Hot Figs Drink Recipes with Herbs for Winter


Figs are sweet, tasty, with 5 health benefits with long history. The Mediterranean has used figs in their daily life since ancient times. This fruit is beneficial to your liver functions; relieve cough, asthma and pharyngitis. We can eat fresh figs, mixing it with salad or served it with dessert. We can also make smoothies and cocktails with fresh figs. But have you ever tried to make hot and non-alcohol drink with figs in winter time? For long time ago, people in Mediterranean and Middle East use figs to make a sweet drink in their holiday season. During the period of Ramadan in the Middle East people make fig drinks rimmed with walnut, cinnamon and almond. In Mediterranean, people stew figs with cinnamon, thyme, honey and gloves to make sweet and tasty hot drink. This healthy Mediterranean drink recipe is a good idea for winter and holiday season.

All ingredients you need are:

–        200 gr fresh figs (4 fresh figs) or 100g of dried figs
–        2 small sticks of cinnamon
–        3 tsp. of honey
–        3 or 4 tsp. of dried thyme
–        Some cloves
–        1 l of water

How to do it?

Chop figs into small pieces and put all ingredients into a bowl. First cook all ingredients till boiling then reduce the heat. Then you simmered the drink with low heat for 30 minutes. After that you can serve this hot drink right after finishing.


This herb drink has a warm taste from cinnamon, thyme, cloves and sweet taste of honey and figs. You can use both fresh and dried figs to make this drink. Depend on your taste you can reduce or put more honey to sweeten the drink. But notice that dried figs are sweeter than fresh figs. 100 gram of fresh figs contain 16.3 gram of sugar meanwhile 46 gram of sugar in 100 gram of dried figs. And this is how my drink looks like.


This healthy Mediterranean drink is rich in Calcium, Folate, sugar and minerals. In this post I used fresh figs to make this drink but dried figs are better than the fresh one. Dried figs are not losing their vitamin and mineral when stewing. Besides the amount of Calcium and Potassium in stewed dried figs are higher than in fresh and dried figs. These are minerals you can receive when you stew 100g of dried figs.

Vitamin C 11.4mg (19%DV)
Vitamin K 17.4 mcg (22% DV)
Potassium
761 mg (22%DV)
Calcium 181mg (18%DV)
Magnesium
75.1 mg  (19%DV)
You can try to make fig hot drinks with a Kuwait recipe too. The Kuwait figs hot drink’s ingredients are almonds, walnuts, figs and ground cinnamon. All you have to do is chopping the dried figs into little pieces. Simmered figs with almonds, walnuts and ground cinnamon for 30 minutes. Then you can serve it when it cold. I will try this recipe soon and let you know the exact amount of ingredients you need.

I will make Mediterranean fig hot drink in cold winter days and of course Christmas time too. Do you think about making hot fig drinks in this holiday season? You will be surprised how tasty and healthy it is. Don’t hesitate to let me know your idea about these recipes.  

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5 Health Benefits of Green Mint Tea

Green mint tea is a great combination between green tea and mint leaves. Green tea is packed with many antioxidants, vitamins, minerals. Besides, green tea contains a most important polyphenol Catechin or epigallocatechin-3-gallate or EGCG which have anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties. A cup of green mint tea is added value with high amount of dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals in mint leaves. A daily cup of green mint tea will give you lot of antioxidants, lowering your risk for cancer, cardiovascular diseases, support weight-loss management, boosts immunity to fight damage from the environment, and fight skin damage.

Lowering cancer risks

Having one or two of green mint tea per day you can reduce the cancer risks. Green tea is thought to inhibit the growth of cancer cells and protect digestive systems. Early clinical studies suggest that the polyphenols in tea, especially green tea, may play an important role in the prevention of cancer. EGCG in green tea have anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties. This polyphenols may cause certain types of cancer cells to die in much the same way that normal cells die. Besides, green tea also boosts immunity, and its antioxidants fight damaging free radicals in the body.

Healthy heart

Green tea supports the heart system, activates circulation. Green tea may lower your risks of having stroke when they are part of your diet. According to a research of Japan’s National Cerebral and Cardiovascular Center, people who drank two or three cups of green tea daily had a 14 percent lower risk of stroke and those who had at least four cups a day had a 20 percent lower risk than who rarely drank green tea.

Until now it is unclear how the green can reduce the stroke in the people. Compound Catechins in green tea might increase plasma antioxidant capacity and anti-thrombogenic effects.

Weight loss

Green tea in this drink can stimulate your digestive system, blocks cholesterol absorption and removes excess body fat while adding essential nutrients for health and energy. In some researches, Green tea was proved to lower total cholesterol and raises HDL (“good”) cholesterol in both animals and people. And always remember: do not drink green mint tea when you are hungry, you might have nausea or anxiety attacks.

