you 5 healthy spring teas and some important notice about these teas. You can find these leaf and flowers in the forest or the dried tea bag in the supermarket but not blueberry flower. You can add these leaf tea in your healthy drink routines. You might know all the leaf already but I can list all the leaf in here if you miss something. Here we go!



Blueberry flower is a very exotic tea and I love a fresh and fruity smell of the flower. This tea is might be difficult to find in your home countries. Even in Finland, I have to go to the forest to find it. Don’t collect so much blueberry flowers and young leaves if you want blueberries in the autumn.


The first picture in this post is wild European bilberry flowers. And this is blueberry or highbush blueberry flowers.



Both of them are beautiful and look different.  About the taste highbush blueberry flower has a stronger taste than bilberry. But, I like bilberry fruit more than highbush blueberry.

Blueberry flowers tea has a fresh taste, vitamin C, and some catechins ingredients. In the Europe, we have the bilberry or the European blueberries. Bilberry leaves contain active constituents including tannins, polyphenolic acids, flavonoids, arbutin, catechins, iridoids, and quercetin.


It is very easy to make blueberry flower tea. Clean young leave and flowers with water. Let’s it dries little bit then boil it with boiling water. Wait for 5-8 minutes then you have a very fresh, rich anthocyanin, and healthy exotic spring tea. The tea has a light taste of blueberries, very light sour and a super fresh taste.


2. Artichoke tea



Don’t forget to make artichoke tea when you buy artichoke in this spring. What is artichoke tea? Artichoke tea is the artichoke water when you boil artichoke. Don’t  throw away artichoke water when you cook the artichoke. Believe me, this water tastes very nice and healthy too.


When I buy artichoke I will discard the thorny leaves. I don’t throw them away but keep it in a fridge for 2 or 3 days. You can also dry the artichoke for tea later. Remember to dry the artichoke leaves before you dry it. Separate the leaves clean it with water and dry leave with clean cloth or paper. Dry the artichoke for 2-3 days in the room temperature.  One time I had thrown all my dried artichoke tea because it got mold because I didn’t clean it before drying it.


You can boil the thorny leaves with 3 cups of water with 12-15 leaves. Boil it for 10-15 minutes. This tea has a sweet taste of it own but you can add some honey if you like a sweeter taste.


Separate the leaves, stalk, and roots, and wash them. Add about 100 grams of this in 1 liter of water and bring it to a boil. Once it starts boiling, put off the flame and let it stand for 10 minutes. Strain and store the light-green liquid in another container.



Springtime is a great time to collect dandelion for the tea. You should try this healthy, detox tea with a rich source of antioxidant properties. Many researches have proved the power of dandelion in anti inflammatory, obesity, and cancer.


Springtime is the best time to collect dandelion. Don’t forget to collect the dandelion root. Dandelion roots contain minerals, Phytosterols including sitosterol, stigmasterol, and taraxasterol. It’s quite difficult to collect the dandelion root if you don’t have a tool. You should prepare a knife or something that can dig 5-10 centimeter (2-4 inches) into the ground.


Don’t collect dandelion in the roadsides or in a fertilized garden. Many studies show that dandelion absorbs heavy metal or in the agricultural land. Do not pick dandelion grown in recreational parks. Dandelion grows off the side of roads and backyards where people used herbicide, are not good too. Dandelion can absorb lead in high pollution area. In Finland, they recommend collecting the wild leaf 50 meters (164 feet) away from the road.


If you can’t find the fresh dandelion leaf you can also buy the organic dandelion tea in the supermarket. This healthy tea is a great tea to add in your healthy drinks routines.


The dandelion doses for adults are 4-10 g of the drug or as an infusion, three times daily  2-5 ml of tincture (1:5, ethanol 25% V/V), and  5-10 ml of juice from the fresh leaf, twice daily.


There is no restriction on the duration of dandelion’s usage. In the EMA report recommends limiting the duration of use to 2 weeks as the clinical safety studies are lacking.




Nettle leaf is yummy, and healthy leaf even it’s very dangerous plant in the forest or the field. Springtime is the best time to collect nettle leaf tea too. You should collect the nettle leaf before it has the flower. You can boil nettle leaf as a green leaf and use it as a tonic herbal tea.The nettle tea is tasty, fresh and healthy. You can add some lemon juice and honey in your nettle leaf tea. The lemon will enhance absorption of minerals.


You can boil the nettle in the saucepan or brew the nettle leave with boiling water for 7-10 minutes.


I use 50 grams of fresh nettle for one person in cooking and brew 2-4 gram of dried nettle leaf and root for 1 cups of tea.
You should ask your doctors for advice before using nettle leaf extract or other extracted products.


In Finland, it is not difficult to find nettle leaf. If I couldn’t find it in the forest I can buy the fresh leave from the supermarket. They sell the young nettle leaf like a salad or herbal leaf.  You can check in your city supermarket if they have the fresh leaf. 100% sure the big supermarket has dried organic nettle tea.


This is the last leaf tea I review for you in the springtime. You can find raspberry leaf tea quite easy in your garden. Raspberry leaf contains a lot of vitamin C, E, A, B, manganese, magnesium, and many minerals like phosphorous and potassium. People use the raspberry leaf tea as a tonic water, flu and swine flu, heart problem, fever and vitamin deficiency and sore throat.


Cut 2 gram of raspberry fresh leaves it into small pieces and put them into the strainer. Boil water until fully boiling and pour the water into the cup. Put the lid on and wait for 8- 10 minutes then you can enjoy your tea with a light sweet taste and smell like raspberry. If you like sweet, you can put some sugar or honey as you like. I would prefer to drink this herb tea without sugar. If you need to enhance the berry smell, you can put some fresh raspberry in the tea.
I like raspberry leaf tea because it’s tasty, lots of healing benefits and can strengthen the immune system. But I recommend you find the advice from a doctor before using raspberry leaf tea or at least educate yourself before using it. If you are pregnant, remember to only use the red raspberry leaf tea under the direct supervision of a healthcare provider.  I don’t recommend you use this herbal tea if you are under some health conditions.
Raspberry leaf is not good for women who have endometriosis, uterine fibroids, or cancers of the breast, ovaries, or uterus because it can change the estrogen hormone.
Men who have prostate cancer should also avoid using it.
Raspberry leaf may affect infants and is not recommended for women who are breastfeeding.
Diabetics should be careful as it might lower the blood sugar levels.
The red raspberry leaves could change the way the body absorbs medications. The tannin in raspberry leaf could interfere with the absorption of non-prescription drugs and vitamins. So take the red raspberry at least two hours before or after taking non-prescription drugs by mouth.


According to the drug.com, the safety and typical doses of raspberry leaf tea are 1.5 to 2.4 g/day. It’s mean 1 to 2 cup of raspberry leaf tea per day. It is important to only take the raspberry leaf doses as you recommended. In high doses, the raspberry leaf can reduce your blood sugar, and cause muscles in the uterus to contract or relax. Therefore, a miscarriage could occur when pregnant time. Raspberry leaf tea can work as a hormone estrogen so in some cases, it might harm your health.


