Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Decaffeinating Tea

The Charleston Tea Plantation in Charleston, SC, answered many of my questions about my (sometimes) favorite beverage.   They had acres of plants.   The top leaves or new growth of the fast growing plants are removed every 90 days.   The leaves are dried - some for a very short time and others for up to a day and a half, making the difference between green and black tea.

Decaffeinated tea is typically made by rinsing the leaves with either dichloromethane or ethyl acetate.   Carbon Dioxide can also be used but this is a more expensive process.   Since it is difficult to find out how my decaffeinated tea is made, I am choosing to remove most of the caffeine myself.

The Charleston Tea Company provided us with an easy method to decaffeinate your tea (and coffee):

ICED TEA - Pour cold water over your tea bags (DO NOT USE BOILING WATER) and let it sit overnight at room temperature.   In the morning, remove your tea bags, add a sweetener if desired, and serve over ice.

HOT TEA - Bring your water to a rolling boil and pour it directly over your tea bag or loose leaf.   Do not use much water because this first brew contains the most caffeine and should be discarded.   Leave this to infuse for 45 - 60 seconds and then gently pour the tea out, leaving your tea bag or loose leaf in the cup.

So... sit back, and enjoy your cup of tea.

- Mary

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Gluten-Free Baking

Gluten–free Makeovers  by Beth Hillson  is a new book that I just bought at the Professional Association of Innkeepers International Conference last week in Charleston, SC.   I am so anxious to try some of the recipes.   She has flour mixes for regular bread, high protein bread, self-rising flour, cake and pastry flour and the basic blend.   I have only been using the basic blend and I am anxious to try the new flour blends.

Did you know that about 10 years ago the wheat industry introduced new hybrid flours?   This could be causing the reactions that people are experience today.   In fact 1 out of 3 people are either gluten-sensitive, gluten-intolerant or have celiac disease.   That is a very high number and probably why so many of our guests prefer to eat gluten free.   This is important to me both as an innkeeper and personally.   I don’t want to believe it but I am gradually accepting the fact that maybe when my joints hurt it is a reaction to gluten.

So… stay tuned as I test and share my new gluten-free recipes.

- Mary