Detoxification

Both mint and green tea contain a lot of iron, vitamin and minerals to protect and enhance your body immune system. Green tea’s vitamins and minerals nourish your body, reduce stress, lower blood sugar, fight skin damage and boost the immune system. The B-complex vitamins in green tea can support the circulatory system and aid in the absorption of carbohydrates for energy. Vitamin E in both green tea and mint leaves work as an antioxidant, promotes healthy muscles and red blood cells, offers skin benefits and prevents aging. The high amount of vitamin C in green tea also support skin, muscles, bone and blood while offering strong antioxidant and immune defense.

Moreover, mint leaves will refresh and calm your mind, support your digestion and clean your stomach. In the ancient time, mint leaf was believed that it can clean the blood and refresh your mind. When combining green mint tea with honey you will have a super power drink to clean your stomach.

Fight skin damages

A cup of green mint tea is rich in Vitamins and mineral. Green tea is packed with antioxidants and vitamins such as Vitamin C, Vitamin B2, Folic acid, Vitamin E. The polyphenols EGCG in green tea may help prevent the development and growth of skin tumors.
Besides Mint leaves have a high content of salicylic acid, strong antiseptic qualities and menthol compresses. These ingredients can act as anti-pruritic agent and prevent acne. The salicylic acid loosens up dead skin cells, allowing them to shed easier. Therefore clogged pores and you will have clear skin with fewer pimples. Besides the high amount of Vitamin A (9%) in mint leaves may strengthen skin tissues and help reduce oily skin.

Consider drinking a cup of green tea instead of your morning coffee will bring you more health benefits than you expect. This traditional healthy drink will strengthen, hydrate and immune the body with more antioxidant and vitamin C supplement than any kind of tea. The mint leaves will refresh help to clear and calm your mind. Besides you can have brighter skin, weight loss and a healthy heart too. 

References:

Ito en, ‘‘Major component and Healthbenefits of Green Tea’’, itoen.c.jp, 7th October 7, 2013

Cancer.org, ‘‘Green Tea’’, cancer.org, 2nd April 2012

ST. Luke’s hospital at the vintage, ‘‘Green Tea’’, stukesvintage.adam.com, 14th October 2011

American Heart Associations, ‘Green tea coffee may helplower stroke risk‘, newsroom.heart.org, 14th March 2013

Cancer.org,‘‘Peppermint’’, cancer.org, 28 November 2008

Health benefits and Usages of Red Raspberry

Now is the Summer time in Finland. After a long and cold winter, the sun has come back to Finland. At this time, Finland is so beautiful with a lot of sunshine and the nature is so amazing. In summer, I usually spend a lot of time to wander around the forest and collect red raspberries. I like the wide red raspberries more than the grown raspberries because they are fresher and have excellent taste. Moreover, the wide berries are free in Finland. Whenever I have free time, I will go to forest and collect as much berries as I can. In the good day for picking red raspberries, I can collect 1 kg of red raspberry after 3 hours in the forest.  
Red raspberries are rich in Vitamin C, manganese, dietary fiber, vitamins B. This amazing fruit contains a high amount of antioxidant such as queretin, gallic acid that fight against cancer, heart circulatory disease and age-related decline. According to the tests conducted at the Hollings Cancer Center at the Medical University of South Carolina, the human body readily absorbs the ellagic acid from red raspberries. This ellagic acid helps our body to prevent cancer by inhibiting the abnormal division of cells which promoting the normal death of healthy cells. The ellagic acid in red raspberry causes apoptosis (cell death) in certain cancer cells.
Moreover, red raspberries also inhibit the production of COX-I and COX-II enzymes. COX-I and COX-II resulting in the reduction of pain associated with arthritis, gout and other inflammatory conditions.
Nutraceutical Value  Red Raspberry
Anthocyanins
20-65 mg/100 g
Ellagic Acid
3.39 mg/g dry wt
ORAC
24 umole TE/g
Salicylic Acid
5 mg/100g
Quercetin
12 mg/100g
Catechins
83 mg/100g
 With many health benefits, red raspberries are used for:
  • Fresh or frozen fruit: eating whole red raspberries is the best method to consume the nutrition and health benefits from red raspberries. The scientist has proved that consume the whole red raspberries is more beneficial than taking individual phytochemicals in the form of dietary supplements.
  • The red raspberry leaves are full of mineral and vitamin A, E, C and complex B vitamin. All of these vitamins strengthen our body immune system.  You can use the fresh leave or dried leaves to make raspberry leaf tea. The raspberry leaf tea has lots benefits such as throat gargles, morning sickness remedies, and fertility.
  • Red raspberry seed oil is used in cosmetic industry because it is rich in Vitamin E, omega-3 fatty acid and has a sun protection factor (SPF) of 24-50.
  • Red raspberries are great fruit to make low sugar red raspberry jam and red raspberry healthy drinks.