Here are my 5 lovely flowers and leaf tea you can use in the springtime. All the tea are good for your health but you need to check it more carefully before using leaf tea or any kind of herb. I strongly recommend you to seek advice from your doctor before using red raspberry leaf tea or any kind of herbal tea. Keep in your mind that herbal and leaf tea is to be used only as a food supplement and must not be used to treat, mitigate or cure any symptom, illness or disease. I recommend you to check more information about these spring tea in my old posts. Let’s me know about you and favorite tea in this spring. See you soon.

6 easy and yummy passion fruit drink recipes


Passion fruit is a healthy, refreshing, and delicious summer fruit; you can enjoy it at any time in the year. Passion fruit has a high amount of vitamin C and good for your body. This fruit contains many natural phytochemical, beta-carotene, and many other health-giving properties. Passion fruit also has antiseptic phytochemicals which have an anti-anxiety effect.  Today I will share with you 5 simple passion fruit drink recipes. Let’s see what we can do with this amazing fruit. We can mix passion fruit with many fruits or ingredients like:

  • Lemon/ Lime
  • Mango

  • Pineapple
  • Tea
  • Ginger
  • Oranges
  • Cream or coconut cream
  • Guava juice
  • Mint leaves
    1. Passion fruit juice

Cut 4 passion fruit each in half and scoop out the flesh into a blender or the jar. You can blend the passion fruits for 1 or 2 minutes or use a sieve to catch the pips.
Add water into passion fruit juice with a 1 juice: 3 water.
Add sugar and ice as you like.
After 5 minutes you can enjoy fresh and delight passion fruit juice. Easy? Sure, easy!
2. Passion Fruit Iced Tea

4-6 people
  • 4 tsp black tea /3 black tea bags or Early Grey tea bags
  • 2 cups boiling water (about 195°F)
  • 2 cups ice
  • 100 ml water
  • 4 passion fruits
  • 1/4 cup sugar or 3 oz. simple syrup to taste
Brew tea with 2 cups of boiling water for 5 minutes. Strain the tea leaves out or remove the tea bags. Cool, the tea down.
Cut the passion fruits in a half and scoop the pulp out of the passion fruits. Push through a sieve to remove the pips.
Mix 100 ml of the water into the passion fruit pulp then you can have a ⅔ cup of passion fruit juice.
Mixing the passion fruit juice with the black tea. Add sugar, simple syrup, or honey to sweeten the tea.
Fill a glass with ice and pour the tea into the glass until it is half full. Add some mint to garnish.
3. Passion fruit cup
  • 6 passion fruits
  • 5 ml of 1 tsp brown caster sugar
  • 300 ml or 10 fl oz sparkling grape juice
Scoop the pulp out of the passion fruits and push through a sieve to remove the pips.
Stir in the caster sugar and mix until dissolved
Add the grape juice.
Leave in the fridge to chill before serving.
4. Yummy Passion Fruit smoothie with Cream


2 passion fruits + 100 ml water or 2 oz. passion fruit juice
1 oz. Cream or Coconut cream
1 tsp lime juice
1 cup of crushed ice
Cut the passion fruits and use a sieve to remove the pips.
Put passion fruit juice, 100 ml water, lime juice and 1 cup crushed ice in the blender. Blend them for 1 minutes.
Pour the smoothies into a high glass
Wipe the cream and put it on the smoothies surface.
You can garnish the smoothies with fresh passion fruit and mint or some other fruits.


5. Vietnamese passion fruit smoothie with  condemning milk

In Vietnam, we make drinks with passion fruits, sugar or condemn milk. Here is the way we make passion fruit smoothie in Vietnam.
  • 4 passion fruits
  • 100 ml of water
  • 100 ml of milk
  • 2-3 tsp condemn milk
Cut the passion fruits and use a sieve to remove the pips.
Add water, milk and condemn milk into the blender.  Blend it for 2 minutes. Serve the smoothie with fresh mint to garnish
6. Passion fruit smoothie with pineapple


2 people
2-3 passion fruits
200 ml water or 1 cup of ice
200 gr of pineapple (¼ fresh pineapple)
Cut the passion fruits and use a sieve to remove the pips.
Put all the ingredients into the blender. Blend for 2 minutes.
In the original recipe, they have 2 tsp of lemon juice but I removed it. With me, this smoothie is a little bit sour already. If you want to make it sweeter you can add 1-2 tsp of honey or syrup.
Add fresh mint and little pineapple to make your smoothie looks nicer.

These recipes are very simple and fast to make. You can make different types of drinks with passion fruit. I hope you have the tasty and nice drink with passion fruit. Let’s me know what do you think and share with me your favorite passion fruit recipes.

6 Easy Homemade Syrup Recipes

A syrup is sweet, tasty, easy to make, and convenience to use for the tea, dessert or cakes. You can make many different types of syrup from all the ingredient you have at home. It might take from 5 minutes to 1h to make tasty syrup depend on your favorite ingredient. Remember the key recipe to make syrup is 1 sugar: 1 water : ½ herbs or 1 tsp spices. Today I will share with you how to make 6 simple homemade syrup from ready ingredients in your kitchen.
– Simple sugar syrup
– Vanilla syrup
–  Ginger syrup
– Citrus syrup with lemon, lime or orange zest
– Spice syrup with cinnamon or clove
– Herbal syrup with mint, basil, rosemary, or thyme
  1. Simple Sugar syrup

Let’s start with simple sugar syrup. All ingredients you need are sugar and water.
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 cup water
– Boil 1 cup of water in a small saucepan and bring the water to a boil.
– Remove the pan from the heat and add the sugar. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Cook until mixture thickens slightly about 3 minutes.
– When the syrup is finished you can remove the pan from the heat and let it cool down.
– When the syrup is cool completely. Pour into a clean glass jar and cap tightly. Store in the fridge and use as need. You can  store the simple sugar syrup up to two or three weeks.

2. Vanilla syrup


  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 vanilla beans
– We can split the vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds while you are boiling the water.
– Split the vanilla bean down its length with the sharp knife on your cutting board.Use the dull side of your knife to scrape out the vanilla beans from the tip of the pod.
– Boil the water in the saucepan, When the water is ready, remove the pan from the heat and add sugar.
– Stir the sugar until it is completely dissolved and add vanilla beans and pods.
– Stir vanilla beans and pods for 1 minute and leave it cool down for 30 minutes.

3.  Ginger syrup

You can reduce or add more ginger into a syrup  as your taste. There are many different recipes about the amount of ginger you can use in making syrup. The biggest amount of ginger is 1 cup of fresh ginger slice and the smallest is 1 or 2 inch of ginger. In here I use 50gr of fresh ginger and my ginger syrup has a quite strong ginger’s taste. I also pressed all the fresh ginger. If you don’t like so strong ginger taste you can reduce ginger to 30gr or just cut ginger into slices not press it. Depend on your taste you can add or reduce the ginger. Remember the key ratio to make syrup is 1 cup water: 1 cup sugar.
  • 1 cup water (250  ml)
  • 50 gr fresh ginger
  • 1 cup of sugar

– Boil the water in a small saucepan. When the water is ready you can put the ginger into a pan. Lower the heat and stir the ginger for 1 minute.
– Cover the pan with the lid and remove it from the heat. Let it cool down for 1 hour until  the ginger water have the desired flavor intensity.
– Strain the mixture into another saucepan. Bring the ginger water to a boil over medium-high heat. Remove the pan from the heat and add the sugar. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved.

