Posts Tagged With: sweet tea

Books, Hot Tea and a New Bed

Me with my books again

Me with my books again

Ok,  I am really deep inside, a reader… not a writer. I write because I have so much that I want to share with my family and friends.Writing is my way of keeping those memories and stories alive. I set a goal of reading at least one book every month and writing at least one post every week. Then life happens and I struggle to keep up with those goals… But I think this will make reaching one goal much easier.

New White fence head board that Tom made for me.

New White fence head-board that Tom made for me.

I read almost every evening in my bed before we all pile into it at night. I spend hours and hours in my bed with a book, so when my 15-year-old sleigh bed literally crashed to the floor at 3 am in July, I was heartbroken. Tom and I did shop for several months to replace the bed. I knew what I wanted, a simple picket fences style head-board or foot board, but never found one. So, as the summer closed I was still bed-less. Tom finally did pickup a frame to put the mattresses on but it still was not the same.

headboard in progress pine picket fence style

headboard in progress pine picket fence style

So this Nov I asked Tom make me a head-board for my birthday. I explained what I was looking for and he took it from their. In a couple of weekends he had made the above headboard for me. I was so thankful to finally get my world back in order. When he hooked up that frame to the new headboard I was so emotionally relieved.I had a new nest.I could finally read and sleep well at night again.

I am also a tea drinker…. not a coffee gal. I don’t own a coffee maker and have never felt the need to pay 4.50 for a cup of anything other than hot spiced wine in the middle of a German Winter Fest. So from daylight to dark I have several types of tea that I drink through out my day. usually I start my morning off with iced tea and then move into the hot teas, unless the temperature outside is in the eighties and then it is Sun tea, Sweet tea or Sassafras tea all day. They say the health benefits are better for teas, but I drink them because of the never-ending different flavors. I started my habit young with my grandmothers Texas Iced tea and grew in a tea lover. In my teens I spent hours in a wonderful used book store/Tea house in Boulder Colorado where you could buy from the local Celestial Seasonings  tea company blends or try simple black or green teas. They also had the loveliest white china cups and sauces ever!

fresh made Sassafras Tea

fresh made Sassafras Tea

  So, now that I have my favorite reading area back I am soooo happy!  I am able to snuggle up in my quilt or comforter and have a cup of hot steamy tea again. I know it sounds a little funny how happy these things make me, but it really is the simple things in life that give us our biggest pleasures.

Categories: About me, blogging, Books, Colorado, furniture, Home, ice tea, writing | Tags: , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Do you like the flavor of Root Beer? Make your own Sassafras Tea.

fresh made Sassafras Tea

fresh made Sassafras Tea

Foraging for the root that made A& W Root Beer famous is a family hobby. We love the taste and smell of Sassafras tea in the spring time. In our small West Virginia cottage, tea is a staple of life. I prefer it cold with a little sugar but it is also nice as a hot tea with honey. Sassafras is a wild tree/bush that is almost considered a weed or filth in the Appalachian mountains. Farmers  regularly mow the bushes down for pasture weed control. So to find sassafras you just need to look along road sides and abandoned fields.

look for leaves that are lobed..sometime with three like this or mitten style with two, one large lobe and one small

look for leaves that are lobed..sometime with three like this or mitten style with two, one large lobe and one small

    This batch of roots, that Tom gathered, came from his Highway Crew. They have been removing dead trees from an area in our state that was hit hard by a fall storm and they needed to remove several damaged and dying Sassafras Trees in order to clear a section of the road. Tom brought home a couple of pounds of roots and I took the smallest and youngest to make tea. As you can see in the following photo the roots have a sliver skin cover on them, then a red bark that is  covering a white root. The silver skin is the only thing that needs removed when making tea. The red bark gives the tea its color and the white root adds the flavor.

young Sassafras roots ready to clean

young Sassafras roots ready to clean

  After cleaning and removing the silver skin of the roots, you need  a pot large enough to boil the roots in.I personaly use a 10 quart stock pot.It  easily makes a gallon of tea with lots of room to spare.

ready to boil cleaned roots

ready to boil cleaned roots

Into this stock pot I put about a gallon of water. Then I add 4 or 5 roots and boil. The time to make a tea  is around 30 minutes to 40 minutes depending on how strong you want the flavor. Tom loves the “root beer” flavor so we boil ours about 40 minutes. The hot tea is then poured through cheese cloth and a strainer and sugar added to the pitcher. I use 3/4 cup of white sugar to every gallon if tea. Mix well and chill the tea several hours and or add ice.

Tea stained pitcher ready with strainer and cheese cloth

Tea stained pitcher ready with strainer and cheese cloth

   The roots dry on a dishtowle  and are reused several times. We boil them at least three times and the favor,color and scent remains the same every time. One of the benefits to making this tea is the wonderful aroma that fills the house. The sweet scent of root beer fills the house within minutes of setting the roots on the counter, then intensifies with a rolling boil on the stove. Two pounds of roots lasts us for about two months as we drink the tea slowly. On the plus side this tea contains no caffeine and the tea needs less sugar. Sassafras has no bitterness or acidic flavors to cover up. So for a foraged, cold or warm drink that teases great, I think that is worth digging up a few roots every year.

  Hope that the next time you are thinking a cold glass of tea to sip on the porch, you will consider trying Sassafras tea as great way to cool off and enjoy the wonderful gift that nature has given us.

Categories: country cooking, family fun, Foraging, ice tea, West Virginia | Tags: , , , , , | 9 Comments

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