As I collected a lot of red raspberry in summer time and I did not want to waste my fresh red raspberry. I have tried and tested many different ways to use red raspberries such as: testing red raspberry healthy drinks, making red raspberry leaves tea, cooking raspberry jam. In my coming posts in this month I will share with you what and how do I use red raspberries.
In short, the best way to use red raspberries is eating the fresh one. Your body can absorb many antioxidants if you eat the whole red raspberry. The red raspberry leaves can be used as special herb tea. This herb tea can strengthen your immune systems. And don’t forget to make your own red raspberry jam. Believe me, red raspberry jam is the best jam ever. When you do it, you can see a very big difference between homemade jam and the jam you buy in super market. 
Here is some general information about the red raspberry’s health benefits and how to use it. Do you like this post or not? Tell me what you think about it. Thank you for spending time with me and see you again in later post about red raspberries.

References

Berry Healthy Network.  ‘‘Health and Healing Fact Sheets: Red Raspberries’’. Berryhealth.fst.oregonstate.edu. Web August 1, 2013
Local harvet. ‘‘Red raspberry leave tea’’. localharvest.org. Web August 6, 2013

5 main types of Teapot: Advantages and disadvantages


There are many types of teapots in the market now. Once you type the ‘‘teapot’’ keyword in Google, you can receive a million results. I know it is difficult for finding and choosing the right types of teapots. So that in this post I list 5 main types of teapots, their advantages, disadvantages and some tips for choosing the right one. Five main teapots are Ceramic teapots, Porcelain teapots, Clay/ Yixing teapots, Glass teapots and Enameled Cast-iron teapots.

Ceramic teapots

The Ceramic teapot is suitable for all families of tea. This teapot is particularly recommended for fragile and delicate tea such as green tea or white tea.

Advantages:

The ceramic material offers higher heat retention than others material such as Glass, Porcelain. The enamel coating of ceramic teapot makes these teapots do not absorb tea flavor. 

Disadvantages: None

Tips:

Check the pouring spout and handle to make sure they are in straight edge. Make sure you can lift and place the teapot at the right angle to pour tea without straining your wrist.

Porcelain teapots

The Porcelain teapot is a good ideal for fragile and delicate tea like green tea or white tea. As I was saying in the post ‘‘4  notices when buying teapots’’, I got a little Porcelain teapot. And I am satisfied with my porcelain teapot for brewing green tea.
Advantages:
Similar to the Ceramic teapot, the Porcelain teapot does not absorb tea flavor.
Disadvantages:
The Porcelain teapot is not suitable with the tea required longer brewing time such as herbal tea or black tea.
Tips:

You can use Porcelain teapot for brewing tea required a long time like black tea or herbal tea by using tea warmer or felted tea cozy. The tea warmer can enhance the heat retention of the porcelain teapot.

Clay teapots/ Yixing teapots


The Clay teapot/ Yixing teapot is the best teapot for brewing Oolong and Pu-er teas.
Advantages:
The clay or Yixing teapots are memory teapots. Sides of the teapot absorb the tannins in the tea when brewing and create deposits that build up over the successive of infusions.  The more the teapot is using the better it will reveal the wealth of aromas in the tea infused in it.
Disadvantages:
Use one Clay teapot for only one main type of tea Oolong or Pu-er teas. Do not mix different types of tea in the Clay/ Yixing teapot because this type of teapot remembers the tea flavor.  Moreover, this teapot does not go well with white tea and green tea.
Tips:
Be careful with the cheap Clay teapot and Yixing teapot because the cheap one may deteriorate quickly.
There are three rules for choosing the Clay and Yixing teapots
  • The tip of the spout and the top of the handle will be level with the rim of the teapot.
  • The lit should be fit the opening in the teapots as close as possible, so it does not move.
  • The handle and the spout should be perfect aligned.

 

Glass teapots

The glass teapot is ideal for blooming flower tea and stylish leaves unfurling.
Advantages:
The glass teapot offers the neutrality and veracity as ceramic teapots. Their smooth surface is suitable for all types of tea and does not affect the taste. Most designed glass teapots are equipped with infusion strainers. You can remove the strainer when preparing tea bag.
Disadvantages:
The glass teapot is not ideal for heat retention and the tea required more time brewing such as herbal tea or black tea.
Tips:
You can use teapot warmer or felted tea cozy to increase the heat intention or maintain the heat. The good felted tea cozy can keep the glass teapot hot for half an hour or more.

