I drink vats of tea. I buy looseleaf tea in a glass jar I take to the store and once home, brew the tea in either my small pot with a built-in strainer or in my daughter’s TARDIS infuser. I toss the spent leaves into my compost bucket rather than tea bags and packaging into a trash can.
Lately, I’ve been drinking chai tea and I’m nearly out. Upon closer examination of the few teaspoons remaining, I discovered an awful lot of orange peel, probably 10 percent at least by volume (I had thought all those bits were dried ginger!). And I call myself frugal.
I have been paying $30 a pound for dried orange peel!
That did it. I’ll make my own chai. I have looseleaf black tea, lots of whole spices and organic oranges on hand. (I eat organic peels only.)
Since recently making delicious candied citrus peels, I’ve begun to hoard orange peels. My younger daughter ate several oranges yesterday and I simply minced these up and set them on a cookie sheet along with some ginger to dry overnight in my oven (it has a pilot light…inefficient I know…landlord’s choice).
Did you know you can peel ginger quickly with a spoon? Why did I not learn about this until now? This 44-second video shows you how.
I combined the following spices for my blend:
- 1 part cinnamon sticks
- 1 part cloves
- 1 part cardamom pods
- 1 part star anise
- 1 part coriander seeds
- 1 part black peppercorns
- 1 part ginger
- 2 parts orange peel
I ground the first six spices up a bit in my mortar and pestle and combined everything with the looseleaf black tea.
The result tastes pretty good. When I polish this off, I’ll make another batch with more orange peel (I have so much!), ginger and cloves. I don’t know if I need so much star anise. The scent of it overtakes the others somewhat.
Often when I run out of an ingredient and feel the urge to make a trip to the store, what I truly need is a bit of creativity—and the realization that I have all I need.
- Looseleaf black tea (preferably Assam or Darjeeling)
- Minced, dried organic orange peel
Spices such as:
- Cinnamon sticks
- Whole cloves
- Cardamom pods
- Whole star anise
- Coriander seeds
- Black peppercorns
- Dried ginger
Combine tea, orange peel and desired spices. Brew tea as usual.