How To Ferment Your Own Tea Leaves
Fermenting anything is always a good idea, wouldn’t you agree? I love fermented foods, such as kimchi, miso, pickled vegetables, kombucha, etc. Fermentation packs foods with probiotics, which are absolutely necessary in a healthy diet. Your digestive system is packed full of beneficial bacteria which aid in digestion, but the common American diet does nothing but damage these bacteria, making it so they can’t do their job as effectively. Foods with chemicals, artificial dyes, sugars, and GMO’s kill off beneficial bacteria and make it possible for those unwanted bacteria’s that make you sick to be able to thrive. Try to add a fermented food or drink product to your diet everyday, in addition to your probiotic supplement.
Fermented tea leaves are a common staple food in the country of Myanmar, where they use them for the Lahpet Thoke salad, a fermented tea leaf salad with beans. It can be difficult to find fermented tea leaves in the United States, but luckily with a little work you can make your own so you always have it handy.
1. Begin with a dry, whole-leaf green tea, preferably organic.
2. Soak in hot water for 15-20 minutes, then remove and take out the harder stems and sticks.
3. Rinse several times and then soak in cool water for several hours. The longer you soak the less bitter it will be so do so according to your own tastes.
4. Drain and squeeze dry, then process in a food processor with herbs and spices according to your taste. Possibilities can include:
- The juice of at least one-half large lemon or a small lime and salt (required)
- And any combination of the following (optional) according to your taste: ginger or galangal, garlic, fresh chilies (or other peppers), green onions, cilantro.
- Don’t be afraid to experiment. I have added ground dried spices including cumin, turmeric, coriander, ginger, dried red pepper, etc. Dried spices such as these are used freely everywhere from Morocco in the West to Myanmar (Burma) in the East.
5. After you puree the mixture store it in an airtight container or even a plate tightly covered with saran-wrap for 2-3 days in a cool-dry place. It will be ready to use!
How to tame the harsh flavor of red-onion, shallots or any sharp-tasting raw onion:
1. Rub with salt and squeeze some lemon. Let sit for about ten minutes. Rinse and then soak ten more minutes in ice-cold water.
2. Simply soaking in ice-cold water without the salt and lemon will work quite well too.