– Cool completely. Pour into a clean glass jar and cap tightly. Store in a fridge and used as need.

4. Citrus syrup with lemon, lime or orange peels

  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup lemon, lime or orange zest (Peels of 3-4 oranges)
  • 1 cup of sugar
– Boil the water until the water is boiling. When the water is ready we can lower the heat and add lemon/lime/ orange zest.
– Remove the pan from the heat. Cover the pan with the lid and let it stand for 1 hour.
– Strain the citrus zest water by the mesh strainer. Bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat.
– Remove the pan from the heat and add sugar. Stir sugar until it is completely dissolved.
– Cool down the syrup completely. Pour into a clean glass jar and cap tightly. – Store in a fridge and used as need.

5. Spice syrup

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon or 1 small cinnamon stick (9gr), 1 tsp ground clove
  • 1 cup of sugar

– Boil the water and steep the cinnamon/ glove for 1 hour
– Strain the mixture recook the cinnamon water in another saucepan or a pot. Boil the water over the high-heat temperature.
– Remove the pan from the heat and add sugar. Stir the sugar until the sugar is completely dissolved.   
– Cool down the syrup and store syrup in the tight jar for 2-3 weeks in the fridge.

6. Herbal syrups- Mint syrup

We can use rosemary, mint, basil, and lavender to make aromatic syrup
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup of basil, mint, or rosemary
  • 1 cup of sugar
– Boil the water until the boiling in a small saucepan. Add the mint/basil/ rosemary and simmer for 1 minutes.
– Add the sugar and stir until sugar dissolves.
Remove from heat and let syrup steep, about 30 minutes.

– Remove the herbs from the syrup. Pour syrup into a tight and  you can keep the syrup for 2-3 weeks in the fridge.
Now you know how to make 6 simple syrup recipes for this winter. Let’s me know what is your favorite syrup recipes. Share with me what syrup you will make? Hope to hear from you and see you again in my next post.

Dandelion’s Key Components, Health Benefits, Side Effects and Cautions

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) has a long history of using as a folk medicine in Europe, Asia, and American. Dandelion  grows in nature like weeds in everywhere from Asia, Europe, and America. You can find dandelion tea and supplements in many supermarkets as a dietary supplement. People use dandelions as a diuretic supplement, foods, and tonic drinks. Recent studies pay more attention to dandelion’s antioxidant activity. and its possible effects on obesity. cancer, and some cardiovascular risks. In many Vivo and Vitro research dandelion’s extracts have possible effects on obesity. Dandelion also supports the immune system, inflammation, and support cancer treatment.  Dandelion makes me surprised with tons of health benefits and potential. So that, today I will discuss dandelion’s key components, benefits, side effects, and cautions.

Dandelion’s key components

All part of dandelion are edible and contains different polyphenol compounds.  Polyphenol contents in the flowers and leaves are much higher than in the roots. The dandelion’s phytochemical composition depends on the season, time of harvesting, and ecological factors.

  • Dandelion has the rich sources potassium. One gram of dandelion leaves contains 29.68 mg of potassium. When you infuse dandelion leaf, potassium accounts for 67% of dandelion’s solubility. In a Spanish test, people found 519 mg/l of potassium after brewing 5g  of dandelion leaves at 70°C during 2 hrs.  
  • Major compounds in dandelion are chicoric acid, monoaffeoyltartaric acid, caffeic acid, and luteolin 7- diglucoside. Many studies found that chicoric acid has potential immunostimulatory activities. Other dandelion’s chemical ingredients are sterine, nicotine acid, choline, various resins, and waxes.
  • Dandelion also contains several phenylpropanoids, terpenoids, and polysaccharides. These compounds play an important role in immune regulation, hepatoprotective effects, and antitumoral activity.(González-Castejón et al., 2012)
  • Dandelion roots and leaves contain sesquiterpene lactones. The sesquiterpene lactones bring the bitter test. This compound contributes dandelion’s anti-inflammatory and anticancer effect. The dandelion leaves have a higher amount of sesquiterpene lactones than the root.  In the spring, dandelion roots have higher sesquiterpene lactones than other time.

Leaf and flower:

– Main phenolic compounds in the leaves and the flowers are derivatives of hydroxycinnamic acid. Dandelion flowers main carotenoid pigment is a diester of taraxanthin (González-Castejón et al., 2012). Meanwhile,  sitosterol is the most abundant sterol in the leaves.

Dandelion root

– Carbohydrates such as inulin (ranging from 2% in spring to 40% in the fall).
– Carotenoids such as lutein, fatty acids.
– Flavonoids: apigenin and luteolin,
– Minerals such as potassium (up to 5%), phenolic acids (caffeic acid and chlorogenic acid)
– Phytosterols including sitosterol, stigmasterol, and taraxasterol, sugars, vitamin A, choline, mucilage and pectin.
– Selsesquiterpene lactones, triterpenes (b-amyrin, taraxol, and taraxerol)

Traditional usage

Traditional Chinese Medicine considered dandelion is sweet, drying, and cooling. Chinese people believe dandelion can clear the heat from the liver and support the stomach and lungs.
In Europe, since the 13th-century people has used dandelion as fresh juice or tonic to support the digestive and urinary systems. In America, various Native American tribes considered dandelion to be edible, a cleansing alternative, and a helpful healing poultice or compress.
Nowadays, people use dandelion as an herbal tea, juice or hydroalcoholic extract. People use dandelion to relieve mild digestive disorders and a temporary loss of appetite. The main usage of dandelion is a diuretic to increase the amount of urine and eliminate fluid in your body. However,  there are not so many studies on using dandelion as a diuretic in human.
Dandelion contains 5% of caffeine; people roast dandelion root to make coffee substitute beverage. We can steam the young leaves like spinach or just use it as fresh herbs. The young dandelion fresh leaves and flower are good in salads. Dandelion goes along with nutmeg, garlic, onion or lemon peel. My favorite side dish from dandelion is boiling young flowers for 1 or 2 minutes. Then I put flowers into olive oil with some fresh garlic for 24 hours or more. This dandelion flowers can use along with salad or pasta.  

The Health Evidences

Both in vitro and vivo studies are now supporting the long history of this plant as a folk medicine.  But, most scientific studies of dandelion come from animals research, not human. A few animal studies suggested that dandelion might help to fight inflammation, obesity, and cancer.

Antioxidant resources

We can use dandelion flowers, leaf, and root as the great source of natural antioxidant. Dandelion flowers have a high amount of phenolic compounds as flavonoids and coumaric acids. Dandelion’s  polyphenol and flavonoid might protect us from free-radical formations. Flavonoids in dandelion tea can protect V79-4 cells from free-radical included toxicity.
A research on the mice provided evidence that dandelion’s antioxidant and antiproliferative activities have good effects on hepatic cells and gallbladder disorders.

