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Matcha Panna Cotta

Matcha Panna Cotta

Special thanks to local chef and friend, Sookyung Lee for creating beautiful recipes featuring our Matcha Wakatake.  We are so grateful for her sharing this recipe with us!

Ingredients:

2/3 c whole milk
2/3 c heavy cream
1/4 c sugar
1 T Matcha Wakatake powder
1 T hot water
1/2 T gelatin powder
2 T water

Procedure:

1. Sprinkle the gelatin powder on top of room temperature water.  Stir and allow to bloom.

2. Sift matcha into a small bowl, add in hot water, and whisk so there are no clumps.

3. In a saucepan, add in the milk, heavy cream, sugar and stir to combine over medium heat. Bring the temperature to a simmer on low heat, do not let it come to a boil.

4. Remove the pan from the heat, once it reaches a simmer, and add in the whisked matcha and gelatin.

5. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve, into a bowl set on an ice bath. Stir the mixture gently.  When it starts to thicken, pour into serving cups and refrigerate until firm.

6.  Garnish with your favorite toppings and enjoy!

Variations for a summer treat!  Use Mango Infused Honey instead of raw sugar.  Garnish with mango purée and fresh mango hot days!

Matcha Panna Cotta With Mango

Grilled Peach, Prosciutto & Ghost Pepper Honey Flatbread

Celebrate the end of summer's harvest with a beautiful homemade pizza, courtesy of our friend, Darien Leigh, of @pantry.hill.  She beautifully combines the sweetness of grilled peaches, the savoriness of prosciutto and parmigiano reggiano, and the spiciness of arugula and Ghost Pepper Honey. This summer flatbread is elegant and complex, yet so easy in execution.

Ghost Pepper Honey, Peaches, and Prosciutto Pizza

Ingredients:

20 oz raw pizza dough (We use Portland Pie Co. Shipyard Beer Dough - available at Hannaford)
Olive oil for drizzling
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella 
1/2 cup shaved parmigiano reggiano
1/4 cup blue cheese crumbles
2 cups arugula
1/2 fresh lemon
2 peaches grilled* and sliced
1 shallot sliced
3 pieces of prosciutto torn into bite-sized pieces
Sea salt
Black pepper

Saratoga Tea & Honey Co. Ghost Pepper Honey

Ghost Pepper Infused Honey

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Roll pizza dough to desired thickness and place on a baking stone or baking sheet. Drizzle dough lightly with olive oil and spread oil evenly on the entire surface. 3. Sprinkle mozzarella, 1/4 cup shaved parmesan, blue cheese and half the sliced shallots evenly on the crust. Add salt and pepper.
4. Bake at 400 degrees until crust is crispy and mozzarella begins to brown (approximately 15 minutes). 
5. Remove crust from oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes. Top with arugula. Drizzle olive oil and lemon juice over the arugula. Add the sliced grilled peaches*, prosciutto, remaining shallots, and shaved Parmesan. Add sea salt and black pepper to taste.
6. Drizzle desired amount of Ghost Pepper Honey over the pizza. Slice and serve immediately.

*To grill peaches: oil grill grates. Heat grill to 500 degrees. Slice whole peaches in 4 large quarters. Place peaches flesh-side down on grill. Grill 5 minutes until peaches are warm and have char marks. Be sure not to over-cook or they’ll become mushy. Remove from grill and slice.

Flatbread with Ghost Pepper Honey

Ghost Pepper Honey Mojito

More than ever, this 2020 summer feels like a time of slowing down and enjoying what is around us.  Whether it's children splashing in water, crickets chirping, or the smell of the grill, simple pleasures of sharing time together seem all the more meaningful.  Darien Leigh of @pantry.hill captures this feeling of gathering with Adirondack refinement at her family's retreat up north, where they all enjoyed Ghost Pepper Honey Mojitos.  We hope you enjoy them, too, in good company.

Ghost Pepper Mojito

Yields: 1 cocktail

2 tablespoons Ghost Pepper Honey simple syrup* 
1.5 oz rum
10 fresh mint leaves
1/2 fresh lime cut into wedges
1/2 cup club soda
Ice cubes 
2 glasses (one for muddling and one for serving)
Muddler

Fine mesh strainer

Ghost Pepper Mojito

*Ghost Pepper Honey Simple Syrup:
2 parts honey
1 part hot water

Stir together until honey is dissolved.

