Are you one of the over 158 million Americans who drink tea? If so, maybe these words are relatable as you sip your steaming cup of hot tea or drink that refreshing glass of iced tea ... calming, de-stressing, centering, relaxing.
According to legend, tea has been consumed since 2737 BC. The ancient Emperor of China, Shen Nung, was boiling some water to drink when leaves from a nearby tea bush blew into the pot. When the emperor smelled the fragrant brew, he decided to taste it. Because he enjoyed the flavor of his impulsive experiment and continued drinking the new brew, tea soon became a favorite beverage in China and then spread to Europe and the Americas.
Thanks to the emperor, tea is now the second most popular drink in the world and is second only to water. The U.S. is the third-largest importer of tea and Americans enjoy a variety of types and flavors. The true types of tea are black, green, white, dark and oolong. Teas are also made with a blend of tea leaves and fruits, herbs and spices. This can also include chai tea.
Of course, there is also the question about whether chai tea is truly tea. The name "chai" is actually the Hindi word for "tea." The Hindi term chai actually refers to a strong brew of spices that is typically made with milk and sweetened with sugar or honey. Recipes for the blend vary across cultures and continents but traditionally include black tea mixed with spices like cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, peppercorn and ginger.
The delicious flavors are enough reason to drink tea but there are also numerous health benefits associated with tea, as well. Tea consumption supports wellness when combined with a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle. Tea also counteracts tiredness and benefits work performance, so you are not limited to coffee for that morning pick me up. Black tea has also been shown to reduce blood pressure. Daily green tea consumption can reduce the chances of developing some types of cancer. Tea does have beneficial properties but drinking too much can interfere with the absorption of iron or cause acid issues.
One of the unique things about tea is that all of the types of teas come from the same plant, the Camillia sinensis. The different types are created by the method used to harvest and treat the leaves. What many people do not know is tea bushes can be grown in Arkansas.
Tea plants are available from mail-order sources and can be used as shrubbery for your landscape or as a source of tea leaves for making your own blends of tea. To learn more about how to grow your own tea bush visit our website at https://bit.ly/3JUX56T.
Whatever your reasons for drinking tea, January is a great time to sit down and enjoy a cup to celebrate National Hot Tea Month. For fun ideas to celebrate during this mostly cold month, visit our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/GarlandExtensionHomeLife. You can also try this healthier version of a tasty chocolate scone to partner with your favorite blend of tea. Let's face it nothing says tea party more than scones and hot tea.
To find out more about Extension programs, call our office at 501-623-6841 or visit us at 236 Woodbine St.
Hot Chocolate Buttermilk Scones
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
½ cup sugar
1 envelope hot chocolate powder mix
2 ½ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
½ cup unsalted butter, cold, cut into cubes (1 stick)
¼ cup plain Greek or regular yogurt
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
3 tbsp. milk, 2% or less
½ cup powdered sugar
3 tbsp. milk, 2% or less
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, hot chocolate mix, baking powder and baking soda.
Slice the butter into cubes and crumble through the flour mixture until it feels sandy.
Add the buttermilk and yogurt to gently form a dough.
Transfer the dough to a well-floured work surface and divide and pat to form two balls.
Use a rolling pin to roll into a circle about 1 inch thick.
Transfer each circle to a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper and lightly floured.
Using a sharp knife cut the dough into eight wedges like a pizza.
Brush each wedge with the milk.
Bake in the oven for about 20-25 minutes until well risen and golden brown.
Let cool while you prepare the icing.
Whisk together the powdered sugar and three tbsp. of the milk. Add more milk if needed to bring the icing to a runny consistency.
Drizzle each wedge with some icing.
Nutrition Facts: Servings: 16 Calories per serving: 176
Total fat 6.5g; saturated fat 3.9g; cholesterol 17mg; sodium 152mg; total carbohydrate 27.3g; dietary fiber 1.4g; total sugars 12.6g; protein 3.3g; vitamin D 4mcg; calcium 72mg; iron 1mg; and potassium 141mg.
Recipe adapted from www.foodgracious.com analyzed by www.verywellfit.com.
Garland County will conduct PAT training sessions at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Jan. 26. Reservations are required for each session, which are limited to 12 participants. Call the Garland County Extension Office at 501-623-6841 for reservations. The cost is $20; checks are preferred.
There are several 4-H Clubs for Garland County youths who are 5 to 19 years old. For more information on all the fun 4-H activities that are available, call Carol Ann McAfee at the Extension Office, 501-623-6841, or email her at [email protected]
Master Gardener information
Master Gardener meetings are held on the third Thursday of each month at the Elks Lodge. Meetings are open to the public and guests are welcome. For more information, call Luke Duffle at 501-623-6841 or email [email protected]
Interested in joining an existing Extension Homemakers Club? EHC is the largest volunteer organization in the state. For more information on EHC, call Alison Crane, family and consumer sciences agent, at 501-623-6841 or email her at [email protected]