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The many uses of tea

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We all know that tea leaves make a great brew for drinking both hot and cold, with or without milk or sugar.  Some prefer lemon in their tea, or a chai masala.

Here are a few uses for tea:

The first tip is one I often used with my children when they lost a tooth

If you’ve had a tooth pulled  or a child has lost a tooth to  stop bleeding, place i a dry clean tea-bag. Bite down gently. It will stop the bleeding and form a clot.

 An astringent/skin toner

The tannin in tea makes an excellent astringent. Simply wipe a wet tea bag over your face.

Razor Burn

Tea bag will relieve the pain!

Cure canker sores:

Place a wet tea-bag directly over the canker sore for several minutes. The tannin in the tea will draw out the moisture and dry it so that it will heal.

Infected cut:

Soak a tea bag in cool water and place it over the site of injection to relieve the pain

Foot deodorizer:

Boil a quart of water and add 6 tea-bags. Let it steep for about 15 minutes, and then let it cool completely. Pour it into a  bucket and soak your feet in it for about 20-30 minutes. After this dry your feet completely and don’t wash or rinse them. The tannin in tea will close your pores, which will prevent further perspiration and it kills the bacteria which causes the odor. Also soak your tennis shoes in this tea mixture to help remove and stop the odor.

Medicinal uses:

Tea is a great natural remedy for soothing sore throats, helping to loosen coughs, and terrific for upset stomachs.

 Puffy eyes:

Dip two tea bags in hot boiling water, quickly remove, allow them to cool completely then squeeze out excess water them out and  apply them to your eyes for about 20 minutes.  This also works if you use a used tea bag.

Hair rinse:

Wash your hair with a cup of herbal tea after shampooing to make the hair silky and shiny

Ease the pain of minor burns:

Allow boiled tea to cool completely and then apply it straight onto a minor burn including sunburns. The tea will act as an analgesic and relieve the pain. Do not use tea that contains honey, lemon, or milk, sugar or cream, as these may aggravate the burn.

Plant Fertilizer

Sprinkle tea leaves in your garden or around your plants. They work as an excellent fertilizer, and roses seem to thrive with them.

Tea in composting:

I use used tea and also leftover tea in my compost bin as it accelerates the decomposition and creates an acid rich compost.

Dye fabric:

Muslin fabric, or most natural fibers can be tea stained to appear aged. Brew tea same as you would to drink, or stronger for more colour, soak fabric in liquid until it appears a bit darker than you would like the fabric to be. Even soaking overnight will give a stronger colour.  Black tea gives the darkest hue. Keep in mind that it will lighten as it dries. Finished items can also be ‘tea stained’ in the same manner. An old blouse, or a piece of embroidery, or just about anything you can think of, can be ‘aged’ in this way.

Make the wood shine:

Clean  wood furniture or wood floors with a soft cloth dipped in a freshly prepared tea to add shine to them.  I alternate moppings of my teakwood kitchen floor with strong tea and white vinegar.

Cleaning mirrors:

Dip a soft cloth into a tea solution and clean the mirrors for extra shine.


Dry tea leaves out of a teabag make a wonderful potpourri. Just dump in small dishes and place all around the home. Makes for a light, natural scent. You can add oils to the leaves if you desire.

Dish Detergent

Have a caked on grease cooking pan? Drop a tea bag into it and allow to soak over night. The acid in the tea helps to break down the caked on grease.

green tea leaves

There are many uses for tea in cooking:

Cooking a turkey or chicken:

Use one tea-bag and one cup of water to cook your bird in for incredibly long lasting moistness.

Tea  and fish:

 Stuff a whole fish with tea leaves before steaming it to lessen the fishy taste and smell.

Tea Smoked Duck:

Add tea leaves to the fire source for smoking duck.

These amazing photos are from About Eat-My-Heart-Out 你吃,我看 / Bob 

Tea Marbled Eggs

Infuse boiling water with tea leaves to give eggs a marbled appearance on the whites when hard boiled. Prior to the final minutes of cooking, the eggshells are slightly cracked, thus allowing the teas to seep through and create this magical "marbled" effect; either green or black teas are great for this.  Spices are often added to this mixture for "Son-In-Law Eggs."


Dried leaves can add crunch and flavor for rubs to coat fish, meat or poultry or to be used as a garnish, particularly  young  green or white tea leaves. Smoked teas lend a deep, dark smokiness to poultry and seafood. I like using Russian Caravan or Lapsang Souchong for an extra special taste to infuse foods with a smoky quality.