Directions: 
Place mint leaves, limes and simple syrup into a sturdy glass. Muddle to crush the mint leaves and limes and extract the juice/flavors. Add rum. Fill separate cocktail glass with ice. Place fine mesh strainer over the top of the cocktail glass and strain the muddled rum mixture over the ice. Add club soda. Stir and garnish with lime wedge and extra mint leaves

Abacus-cadabacus, Focus Pocus! 🔮 📚

It’s back to school time and whether you’re doing your classes in person or virtually, you’ll probably need a little mental pick-me-up! To help you out with this, we’re featuring Focus Pocus as our Wellness Tea of the Month! Our brain-fog busting blend of powerful organic adaptogenic herbs; Ashwaganda, Tulsi, Brahmi, and Yerba Maté, give you the boost and peace of mind needed when those classes start up again! 

Focus Pocus contains caffeine from Yerba Maté. Yerba Maté has the strength of coffee and the health benefits of tea! Scientific studies (on animals) show that Yerba Maté improves short-term memory, enhances cognitive function and delivers a megadose of nutrition to your brain! Yerba Maté leaves contain 24 vitamins and minerals, 15 amino acids, and an abundance of antioxidants, no other plant in the world has a higher nutritional value!

Holy Basil, also known as Tulsi, is another herb you may be familiar with, it is one of the most widely-known adaptogenic herbs on the market. An adaptogen is a natural substance that helps your body adapt to stress and promotes mental balance. Scientific studies shows that holy basil has pharmacological properties that help your mind cope with many types of stress, exhaustion, sleep problems and forgetfulness. According to studies done by the Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine, Holy Basil has antidepressant and anti-anxiety properties comparable to diazepam and other antidepressant drugs. These studies found that people who took Holy Basil as a supplement felt less anxious, stressed, depressed, and alternatively more social!

Brahmi, also known as bacopa, water hyssop, and herb of grace, has been used for centuries in traditional Ayurvedic medicine as a memory and learning enhancer. Brahmi enhances the three aspects of memory which include long term memory, short term memory and retaining capacity. It has a positive effect on the hippocampus part of the brain that is responsible for intelligence, concentration and memory. Interestingly, the Brahmi leaf is shaped like a cerebellum, the part of the brain which helps in controlling concentration and memory.  Brahmi decreases the levels of cortisol, which is known as the stress hormone.  Research has also shown that Brahmi may help reduce ADHD symptoms; two studies in children found that supplementation of Brahmi significantly reduced ADHD symptoms, such as restlessness, poor self-control, inattention, and impulsivity in 85% of the test group! Other studies have proven Brahmi to be effective at lowering cortisol levels, thus reducing stress and anxiety.

A rising star on the herbal adaptogenic scene, Ashwaganda nourishes adrenal fatigue and a tapped-out nervous system. Ashwaganda root helps balance the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, or HPA axis, the central part of the stress response system, reducing cortisol levels, improving our ability to deal with stress, and improving sleep patterns! Anxiety is one of the main causes of insomnia and disruptive sleep cycles, so Ashwagandha is superb for those who are chronically tired and suffering from stress-related exhaustion.

Though not the main ingredients in this blend, cacao and peppermint add to the brain boosting effects of this tea! Regularly eating cacao was linked to improvements in working memory and visual information processing. Polyphenols in cacao were also found to increase calmness and contentedness and the flavanols could also enhance normal cognitive functioning and have a protective role on cognitive performance. Peppermint is shown to stimulate the hippocampus and increase oxygen saturation thus increasing alertness, memory, and enhancing cognitive functions. These two ingredients also adds a light mint-chocolatey taste that complements the Yerba Maté base!

Pair this with our Cinnamon Honey for an extra serotonin and dopamine boost!

Grab a bag of Focus Pocus for the student in your life, on sale through September 15th for $8!

Kabusecha Ochazuke with Salmon

Chazuke, or ochazuke, is a meal that gets its name from cha, meaning tea, and tsuke, meaning submerge. This Japanese dish includes pouring green tea over rice. Traditional variations include toppings of pickled vegetables like eggplant or daikon radish, proteins like salmon, tuna, sashimi, or roe, and vegetables like green onion, spinach, and mushrooms. 

This version of ochazuke includes salmon cooked two ways, a salty, umami version and a garlic, butter and herb version. It features one of our Teas of the Month, Kabusecha Takamado. This tea from Uji, Japan is covered two weeks before harvest, resulting in an infusion with less bitter and more umami characteristics. You may find this tea brings to the nose and tongue springy notes of spinach, pea shoots, and creamy nuts. This makes for a perfect pairing over rice and salmon, as it provides an umami depth of flavor in unison with the fish and fresh herbs. 

Salmon Kabusecha Ochazuke

Yields about 4-6 servings 

Prepare Jasmine Rice following package instructions.

Miso Salmon:

1 medium-large salmon filet
3 t miso
3 t tamari
5 t rice wine vinegar

2 T water

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Combine miso, tamari, rice wine vinegar, and water in a bowl. Add mixture to a sealable bag and marinate for up to 6 hours. 