Anti-inflammatory

Vitro studies show that dandelion root methanol extracts and leaf extract influences inflammatory mediators. Korean vivo studies showed that ethanol, aqueous and methanol in dandelion’s extracts inhibit the production of inflammatory cytokines in rats.
A test in human found the anti-inflammatory activity when combined dandelion with six other herbs. The study found less rectal bleeding and anti-inflammatory activity in inflammatory bowel disease.
A recent study reveals that dandelion seems to have anti-inflammatory effects on an acute lung injury in mice induced by lipopolysaccharide (González-Castejón et al., 2012).

Anti-obesity

In 2010, Korean scientists found that dandelion extract had positively changed plasma antioxidant enzyme activities and lipid profiles in cholesterol-fed rabbits (Choi et al., 2010). However, the scientists recommended the further research on the anti-obesity effects of dandelion.


Natural alternative cancer treatment

Dandelion leaves contain flavonoids such as luteolin might exert pancreatic lipase inhibitory activity (González-Castejón et al.,2012). Pancreatic cancer has a 100% mortality rate. In 2012,  Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Windsor, Canada did a research to test the efficacy of dandelion root extract (DRE) in inducing apoptosis and autophagy in aggressive and resistant pancreatic cancer cells. The result showed that DRE caused the collapse of the mitochondrial membrane potential, leading to pro-death autophagy. Meanwhile, normal human fibroblasts were resistant at similar doses. In the December 2015, the Windsor university started a trial test in human. In the test, they used dandelion root extract as a treatment for patients with terminal cancer.
Dandelion’s biological properties could be beneficial for hyperglycemia, hyperglycemia, and protect against liver damage.

Dosage

According to the report of European Medicines Agency an average daily dose for dandelion:
  • ‘‘3-4 g of cut or powdered drug three times (decoction in 150 ml of water) (Gehrmann B et al. 2005
  • 1 tablespoon full of drug (infusion in 150 ml of water) 0.75-1.0 g of native dry extract 4:1 m/m 3-4 ml fluid extract 1:1 (g/ml) (Blumenthal M et al. 1998).
  • 5-10 ml of tincture (1:5 in 45% ethanol), three times (British Herbal Pharmacopoeia 1996).
  • Adults: 4-10 g of the drug or as an infusion, three times daily. 2-5 ml of tincture (1:5, ethanol 25% V/V), three times daily. 5-10 ml of juice from the fresh leaf, twice daily (Bradley PR 1992).’’

There is no restriction on the duration of dandelion’s usage because of lacking information. However, the EMA report recommends limiting the duration of use to 2 weeks as the clinical safety studies are lacking.  

Side Effect and PRECAUTIONS

There are no clinical safety data on extracts of dandelion.  In the EU traditional medicinal, no serious adverse effects have been reported.
  • Ask your doctor before using herbal products if you are pregnant, nursing, or using any medications.
  • The data on using dandelion for children or adolescents are not available. Do not use dandelion for children under 12 years old, during pregnancy and lactation.
  • Do not use dandelion extracts in cases of active peptic ulcer or biliary diseases except under expert professional supervision.
  • Not recommended in patients with renal failure or heart failure due to potential hyperkalemia.
  • Do not use this plant in case of obstructions of bile ducts, cholangitis, liver diseases, and gallstones.
  • There is an evidence on dandelion can reduce fertility in male rats but no human studies have confirmed this. But in Jordan people use dandelion as a male fertility enhancer.
  • Interactions: dandelion might alter the absorption of ciprofloxacin, based on an animal study.

Note

Many studies show that dandelion absorbs heavy metal in phytoremediation of agricultural land. Do not pick dandelion grown in recreational parks. Dandelion grows off the side of roads and backyards where people used herbicide, are not good too. Dandelion can absorb lead in high pollution area.
This is some main information about dandelion actually it is quite long already. I hope you can find some information you need. Maybe I need a second post for deeper information about dandelion health benefits. How it works and support cancer prevention. Do not hesitate to let me know what do you think about my works. Share with me what do you know about dandelions and see you soon.

References

  • Gonzalez-Castejon, M., Visioli, F., & Rodriguez-Casado, A. (2012). Diverse biological activities of dandelion. Nutr Rev, 70(9), 534-547. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-4887.2012.00509.x
  •  Jeon, Hye-Jin, Kang, Hyun-Jung, Jung, Hyun-Joo, Kang, Young-Sook, Lim, Chang-Jin, Kim, Young-Myeong, & Park, Eun-Hee. (2008). Anti-inflammatory activity of Taraxacum officinale. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 115(1), 82-88. doi:

6 Blueberries’ Key Health Benefits and Healthy Evidence

Blueberries are naturally colored blue. Like other colorful fruits and vegetables, blueberries have the ability to subdue oxygen free radicals. A 2010 study by the US Department of Agriculture’s Center for Aging found that blueberries contain the highest levels of antioxidant in comparison with 40 fruits and vegetables. Scientists found that several blueberries phytochemical compounds may play combat chronic disease. Let’s have a look at the blueberries’ key health benefits and the healthy evidence. In this post, I also mention some research of bilberries, European blueberries.

Blueberries have the excellent source of vitamins C and K, manganese and high levels of various antioxidants. The main phenolic compounds in blueberries are:

  • Flavonoids: Anthocyanins, Flavonols, Flavanols (catechin)
  • Phenolic acids: Cinnamic acids, Benzoic acids
  • Complex phenolic polymers (polymeric tannins): Ellagitannins, Proanthocyanidins

Each of main phenolic compounds in blueberries has contributed to the different health benefits.

1.    Powerful Antioxidant benefits

A 100 gram of blueberries contains 2400 ORAC units. ORAC is the oxygen radical absorbency capacity to quantify the antioxidant capacity of foods. The antioxidant capacity in 100 grams of fresh blueberries  equals with five fruit and vegetable servings. Antioxidants are the active component for Anti-inflammation, (arthritis, osteoarthritis) and Metabolic syndrome (obesity). The key antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties in blueberries are Anthocyanins. This flavonoid phenolic compound gives blueberries blue color.
Blueberries are also rich in phenolic compounds. The phenolic compounds can capture free radicals, deactivating or eliminating them from the body.
A research of the University of California found that blueberries may reduce the “bad” cholesterol, which contributes to cardiovascular disease and stroke.

2.  Natural Anti-aging properties

Blueberry antioxidants are thought to delay aging by their natural cleansing properties. Vitamins and minerals in blueberry might clean the blood. The USDA Human Nutrition Center (HNRCA) lab have discovered that feeding blueberries to laboratory rats can slow  age-related loss in their mental capacity. The high antioxidant activity of blueberries may play a role.