Braising liquid:

Brewed tea can be used as a braising liquid, or as a seasoning for marinades. As the base for a sauce, fruit juices gain depth of flavor with the addition of tea. A small handful of tea leaves adds an herbaceous flavor and a golden glow to cream sauces.

Tea in baking:

Add tea to a cake or shortbread for a special taste.  Melt  butter with tea leaves in it, allow to stand for a few minutes and then sieve out the leaves. Chill the butter to firm and proceed with your favorite recipe for icings or cakes.

Recipes using tea:

Braised Tea Chicken


4 T black tea leaves

2 quarts  water
olive oil, enough to coat pan for searing
4-6 cloves garlic smashed then finely chopped
1 1/2-2 cups thinly sliced  onions

1/2 cup jaggary or date palm sugar

1/2 cup  fresh chopped tomatoes (squeeze out seeds)

2 1/2 lb. chicken

 salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Optional-dry chiles to taste


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Prepare tea by brewing it in  cool water.

Strain out the leaves and set aside the liquid.

Sauté the garlic and onions in the olive oil until softened.

Add sugar and tomatoes and stir until sugar dissolves.

To braise, place the chicken in a large heavy roasting pan, season with salt and pepper. Cover with the sautéed mixture. Add the brewed tea then bake, covered, until the chicken is tender, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours until no pink is showing. 

Variation add your favourite spices.  Chinese 5-spice is a nice choice.

 Japanese Style Cold Sesame Noodles

The first time I had these noodles they were prepared by our exchange student Masa from Japan.  He even taught me the proper way to slurp noodles.  Not easy if you hae always tried to eat noodles quietly!

1/2 pound  somen noodles (extra flavour and great colour use green tea noodles)

1 teaspoon sunflower  oil
2 Tablespoons Japanese lite soy sauce,  divided
6  cloves garlic,  roasted and minced
1 one-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
4 Tablespoons black tea, brewed to regular strength and cooled, divided
3 Tablespoons tahini or sesame paste
1 Tablespoon sesame oil
1-1/2 teaspoons dry sherry
1-1/2 teaspoons rice vinegar
1-1/2 teaspoons of sugar (I use Splenda)

1/8 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
1/2 teaspoon chili oil  to taste

3 green onions  finely sliced
1 Japanese or Asian cucumber  peeled, juilenned 

Bowl of ice cubes

Cook the somen to al dente tenderness; rinse with cold water and drain very well.

Place into a bowl and mix with 1 teaspoon oil and one-half teaspoon soy sauce; set aside.

Place into mortar and pound with pestle: the garlic, ginger, and  tablespoons water into a smooth thin paste; set aside.

Place the tahini (sesame paste), 1-1/2 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 tablespoon tea, sesame oil, sherry, vinegar, sweetener or sugar, five-spice powder, and chili oil into a mixing bowl and blend together well.

Add the garlic/ginger mixture and the scallions and mix again until thoroughly combined. Add the somen to the mixing bowl and toss the pasta with the sauce until completely coated. Transfer to a serving dish and top with the  cucumber.

 Serve immediately in bowls with ice cubes.  You are to mix the ice cubes to guarantee the noodles are very cold.  Slurpaway!

Traditionall the Japanese use more soy and it is very salty.  I prefer using low sodium soy.

My Favourite Tea Smoked Salmon

1 cup long grain rice
1 cup sugar
1 cup oolong tea or black lychee tea
1 piece aluminum foil
2 wet cloths

In a wok lined with foil add the rice, sugar and tea. Mix well and turn wok on medium heat. When mixture starts to smolder, place bamboo steamer on top. Seal the seam between the bamboo steamer and wok with wet cloths. Turn wok down to low and smoke for 15 minutes. Turn wok off and let smoke another 15 minutes.




1 pound salmon fillet, center cut, skin off
1/2 cup mirin
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 cup ginger julienne
1 teaspoon toasted Szechwan peppercorns

Cut the salmon in 4 equal pieces and place in a small pan or baking dish. In a bowl, mix together mirin, water, sugar and salt, stir until dissolved. Add ginger and peppercorns to liquid. Pour brine on salmon and marinate for 1 hour. Pull salmon out of brine and place in a bamboo steamer over the above smoked tea and steam as above.

Variation this is great using Steel Head or Brook Trout.

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The Many Uses Of Tea