Archive for Tea

Dragon Fruit Farm

The first time I found out about the dragon fruit was about two summers ago. I was talking to P, who had just came back from a biking trip across Vietnam. He kept talking about how much he enjoyed eating fresh dragonfruit or pitaya. I had never heard of such a fruit and wasn’t sure how it should look. All I can imagine was something with scales maybe? Then I saw pictures of the fruits and was immediately intrigued by how beautiful and strange it looked. There are three types of dragonfruit – red flesh, red fruit with white flesh and yellow fruit with white flesh.

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The photo above of dragonfruit farm taken by tk yeoh of flickr. Notice how the fruits are wrapped in bags. Possibly to protect them from birds, bats, and other natural elements. Dragonfruit farming has been very popular in Asia, from the Philippines to Malaysia. They seem to grow pretty easy and are also grown in San Diego greenhouses. The plants are also available for purchase from Florida. Some day I like to make a trip to these farm and see the real fruit tree. Preferably at harvesting time!

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Pomegranate Fruit & Leaf

Pomegranates are amongst one of the most popular superfruits. These superfruits are classified as fruits with very high antioxidant levels. They include blueberries, Acai berries, and goji berries. I remember years ago not many people heard of this fruit, let alone knew how to eat them. One summer I bought a huge pomegranate for my friend as a treat and she didn’t know how to eat it. The fruit ended up being part of her home decor.

pomeleavesNow you can find just the seeds (packaged in plastic containers) at the super market. It is commonly used in salads. The fruit itself consist of many small seeds. The colors range from white to deep red, and are called arils. I have found that the deeper the color, the more tangy the seeds. The ones my mom grows in her garden are very sweet. The skin is light red and the seeds are almost white to pink. It gets even sweeter when it ripes and the skin starts to crack a bit.

Just like the loquat fruit I mentioned earlier, the leaves of the pomegranate can also be used to make tea.  To continue reading this post, please go here.

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ABC Teahouse – Guava Leaves

Tea Review: Guava Leaves Tea by ABC Tea House

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Of the two brands of guava leaves tea I’ve tried, this is my favorite brand. It is from ABC Teahouse of China. The box said it contains 100% guava leaf.

The other brand I’ve had is Hung Phat from Vietnam. The box said it contain guava leaf and fruit. I actually thought this would be better as it contains fruit pieces. But I could not even finish my first cup. Of the whole box, I’ve only used no more then 3 tea bags. It is very bitter tasting. So after seeping the tea for several minutes, I opened up the tea bag from Hung Phat and found there were more then guava leaf and fruit pieces. It also look like small pieces of twigs or bark too. I don’t think it’s a bad thing, but they should at least label it on the package. And I would think that more pieces of the guava plant, the better. But in this case, it just taste worse.

The guava tea leaf from ABC Tea House is much smoother tasting and not as bitter. I opened this tea bag and did find all guava leaves. This brand was bought at a Chinese grocery store for $2.99 per box. As I wrote in a previous post, guava leaf has many benefits. In Asian countries, it is mostly used to soothe stomach aches and dieting. But recenlty I found out that it is also suppose to help with menstrual cramps too.

In the past couple of years, my menstrual cramps have been really painful. Studies show that adding more calcium to your diet would help with the cramps. So I drank more milk, ate more cheese and yogurt. Even tried taking calcium supplements, but they all seem to help in the beginning and the pain came back. Now that I started to drink guava tea leaf with the first sign of PMS, I have found that it has also help my mood swings. I have only been drinking this for 1 month and did notice a big improvement on my PMS already. But I can’t say how conclusive it is for me, so I’ll have to wait and see after 3 months of drinking.

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Rice Bran Handmade Soap

The past couple of years has been really good to olive oil. But the future may belong to rice bran oil. I had read so much of the benefits of this oil (and the rice bran powder) from many Japanese skincare company catalogs. They actually inspired me to make my own version of the rice bran soap. I searched all over town trying to locate the oil, including Whole Foods. They had almost every oil, but not rice bran. I also tried our local Japanese market, but they were very expensive for such a small bottle. But they did have a good selection of rice bran powder. I almost gave up, but finally came across a bigger Japanese market with a more reasonable price. About $12 for 64 fluid oz. ricebran1a4

Soap Ingredients: Rice Bran oil, Palm oil, Coconut oil, Soybean oil, Castor oil, Distilled water, Sodium hydroxide, Rice Bran Powder. So I finally got to make my first rice bran oil bar. It has become my favorite bar. I scented it with lychee and mandarin, very light fruity scent. I use it as a facial bar and it’s very moisturizing. The best part is using it as a shaving bar. It really leaves my legs super super soft. I even forgot to use moisturizer (or felt I didn’t need to use it anymore). In Japan, Rice Bran Oil is used to enhance your skin and hair. It is also used all over the world in a variety of cosmetics, especially for treating dry, mature skin. Rice bran oil can be used to make massage oil, bath oil, body butters, and especially soaps. Possibly anywhere in cosmetics making. It is full of antioxidants, such as Vitamin E. Vitamin E is also used in soapmaking as a natural preservative. Oils by Nature supplies, a specialty natural oils company that supply to soapmakers and gourmet food industries had an interesting list of the benefits of Rice Bran Oil. Some of which I will list here:

  • Provides moderate penetration with little greasiness
  • Promotes of collagen formation
  • Treats dry, mature skin
  • Provides smooth spreadability

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