Bake on baking sheet for 12-15 minutes.

Salmon Kabusecha Ochazuke


Garlic, Butter, and Dill Salmon:

1 medium-large salmon filet
2 T butter
2 large garlic cloves
4 T lemon juice
1 T fresh dill, or dill to taste

Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Melt butter and mix together with garlic, lemon, and dill in a bowl. Pour mixture over salmon filet and cover in foil, place on baking sheet.

Bake for 12-15 minutes. 


For the Kabusecha concentrate:

Brew 3 tsp of Kabusecha Takamado in 1 cup of 175°F water for two minutes, right before serving so the tea is warm. 


For the plating:

Dill, garlic scapes, scallions, cilantro, and/or parsley
Sesame seeds
Wasabi
Soy sauce

Sesame Oil

Use a small bowl and pack down rice inside of it to form a rice ball. Flip it over onto a plate. Place salmon over the rice, and finish with your choice of fresh herbs. Pour over the Kabusecha Takamado infusion and top off with sesame seeds and other garnishes to tastes. Enjoy

Salmon Kabusecha Ochazuke

Antioxidants & the Spirit of Life!

 

Like traditional teas, herbal infusions are very often rich in antioxidants, and this month's Wellness Tea of the Month is no exception! What makes Spirit of Life so special is the type of antioxidants it contains, glutathione and aspalathin.

Aspalathin, which is found only in rooibos tea, has anti-diabetic properties, meaning it helps people with diabetes reduce their risk of vascular inflammation and atherosclerosis.

Glutathione, a powerful antioxidant, is one of the most protective molecules in the human body and has been shown to protect against inflammation, toxins, free radicals and pathogens. Think of it as your body’s own natural detoxifier. Without adequate levels of glutathione, you are at increased risk of some of the most serious health conditions, including stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, and heart disease. When levels are adequate or high, you’ll not only have protection from the conditions above, but you’ll have amazing energy, glowing skin, healthy detoxification, and stronger heart and brain function.

Talk about the Spirit of LifeAlmost all of the ingredients, including ginger, cinnamon, lemongrass and cardamom, have anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, as well as diuretic and detoxifying effects! It seems that whatever ails you or has you dragging a bit, this tisane can help! It really covers so many bases and is the epitome of a wellness tea!

We love Spirit of Life paired with our Orange Blossom Honey for a bigger antioxidant boost! Read more about the "Surprisingly Sweet Side Effect of Raw Honey" on your health here!


*On Sale from July 15th- August 12th*
$12 a bag or $2.50 at the bar!

Simple Summer White Tea 'Sangrias'

I don't know about you but the last thing I want to do on a 90 degree day is turn on my stove and boil some hot water for my caffeine fix, and second to that is drinking a hot cup of tea. So what does one do when they need their tea but it's sweltering hot outside? Pull a pitcher (or jar!) of cold brew tea out of your fridge! Cold brewing tea is super easy and pretty much foolproof which is why it's our favorite way to prepare iced tea. Perhaps like me, you have a tendency to forget about your tea steeping on your counter, and by time you remember, the tea is bitter and unpalatable. With cold brew however, it's practically impossible to over-steep, so long as you don't forget it for days! I'll give you an abbreviated scientific explanation for why this is, so you can walk away from reading this blog with not only a few refreshing iced tea recipes but a little more knowledge too.

Why Cold Brew? Tea leaves contain a number of chemical compounds within them that when steeping break down, form complexes with one another and form new compounds. During the steeping process, thousands of volatile (aroma) compounds rise from the tea liquor and thousands of non-volatile (taste) compounds float within the tea liquor. Some of these compounds extract at a quicker rate than others. When you're brewing with hot water the time between extracting those first compounds and the last ones is very short so timing (and temperature) is everything. You have to stop the brewing process at just the right time to achieve the right flavor profile or else your tea will end up bitter. Cold brewing is the slow motion version of that process, the window of time between those first compounds being released and later ones being released is much larger so you have much smaller risk of ending up with a bitter cup of tea. The later compounds to release tend to be the more bitter and tannic catechins in green and white tea. Therefore, cold brewing tea tends to result in a less bitter, less astringent brew. You can also brew it stronger and have more of the theanine, more umami, more of the vegetal notes, and more of the high notes!

At Saratoga Tea & Honey we usually have 3-4 cold brew teas to choose from daily! And while we tend to be purists and love our cold brew unsweetened, sometimes you just want something a little more fun! Our Queen Bee put me up to the challenge to create some fruity tea mocktails to quench your thirst by the pool, at your picnic or at your bbq! For the three drinks below, I used three of our white teas as the cold brew base; Nan Mei Wild Buds, Bai Hao Yin Zhen, and Bai Mu Dan Wang.