3. Support the cancer prevention

Bioactive compounds in blueberries support the prevention of many cancers including breast, colon, esophageal, liver, ovarian, and prostate. Here are how blueberries phenolic compounds support the cancer prevention.
  • Anthocyanins, blueberries main flavonoids acts as an antioxidant.  Flavonoids affect cell proliferation and help regulate cancer signal transduction pathways.
  • Kaempferol (flavonoid phytonutrient) in blueberry can lower 40 percent the risk of developing ovarian in women. Others Kaempferol-rich foods are non-herbal tea, onions, kale, and spinach.
  • Blueberries also contain moderate quantities of Resveratrol. Resveratrol influences cancer at the initiation, promotion, and progression stages during the development of cancer. It can induce apoptosis in various cancer cells without killing normal cells. Resveratrol also aids in the reduction of inflammatory diseases.
  • Black raspberry, red raspberry, blueberry, and cranberry seed flours inhibit the proliferation of human HT29 colon cancer cell line.
  • Blueberry flavonoids have also inhibited the activities of enzymes such as matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). The enzymes play a significant role in cancer metastasis. A 2006 study found that anthocyanin and proanthocyanidin-enriched blueberry fractions down- regulate MMP activity in DU145 human prostate cancer cells. They found that  decreases in MMP are possible involvement of protein kinase-C and mitogen-activated protein kinase pathways in the flavonoid.  The research concluded that the down-regulation of MMP activities by the blueberry flavonoids might occur through many mechanisms.

4. Support colon and combats Urinary Tract Infections.

Blueberries are rich in dietary fiber (both soluble and insoluble). Both fibers may help to reduce constipation and aid in digestive health. Tannins in blueberries also help to “cleanse” the colon because tannins have an astringent effect.
Like cranberries, blueberries have the compounds that prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs). These compound can fight against the bacteria that causes most UTIs and  from gaining a hold on the bladder wall. A research of Rutgers University in New Jersey has identified a compound in blueberries that promote urinary tract health and reduces the risk of infection. Blueberry’s compound prevent bacteria from adhering to the cells that line the walls of the urinary tract.

5. Help night vision and eyesight problems

Anthocyanin in blueberries can aid vision especially at night, ease pain in the eyes, and promote sharper vision.  Anthocyanins boost the production of rhodopsin, a pigment that improves night vision and helps the eye adapt to light changes.
Scientists in Europe have documented the relationship between bilberries( European blueberries) and improved eyesight. Studies found that bilberry extract taken in combination with 20 mg of beta-carotene a day may improve an adaption to light and night vision. Researchers thought this result occurred because of the Anthocyanins in the blue pigment.
A 2001 study in Japan documented that blueberries helped ease eye fatigue. In the study, 50 patients with senile cataracts used a combination of bilberry extract with 25% anthocyanosisdes and vitamin E twice daily for four months. The extract stopped the progression of cataracts in 96% of the patients treated compared to 76% in the control group.
The consumption of bilberry extract may also protect us against the development of glaucoma, or damage to the optic nerve. In a Thorne Research Inc study, eight patients with glaucoma used a dose of 200mg Vaccinium myrtillus anthocyanosides. The patient conditions had the improvement due to bilberries’ collagen enhancing and antioxidant properties.

6. Promote cognitive function

Blueberry-rich diets also improve motor skills and the learning capacity of animals and human. Researchers found that  people who used a cup of blueberries a day have performed 5–6% better on motor skills tests than who didn’t use.  For that reason, adding blueberries to our daily diets help preserve cognitive function and improve working memory.
In a study of USDA Human Nutrition Center (HNRCA) fed mice blueberry extractions—the equal of a human eating one cup of blueberries a day. The study found the blueberry-fed mice performed better in motor behavioral learning and memory than normal mice.  The scientists also noticed an increase in exploratory behavior.  When examined mice brains they found a marked decrease in oxidative stress in two regions of the brain. The mice better retention of signal-transmitting neurons compared with the control mice. So that the blueberries’ antioxidants offer protection of brain cells from oxidative stress. Oxidative stress can exacerbate the effects of age-related cognitive decline.
These are 6 blueberries’ key health benefits and Healthy evidence. I hope you do not get bored with dry information. For better living, we can add blueberries into our daily diet. Blueberries will support and protect us from cancer, antioxidant, and other chronic diseases.

5 Questions You should Ask before using Stinging Nettle

Urtica dioica L., of the Urticaceae family, is commonly known as a stinging nettle or burn nettle. Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica L.) has a long history of usage since the ancient’s time. Currently, this leaf has received attention as a source of fiber and alternative medicine. In many cultures, nettle is also eaten as a leafy vegetable. People use nettle for a wide variety of ailments, both in traditional and modern medicine. The nettle plant is used for bladder and kidney disorders, various allergies, anemia, internal bleeding, osteoarthritis, and musculoskeletal aches.  In this post, I will share with you 5 things you need to know about ingredients, traditional usages, the dose and how to use nettle at home. As the information about nettle is enormous I will discuss more in coming post. The post will discuss the health benefits with clinical evidence support and side effects of nettle. Now let’s look at some questions you might have about nettle.

1. What are key ingredients in Nettle?

The nettle’s key components are vitamin A, calcium, carotene, beta-sitosterol, quercetin, rutin, and kaempferol. Both raw and cooked nettle have the rich sources of mineral, vitamins, minerals and protein. Using 100 gram of cooked or blanched nettle supplies you 100% of Vitamin A (including vitamin A as β-carotene), 40% of Calcium, 10% of Iron, and 20% of dietary fiber.
Besides, this leaf is rich in fatty acid, carotenoid, and Omega-3. Researchers find fatty acid and carotenoid content in leaf, stem, root, and seed of nettle. The amount of amino acid in nettle is higher than most other leafy vegetables. The Amino acid in nettle is higher than almond (dry), common bean and chicken. Nettle leaves are rich in α-linolenic acid, the predominant fatty acid, and seeds are richer in linoleic acid. The Omega-3 fatty in nettle is the same with treated frozen spinach. The total carbohydrate in fresh and cooked nettle (4.2%–16.5%) is lower than spinach (66.6%–78.9%).
Nettle leaf contains nine carotenoids. This leaf has high levels of lutein, lutein isomers, β-carotene and β-carotene isomers. Nettle leaf at maturity stages also contains Neoxanthin, violaxanthin, and lycopene.

Modern science has found many of the key elements in the stinging nettle that make it useful as a medicine. Nettle plant has approximately fifty active chemical compounds. These are including simple phenols, triterpene acids, lignans, hydroxyl fatty acids. Most of the medicinal uses of nettle come from chemicals located in the stinging hairs of the plant and the root.
2. What are the benefits of nettle?

  • Mineral and nutrient-rich food:  You can use nettle as a fresh vegetable in soups, pizza or cakes. Nettle is easy growing and it can be mineral-rich diets for poor and undernourished populations.
  • Healthy Drink: Making fresh or dry nettle tea for tonic water and healthy drinks. Nettle tea can work as spring tonic water as the leaf contains the high amount of antioxidant. Nettle tea is used for disorders of the kidneys, urinary tract, and gastrointestinal tract. The nettle tea also can support your skin, cardiovascular system, hemorrhage, flu, rheumatism, and gout.
  • Medical application: Currently researchers have focused on using nettle as the alternative medicine and fiber. In 1980’s, clinical trials have confirmed the effectiveness of nettle root and saw palmetto fruit extracts to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Dried nettle leaf preparations are also known to reduce the symptoms of allergic rhinitis or asthma.
  • Technology for granulating lipophilic leaf extracts for medicine has been developed. As many valuable nettle’s chemicals are located in the stinging hairs of the plant. Nettle leaf extract contains active compounds that reduce TNF-α and other inflammatory cytokines.
  • Textile fiber: scientists in Italy have confirmed the potential of using nettle as a sustainable source of textile fiber.

