Monday, September 10, 2012

Lemongrass Tea

My grandma has been keeping this little gem to herself and I don't know why she didn't share it sooner!  (It's okay grandma, just don't let it happen again) J She learned to make lemongrass tea from her friends in Hawaii.  Her and my grandpa learned of the health benefits and started drinking it and could tell a difference in my grandpa’s blood pressure while drinking just one glass a day.  After trying it one day recently at my grandparent's house and then reading about the many health benefits my mom made some a couple weeks ago and her and my dad love it as well.  I am in agreement-it’s tasty!  It’s much different than lemon water and has a very mild flavor, but yet is so refreshing.  I have made this tea hot and cold and while both are delightful, I think drinking it cold wins by a small margin.  Ask me again this winter and it may be different!  If you're expecting a strong iced tea flavor you will be disappointed; it doesn't have that at all-it's more like flavored water.

The benefits of lemongrass are numerous.  It’s full of antioxidants, caffeine-free, has a calming effect and can help with insomnia, detoxifies the body, has natural vitamins and minerals that can lower blood pressure, and has even been shown to cause cancer cells to die off.  On top of all that, it helps clear your skin.  I’m sold.  Since it is a natural diuretic you should not drink this all day long; moderation is the key.  I keep it to one glass per day.  After doing some research the only people that need to stay clear of lemongrass are those who are pregnant or breastfeeding.  One of the benefits of the tea is that it helps stimulate the uterus so if you’re pregnant there is fear that it could cause uterine contractions.  I just used the word uterus in a food blog…didn’t see that one coming did you?!

Last week, my mom was so sweet and bought me some lemongrass at the Farmer’s Market.  She got me about 10 stems and it was $3.  I call them the “big” Dillon’s in Wichita because there are Dillon’s stores that carry regular groceries and then there are the “big” ones that have TONS of groceries.  At the “big” Dillon’s last week I saw lemongrass in the produce section and it was $1.99 for two stems.  Much more expensive than the Farmer’s Market, but still available at the grocery store which is good to know.  When my mom gave me the lemongrass last week, my brother Tyler knew exactly what it was and wanted me to leave him some so he could make his own.  Then, just Saturday his friend was at the football game with us and she makes it all the time.  Clearly-I have been out of the loop…so, apologies if I am sharing something that everyone already knows all about, but I just learned to make it.

To start, cut off the top "grassy" dried out portion of two pieces of lemongrass and chop off the bottom ends.  Peel off the outermost layer and then slice the lemongrass all the way down the middle, hot dog style if you will. :)  Then, chop it in to small pieces.

Place approximately 3 cups of water in a saucepan and add lemongrass. Bring to a boil and let boil/simmer for about 20 minutes.  You will lose some of the water, but it should not run out. 

Strain your liquid into a pitcher.  You want a small strainer, so I used my tea pot and strained it through that mesh.  You could also use a flour sifter if you don't have a tiny strainer.

Add cold water to your pitcher to dilute.  You really can't mess this up; you can make it as strong or mild as you want.  (And, hopefully you have a more mature husband than mine who asked why there was urine in the refrigerator.  He is yet to try this...and he was sick last week and I wasn't.  I'll just leave it at that.) 

Pour over ice and enjoy!  Trust me, it's totally worth the effort and my pitcher lasts me all week.  Your healthy body will thank you!

*To make this hot, simply use one stalk and chop up the same way.  Only put enough water in the saucepan for one cup/mug of tea.  Allow to boil and simmer for several minutes and then strain.  Enjoy it hot right away.

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