Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Serenity Now - Chinese Chrysanthemum Flower Tea

White Chrysanthemum Tea

You may be wondering about the mysterious silence in this space over the last several weeks. It would be the romantic in me to suggest that I have been indulging in the famous summer pastimes of picking berries across endless acres of flatland; idly draping my fingertips into the aqua waters of a swimming pool from a floating chaise; or stretching supine on the porch of a lakeside cabin, a tattered paperback poised in my line of vision.

Alas, life has been been, instead, rather infuriatingly pragmatic. First there is the air conditioner, still on the blink after three separate visits by the repairmen; then there's the roof, which now diverts downpours directly onto our windowsill; oh, and then there was my recent dogged pursuit of shutting down a scraper site that lifted my entire feed since Day 1. All this drama is enough to make one's hair start coiling into serpents as the mouth freezes open into a perpetual scream. It is not a good look.

Yet there really is no reason to loose your head over this stuff when there's a cup of golden chrysanthemum tea to restore your sense of calm and dignity. The Chinese have celebrated its powerful properties for at least as long as the ancient Greeks have been spinning their mythological tales.

Traditionally brewed as a tisane, dried chrysanthemum flowers are steeped in hot water where they instantly blossom once again, more delicate and transparent than when they were freshly alive, but with all the herbal qualities intact. Although I cannot personally attest to its medicinal success in cooling the body of fever, I can vouch for its cooling of the nerves during times of turbulence. Similar to chamomile, another flower known for its soothing effects, chrysanthemum flower tea possesses a more bold color and flavor, and a faster transport back to tranquility. Whether drunk hot or cold, sweetened or plain, you will not find anything even remotely like a tempest in your teacup.

White Chrysanthemum Tea Blossoms

The recipe, if you can call it that, is nothing more than tossing a small handful of blossoms into a teapot, followed by pouring water over them fresh from a boil. Allow the blossoms to expand, float, and steep until the tea color is a lively golden yellow. Decant through a tea strainer into individual cups. Serve with optional granulated sugar or honey. You can also brew an individual cup by poising a small strainer over the rim, filling it with a generous tablespoon of blossoms before proceeding to pour the water and steep as above. Simply lift the strainer, and your tea is ready for sipping.

Chrysanthemum tea can be found in Chinese grocers or online at Enjoying Tea or Tea Spring. (I have no vested interest in any retailer.)

This is for Cinzia of Cindystar, hosting Weekend Herb Blogging #290 for Haalo of Cook Almost Anything at Least Once, the mistress of this long-running and popular weekly event originally created by Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen.


Been There, Done That ~
Cherry Blossom Tea
Violet Granita
Halvah Ice Cream with Poached Apricots in Orange Flower Water


Other People's Eats ~
Chrysanthemum Tea Jelly from Noob Cook
Chrysanthemum and Honeysuckle Sorbet from Slashfood
Poached Stone Fruits with Jasmine and Chrysanthemum Flowers from A Food Lover's Journey


10 comments:

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

A wonderful tea! I cannot live without tea...

Cheers,

Rosa

bellini said...

Sitting with a cup of tea with honey is truly a mesmerizing experience. What better way to while away the hours and relax after a trying day or even better to start your day off right.

SallyBR said...

I feel the need for a cup right now!

(what a week this has been so far...)

I love all kinds of tea, but never had crysanthemum flower tea, will get some and try it

Desisoccermom said...

I could do with a cup of this tea any day of the week, to calm my nerves when things start getting out of control. Though I have to admit, I am always partial to the Indian tea, with milk, sugar and grated ginger.

Priya (Yallapantula) Mitharwal said...

That must be good, very new way, sounds superb :)

Sanjeeta kk said...

Have had Jasmine tea and Chamomile..but Chrysanthemum tea sounds exciting, Susan! Till now I use these dried flowers for face packs only, and now I know better use of them.

Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets said...

Lol at the Medusa (?) photo :). I absolutely adore that top shot -- really does give me such a feeling of serenity. Too bad chrysanthemum tea gives me the worst headache...

Simona said...

I used to have this lovely tea when dining at a favorite Chinese restaurant. I haven't had it since the restaurant closed down while I was on a short vacation. I hope life slows down a bit this month :)

Cindystar said...

oh Susan, who would not accept such a wonderful cup of tea?
and serenity should be our best companion ever! :-)
thanks so much for participating, round up is on line:
http://cindystarblog.blogspot.com/2011/07/whb-290-round-up-la-raccolta.html

Swati Sapna said...

Warm, fragrant, delicious... what more does a girl want?! :P just a good book to curl up with along with the cup of tea :)