3. How to harvest and store the nettle for winter time?

The best time for you to pick up nettle shoots is before flowering. You can use young nettle shoots as a potherb or spinach alternative. The nettle leaves on stems are tender enough to eat when the nettle grow up to 25 cm from the growing point. But the stems will become woody about 4 cm away from the growing point (29 cm). You will need to separate the tender tip (approx. 4 cm and leaves) from the woody stem before cooking.
First, you can boil the leave in water to remove the stinging chemicals for 7-10 minutes. Nettle has an intense grass-like taste and you can add it to soups and pies as in Finland. You can also combine it with others greens (spinach, sorrel, onions, and spices). In Greece, people will fry nettles, eggs with butter or fried it with olive oil and garlic.  
Freeze the nettle you need to boil them in water, pack and store them in the freezer to keep them fresh.
If you want to dry nettle for winter time, try to collect the nettle roots. Nettle roots grow on the surface of the land not so deep but it grows in a group and around under the stem. Use plastic gloves to collect nettle and its roots; it will help you from the stinging hairs. After harvesting, you can dry them in a cool place away from the sun and store them in tight jars for winter time.

You can also use nettle water as a shampoo to control dandruff and make hair glossier.

4. How to brew fresh & dried nettle leaf tea?

You can boil nettle leaf as a green leaf and also can use the boiling water as a tonic herbal tea.The nettle tea is tasty, fresh and healthy. You can add some lemon juice and honey in your nettle leaf tea. The lemon will enhance absorption of minerals.

As a research in the International Journal of Food Science in 2013, the best time to boil the nettle is between 7-9 minutes. In the research, scientists found that after different acid and amino acid in nettle leaves will reach a peak at 6.7-10 minutes. After 11 minutes of cooking, all amino acid in nettle goes to 0. I did experiments by cooking nettle for 2 minutes, 5 minutes, and 12 minutes. After 2 minutes nettle looked lively, scary with full of hairs. With 5 minutes the nettle tea still drinkable, but there were small hairs in the water. These hairs made a bit itchy in my lips and mouth when you drink it. At 12 minutes the water is thicker than normal water with full of medical or drug smell. So that I will cook my nettle around 7 minutes next time to keep the antioxidant and amino acid in the tea.  
5. What are dosages for nettle?

There is no formal dosage for nettle, and here is the nettles dosages information I collected. In Germany Commission E people recommend 4-6 g/day cut root for symptoms of BPH, doses up to 18 g/day. In some researches people use the daily dosages are 360 mg aqueous extract, 460 mg dried extract, and 600 mg freeze-dried nettle. Here are some more detail dosages

DOSAGES FOR THE NETTLE LEAF

  • In one research, people used 50 g stewed nettle leaf daily for rheumatic conditions.
  • Dry extract: 0.6-2.1 g/day in divided doses
  • Liquid extracts (1:2): 2-6 mL/day.
  • People also use 1 tablespoon nettle juice (15 mL) in 4-6 oz water three times daily.
  • Tincture of the leaf or root with a dose of 1/2-1 tsp (2-5 mL) three times daily, or as part of a formula with other herbs.

DOSAGES FOR NETTLE’S ROOT

  • German Commission E recommend 4-6 g/day cut root for symptoms of BPH. Some research uses doses up to 18 g/day for BPH.

I use 50 grams of fresh nettle for one person in cooking and brew 2-4 gram of dried nettle leaf and root for 1 cups of tea. If you use the nettle leaf extract or other extracted products, ask your doctors for advice before using it.
Nettle has been used as a food for many thousand years. Fresh and processed nettle have high-protein, low-calorie source of essential nutrients, minerals, and vitamins. The fresh nettle has formic acid, mucilage, mineral salts, ammonia, carbonic acid and water. The nettle works as high nutrient and vitamin foods. But nowadays scientists focus more on medical and fiber applications. I like the fresh taste of nettle and its huge health benefits. But when using this leaf you should pay attention to the dosages. Ask your doctors for advice before using this leave. I will discuss more the health benefits and side effects of nettle in my coming post. I hope you are not getting bored with this long and too much information post. Let’s me know what do you think about the nettle leaf. See you soon in my next post about health benefits and side effects of nettle leaf.

If you like to read more about nettle here are quite interesting links more about it:

Mineral Properties and Dietary Value of Raw and Processed Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica L.)


4 Easy Rosemary Tea Recipes and How to Make


Rosemary is a member of the mint family. This herb has a good source of fiber, iron and contains antioxidants: carnosic acid and carnosol. Rosemary also contains many phytochemicals like rosmarinic acid, camphor, caffeic acid, ursolic acid, and betulinic acid. Rosemary’s natural chemicals act as stimulants to support your memory. You can use rosemary tea as an herbal remedy to support the brain. The rosemary is also mood enhancing, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and stimulating. We will discuss the health benefits and the side effect of rosemary later. But today I want to share with you 4 healthy rosemary tea recipes I have collected. These recipes are delicious, easy and take short time to brew within five to ten minutes.

Rosemary Tea with Honey


This is the easiest rosemary tea recipes and takes a short time to make. Ingredients you need are for 2 cups of tea:
  • 1 to 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary or 1- 1,5 tsp. of dried rosemary.
  • 3 tsp. of honey
  • 2 cups of boiling water or 500ml of cold tap water if you brew tea in a saucepan.

You need to break the rosemary into small pieces and then you can make rosemary tea with honey in two simple ways. The first way is brewing rosemary as the normal tea. You can put rosemary pieces into boiling water for 8 minutes. As other herbs, rosemary needs a long time steeping. Then you can add some honey and decorate it with some fresh rosemary.

The second ways are boiling or simmering rosemary in the sauce pan for a stronger rosemary taste. You can boil rosemary small pieces with water and honey to slowly boiling. Then when it boiled, reduce the heat and simmer for five minutes. Your rosemary tea is ready after five minutes. If you want stronger rosemary taste you can press the rosemary against the side of the pan to extract the juices.

Rosemary milk tea

Rosemary tea with milk looks nice and tastes very good and refreshing. So what do you need to make one cup of this tea? 
  • 1 cup of milk (250 ml)
  • 1 sprigs of fresh rosemary or 1 tsp. of dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp. of honey
  • And little patience

Break the rosemary into four pieces then put three of the pieces into a saucepan and add the milk. Bring slowly to the boil and reduce the heat to simmer rosemary for five minutes. Simmering the tea will need your patience as you have to stir the milk continuously in five minutes. If you don’t stir the and check it carefully, the heat can burn the milk easily and your rosemary tea will have the smoky taste.