Enameled cast-iron teapots

The enameled cast-iron teapot is suitable with all types of tea but not recommend for delicate teas such as Green tea, Oolong and Pu-er tea.

Advantages:

They can keep the tea hot for an hour. The enameled cast-iron teapot is great for brewing tea requiring high heat such as black tea or herbal tea. The enameled cast-iron material can distribute the heat evenly inside the pot. Besides, the enameled coating makes it easier to clean and prevent the tea from contacting with the cast iron.

Disadvantages:

The enameled cast-iron teapot is not recommended for delicate teas such as white tea, green tea Oolong tea and Pu-er tea.
The enameled cast-iron teapots can be heavy and difficult to handle. It can be easy to over steep your tea if you don’t use infuser. 

Tips:

Remember you get what you pay for when buying the enameled cast-iron teapot. Make sure the enameled cast-iron is good if you don’t want the metallic smell affect your tea.
It is time for ending my discussion about some advantages, disadvantages and tips for choosing 5 main teapots. If you like my post, take note advantages and disadvantages of teapots that you like. And now, it is your turn to find your favorite teapot based on your favorite teas and your own demanding usage. If you have any other ideas about this post let me here your opinion.

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4 Notices when Buying Teapot



Teapot plays very important role in brewing successful a cup of tea. The suitable teapot can enhance the tea flavor and bring out the tea benefit. With me my teapot is not only brewing teapot but also a cute reminder of my family. In the picture is my favorite porcelain teapot. My mom gave it to me as a gift when I left Vietnam three years ago. Whenever I see the teapot I remember my mom, my family and Vietnam. I like this teapot so much because it is not so small and I can brew tea for one or two people with it. Besides, the porcelain teapot suits perfectly with my favorite green tea.  How about you? Do you have your favorite teapot and what is your teapot’s story? Did you have any confuse or difficulty when choosing the right teapot?

I know in the tea shop or internet there are many type of teapot and it is very confusing to find and choose the teapot. For that reason, in this post I want to share my experience and some tips for choosing a good teapot. There are four main points you should pay attention when choosing a new teapot: Material, Size, Shape and the Quality of teapot.

Material: You should highly pay attention when choosing the teapot’s material. Each of teapot’s material will get on well with one or some special types of tea. You can choose the teapot’s material based on your favorite teas. Here are some suggestions:

  • The Ceramic, porcelain and enameled cast-iron teapots are suitable for many types of tea such as green tea, black tea, herbal tea and so on…
  • The Clay teapot is ideal for Pu-er and Oolong tea because it remembers the tea fragrances and enhances the tea flavor.
  • The Glass teapot is suitable with the artisan (booming) teas or stylish leaves tea.

You can find more information about the teapot’s material in 5 main types of teapots. This post gives you more about the material and tips of what you should notice when choosing teapots. 

Size: When buying the teapot, do not buy too large teapot. If you only use the teapot for decoration or company’s meeting you can choose the big one. Some delicate teas such as Oolong, Pu-er tea need to be infused in a small quantity of water to release their precious fragrances. 

Shape: Now, there are so many types of teapot in the market with different size and shapes. You might want to buy some very creative or special shape of teapot. But remember the main aim of teapot is brewing tea. Choose the teapot that suits to your hand. Always lift the teapot to ensure it pours well and you like the grip. But how to choose the right teapot when you buy it online? You can’t touch it and don’t know how the grip is working. Meanwhile, some special teapots are handmade and focus more in the art or decoration targets. I think the safest way is buying the teapot with traditional shape with grip that you have used it before. If you love creative teapot or special designed teapot make sure you can return the teapot if you don’t like it. If you have another idea about buying teapot online, share it with me.

Quality: The good teapot will be costly because some high quality teapots are handmade and designed for special types of tea. Especially with the clay teapot, it is worthy to buy the expensive one because the more you use the teapot, the better tea it brewed. Beware of cheap tea pots when buying metal and enameled cast-iron teapot. The low quality teapot may deteriorate quickly and your tea taste might have slightly metallic flavor.


In general, whenever you want to buy a new teapot, remember to choose the material suit with your favorite tea, Shape and Size match with your aim of using teapot. Find the good quality teapot and beware of the cheap teapot. I hope you can use some tips in this post to find the teapot which suits with your hobby and your favorite tea. If you have other ideas about choosing the teapot, share with me. I would like to know your teapot story and your experience of choosing your favorite teapot.