Before serving it you can press the rosemary against the side for stronger tea taste. Then strain the drink and discard the rosemary and decorated with the reserved rosemary floating on top. The rosemary tea with milk can bring you lots of energy and refresh you after a hard working day. You can also make it in the morning too but maybe I do not do that. Instead of that, I would love to have a cup of hot milk with 1 or 2 tsp. of honey. Hot milk with honey also can energize and wake up you. This hot drink might be better than a cup of coffee if you have sleepless or bad sleeping night.   

Rosemary, ginger, and lemon peels

  • 1 small bunch of rosemary
  • 1 inch of ginger, you can slice ginger into small pieces or press it if you like a stronger ginger taste.
  • Peels of ½ lemon (I zest the yellow part of lemon peel to make tea as it contains many antioxidant ingredients.)
  • 2 cups of boiling water
  • 2 tsp. of honey


With teapot, you can put all ingredients in the same time and brew with boiling water 8 minutes. If you need stronger taste you also can boil it in a sauce pan and simmer it for 6 minutes as it is an ideal time to brew ginger. Strain the tea and add more honey if you like sweeter herbal tea.This herbal tea formula is good as all ingredients contain rich sources of antioxidant and vital minerals. The tea also can release cold, flu-like symptoms, bronchitis and clear phlegm.


Mediterranean Rosemary tea with thyme, sage, cinnamon and honey

This original recipe is the Mediterranean wine recipe but I change it into the nonalcoholic recipe. I hope you like it as I do. Ingredients for a cup of rosemary tea are:
  • 500 ml of cold tap water (2 cups)
  • 2 large sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 1 tsp. of sage
  • 1 tsp. thyme
  • 1 cinnamon bark or ½ tsp. of cinnamon ground
  • 2 tsp. of honey

Boil the water until boiling and put all ingredients into a saucepan. Then simmer all ingredients over low heat for 8 minutes. The ingredients in this Mediterranean herbal tea recipe contain rich sources of antioxidant and minerals. This tea can help you to fight with cold, flu or keep you warm. Moreover, this herbal rosemary tea also can reduce the pain as ginger and rosemary work well with reducing the pain. Daily ginger consumption can reduce muscle pain caused by exercise. Besides it provides you many antioxidants and boosts your immune systems. 

In the picture, I used cinnamon ground which creates the red color. The tea color might change into brown when you use cinnamon bark. The tea color will look alike the hot fig tea with herbs. The recipe will have a quite strong cinnamon taste. You can reduce the cinnamon to 1/3 of tsp. or ½ barks if you like stronger rosemary taste. 

Here are how I make 4 lovely and healthy rosemary tea recipes in this spring. They are easy to brew with normal and available herbs and ingredients. Within 5 to 10 minutes you will have tasty and healthy herbal tea. You can use these herbal recipes if you don’t know what to do with your rosemary left after cooking. You will be surprised of refreshing taste of rosemary and their health benefits. Share with me what do your ideal rosemary tea recipe and how you brew your favorite tea.   

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Low Sugar Candied Orange Peels


Oranges are one of the most consumed and favorite fruits. Everybody love orange juice, fresh oranges but we always throw away orange peels. But the truth is orange peels are good to your health and eatable. The peels contains high amount of vitamin C, insoluble fiber and many essential minerals. One hundred gram of orange peels can offer you 10.6 gram of fiber, 1,5 gram of protein, 25 gram of carbohydrate. Besides, orange peels consist over 60 flavonoids and 170 different phytonutrients. Researchers found the flavonoids and phytonutrient can retard the growth of cancer cells. And Flavonoid may protect against lung cancer, hesperidin, and help lower cholesterol levels. Since eating entire orange peels may not sound all that appetizing, you can make low sugar candied orange peel. This recipe is easy to make but it consume about 2 to 4 days to finish. Is that too long? Don’t worry, I will show you how to shorten the cooking time one day. In this recipe I reduce the amount of sugar as low as I can and still taste good. 

I am not sure that after all time of cooking the candied orange peels can remain high amount of flavonoid or phytonutrients. But I am sure that candied orange peels are taste good and worth for making it. What do I need to make candied orange peels?

  • 500 gr of oranges peel (4 – 5 oranges)
  • 200 gr of sugar
  • 150 ml honey

Now let’s start to do it.

Step 1: Cut oranges into 4 parts and remove orange peels.  Cut the peel into small pieces length 1 or 1,5 cm and length 5 – 7 cm. If you have special knife to make a zigzag or wave your orange peels will look better.


Step 2: Put all orange peel into cold tap water and boil it. Cook until boiling then reduce the heat and keep it for 5 minutes. You should boil it for 2 or three times to remove the bitter and soften the orange peel. I do step one and two in the morning and they take me 45-60 minutes to finish.

Step 3: After boiling orange peel for twice or three times you keep it into cold tap water. Put 1-2 tsp. of salt depend on the water you put in and keep it for 8 hours. You can make it into the night then in the morning you can start to cook it again. If you don’t like to wait 8 hours you can start to cook it right after you boiling and cleaning orange peels. I would prefer to keep it for 8 hours and this step finishes in the evening.

Step 4: Remove oranges peel from cold water with salt and clean it with cold water. Put all oranges peel into a big bowl then put sugar and honey together. Then again keep all ingredients in a cool room for 8 hours. In the evening I do this step and keep it overnight, so that I don’t have to wait.

Note: You can skip steps 3, 4 and 5 if you don’t have time. At the step 3 you don’t keep the orange peels into water for 8 hours and then 8 hours shimmed orange peels in sugar and honey. Instead of that after step 2 you start to cook orange peels. First you put water, sugar and honey in a medium saucepan and bring it to the boil over high heat. Bring the syrup to 238 degrees and add the orange peels.

Step 5: In the morning, I put 300 -400 ml of cold tap water into orange peels and cook until it boiling. Reduce the heat to medium low around 105 – 110, and simmer until the peels are translucent and soft. This step might take you 100 – 120 minutes to dry all the water and soften the oranges peels. You can gently stir the orange peels when cooking it and try not to burn the orange peels in the bottom of saucepan. After this step you can cover your orange peels over sugar to make sugar coat but I did not do it. I want to make low sugar candied orange peels.

Step 6: Dry the orange peels in the clean panel or cooking paper. There are two way to dry the orange peels. Firstly you can keep candied orange peels in dry room for two days or keep it into fridge too. The second one is you can put into oven at 100 – 110 degrees for 10 to 20 minutes. Check it often if you don’t want your candied orange peels is too hard. You can add chocolate flavor to the orange peel after dry it. Orange peels and chocolate are good combination.

This recipe takes me 3 days to finish but you also can make it within 1 day too. 
With me I prefer long time recipe because my orange peels are soft and I still can taste the honey in candied orange peels. All the steps of this recipe are easy to make. Here is my candied orange peel, they look quite messy but don’t worry they taste good.

You can eat it along with green tea, or hot drink in winter time or whenever you want. This candied orange peel is good to reduce the cough, keep you warmth or just healthy home-made snack. Let’s try to make this healthy low sugar candied orange peels this weekend. I promise you will not regret when you taste it. Remember to make little more orange peels than you thought. You will eat it faster than you can imagine. Let’s me know what do you think about my recipes, I would love to hearing from you.  

Healthy Orange Jam with Low Sugar and High Fiber

Happy New Year 2015!!!!!
A new year has come with happiness and many new things waiting. Let’s cook something healthy and taste good for celebrate a new year. Today I make orange jam with a Greek recipe with low sugar and high fiber to celebrate 2015. This recipe is quite the same with marmalade by using oranges and oranges peel in the jam. However, this recipe is faster, tasty, and easy to make with low sugar and high fiber. I learnt this recipe from the television in Greek cooking program. I changed the original recipe by reducing sugar and removing chili. The original recipe have little chili, you can add it if you want a different taste. I like this Greek orange jam recipe as it is easy to make, tasty and healthy.
The ingredients you need to make orange jam are: 
  • 1,2 kg of oranges
  • 300 gr of sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
And here we go
Step 1: Clean the orange carefully and keep it dry. Zest all oranges and keep it separate while you are making the jam.

Step 2: Remove the pith oranges (the white part of peel) and cut it like this. By cutting not straight you can remove core of orange easy. 

This is how your jam look like before you cook it.

Step 3: Put the orange pieces, salt, sugar into a pan and start to cook orange jam. Turn the heat up and boil rapidly until the jam reaches setting point about 104 oC. 
  • If you want your jam more jelly like, you can add some orange pith (the white part of the orange peels). As orange pith contain high amount of the natural pectin (30% of the citrus peel).
  • Reduce the heat and cook it for 1 hour or whenever you see your jam is little dry. You can check it by putting a teaspoonful of the jam on to a cold saucer and put in the fridge for a minute or so. If it crinkles when you run a finger through it, and your finger leaves a clear line in the preserve, it’s ready. If not, check it every five minutes or so.
Step 4: When you feel your jam is ready you can pour the orange zest into the pan.  Cook the jam with low heat about 10-15 minutes. The zest will bring the bitter taste to the jam. If you don’t like that, you can cook it little bit longer until the oranges zest is clear. Don’t cook the oranges’ zest for too long to keep the vitamin and nutrient in the zest. Orange peels consist of over 60 flavonoids and 170 different phytonutrients. Flavonoids can protect us from certain types of cancer and lower cholesterol levels.

Step 5: Cool down the jam and put it into clean jars. You can keep the jam in fridge for 2 or 3 weeks. If you want to keep it longer you can check the more detailed in my other post  How to make low sugar and no pectinRaspberry jam.   

Here is how I make my orange jam for a new year 2015. This jam is a good idea to start a day with a slice of bread. Do you love orange jam? What is your favorite recipe and flavor? Can you share with me or add anything to make this recipe better? 
You might be interested in:

References: 

Learn to make Finnish Glögi for Christmas


Christmas is coming very soon !!! Have you have any new idea about hot drink for winter time? You can try to make Glögi, the traditional Finnish warm drink in winter and Christmas. This traditional drink is tasty and healthy and little bit same style with mulled wine. I usually buy a ready-made Glögi but this winter I made it for myself. I thought it is difficult to make Glögi but it is very easy to make. Here is how I make Glögi for this Christmas.

Glögi recipe

The traditional recipe for Finnish Glögi includes 5 main ingredients:
–        Dried orange peels
–        Cloves
–        Cinnamon
–        Dried ginger

–        Black currant juices


You can make Glögi with these main ingredients. But I will make Glögi with little more complicated recipe for this year. The ingredients I use are popular and you can find them in everywhere. My ingredients include:

–        1 orange, 1 lemon
–        4 or 5 slice of fresh ginger
–        8 cloves
–        2 sticks of cinnamon
–        4 cardamom seeds (optional)
–        1,5 l of black currant juice ( you can use red grape juice too)
–        2 anise (optional)
–        2 or 3 spoon of brown sugar (optional)

Before making Glögi you can spend some minute to do something:
–        Washed the orange and lemon then peel thin slices of the zest.
–        Squeeze the orange and lemon to use later
–        Press ginger if you want stronger ginger taste
–        Crush or press cardamom seeds


Cook slowly with low heat until the drink is steaming hot about 90oC. Do not let the drink get even close to boiling. Normally people can put all ingredients at the one time to make drink but I put ingredients steps by steps to have little bit complicated taste Glögi.

Step 1: Put cloves, cinnamon, cardamom seed with black currant juice to cook first. At this stage you can put 1 tsp. of dried raisins to make sweet taste to Glögi.

Step 2: After 9 minutes I put fresh ginger into the saucepan.

Step 3: Then put anise and fresh oranges and lemon zest into the bowl at 12 minutes. Depend on your taste, if you like stronger taste of anise you can put it before 12 minutes.

Step 4: At the 14 minutes I put oranges and lemon juices into the bowl. I put orange and lemon juice almost in the end to keep the vitamin and mineral in the juice. As after long time cooking the juice will loss vitamin and mineral so I have to put it in almost in the end.

Step 5: Stop cooking When the bowl little boiling at the 15 minutes. Pour the drink through a sieve and serve with raisins and blanched almonds. You can add brown sugar if you want sweet taste, but normally in black currant juice include sugar already so I don’t put it into my drink. My Glögi now smell good with thick and complicated taste.
  

Glögi with alcohol recipe


If you want to make Glögi with alcohol you can use the same ingredient but with alcohol:
–        1 orange, 1 lemon
–        4 or 5 slice of fresh ginger
–        8 cloves
–        2 sticks of cinnamon
–        4 cardamom seeds
–        1 l of black currant juice (you can use red grape juice too)
–        2 anise
–        0,5 l of red wine

At the beginning you can do alcohol Glögi in the same way as the recipes above. But in the step 5 before stop cooking you can pour red wine into Glögi. After 1 or 2 minutes you can stop cooking. The wine flavor maybe affected by boiling as Alcohol start to evaporate for less than 80oC.

Alcohol Glögi is meant to be enjoyed hot but not boiling hot. If you want to enjoy more alcohol you can reduce the amount of black currant juice and adding more wine. But make sure that the red wine be warm for a short time. Some people can add some vodka before serving, but maybe it is too strong for me.

Notices:
  • One thing you should notice when making Glögi is do not use kettle, aluminum or copper saucepans. I only use stainless steel saucepan to make Glögi as aluminum and copper is not good to the health
  • You also should not cook Glögi with aluminum pan as the acidity of the drink can be removed in heating aluminum.
  • If you cook Glögi by kettle it might be dangerous as acidic drink can corrode copper kettle. The kettle copper resistors may be covered by a steel plate. The acidity resistance can dissolve copper into Glögi. So the kettle must not be used for purposes other than boiling water. This is also a reason for not using copper saucepans for Glögi. Copper dissolution of the drink can cause copper poisoning. You might have symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea and malaise. The symptoms can be extremely harmful to the elderly.

This is how I make Glögi for this Christmas and winter. This recipe is easy to make within 15 minutes. Pay little more effort you will have very tasty and healthy drink for this Christmas and winter holidays. I wish your Christmas be filled with special moment, warmth, peace and happiness.

Happy holidays and seasons greeting! Hyvää Joulua!!! Chúc Mng Giáng Sinh