At home, I have the Takeya Iced Tea Maker and I LOVE it, but since I was making three different teas I thought I would show you all how you can make cold brew with things you probably already have in your kitchen; a jar and a mesh strainer. Easy peasy!

First Step: Cold Brew. Place your tea in a 16oz jar. I just eyeball it with my cold brew because it's pretty foolproof, but if you want to be more economical than I am (I really should work on that!) you can measure out two loose tablespoons of white tea. It may seem like a lot but white tea is very voluminous and light. Fill your jar with filtered or spring water, cover and put in the refrigerator for 6-12 hours! Once your tea has done it's magic, strain it over ice into another glass! Now, for the fun add-ins!

Keep scrolling to see the thirst-quenching combinations I came up with!

Nan Mei with Peaches, Fresh Mint and Tupelo Honey 

Deliciously refreshing and summery, the idea of fresh mint and sweet peaches proved irresistible and what better honey to pair with peaches than famous southern Tupelo Honey! These add-ins compliment the tropical fruit and honeyed notes of the Nan Mei Wild Buds.

Bai Hao Yin Zhen with Cucumbers, Melon and Basswood Honey

The combination of cooling honeydew melon and refreshing English cucumber are a perfect pairing, and complimented by a touch of Basswood Honey, our light mid-western mono-floral that has a delicious hint of fresh spearmint. These add-ins accentuate the florality and vegetal notes of Bai Hao Yin Zhen (Silver Needles) one of China’s most revered teas!

Bai Mu Dan Wang with Strawberries, Lemon and Italian Lemon Tree Honey

Nothing says summer like the fresh flavor of ripe strawberries and an icy glass of lemonade. While there is no lemonade in this drink (you could certainly add some), the combination of fresh lemons and citrusy Italian Lemon Tree Honey adds that same thirst quenching quality. Also known as White Peony, Bai Mu Dan Wang is a more full-bodied white tea, and the perfect base for this combination of strawberries, sliced lemon and delectable honey from Sicily! 

There are so many fruits, herbs and florals that would pair nicely with these white teas, so get creative! I just went with what is in season and usually happens to be in my fridge. What are you going to infuse your cold brew iced tea with? Take a photo and tag us on Instagram and Facebook!

Why & How Bees Make Honey 🐝

The phrase “busy as a bee,” is one we hear plenty of times throughout our lives, but upon further researching about how and why honey is made, I have discovered how truly remarkable and hard-working these creatures are. The western honey bee, Apis mellifera, is a eusocial, or true social insect in the order Hymenoptera. This means that their colonies, or hives, include overlapping generations, a division of labor, and they partake in cooperative care of young, or larvae. Honey bees have developed these little worlds and high-functioning societies within their hives to make sure the collective needs of survival are met. 

There are about 20,000 known species of bees in the world, including bumblebees, leafcutter bees, mason bees, and carpenter bees. Out of these, a smaller percent produce honey. While not the only species that produce honey, Apis mellifera is the species that has been globally recognized as the honey bee. Honey bees are not native to North America, but were brought over by the European settlers in the 1600s (1). The act of beekeeping and consuming honey can be traced all the way back to Ancient Egypt. Since then, the domestication of bees has grown and developed, and they are currently an important aspect of agriculture in North America, not just for the honey they produce, but because they are also responsible for pollinating crops we rely on.

Bee on Flowers

Within honey bee colonies, different bees have different important roles. The queen is responsible for mating and laying eggs, ensuring the colony has enough members to keep surviving. Worker bees are female bees that are unable to mate. Their primary roles include gathering pollen and nectar. When worker bees are young, within the first few weeks of their lifespan, they are considered house bees, and spend their time maintaining the hive by defending it, tending to larvae and pupae (brood), producing wax and royal jelly, and clearing debris and dead bees from the hive. Worker bees make up the largest percent of the population within a colony. Drones are male honey bees, who develop from unfertilized eggs. Their only role is to fly to Drone Congregating Areas and mate with queens from other hives. Together, these different castes work together to ensure a colony is successful. 

So why do bees make honey? These active insects feed off of nectar and pollen. However, in order to successfully metabolize them and fulfill their dietary needs of vitamins, carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, and minerals, they need to change the chemical compositions of nectar and pollen into honey and bee bread (2). Honey is then stored long-term for colder months, or times when there is a lack of vegetation. Hives have high reproductive rates, and a healthy queen might lay up to 2,000 eggs each day. Therefore, there are many mouths to feed in a hive, averaging at about 40,000 bees.

Worker bees create wax, which they secrete through special glands. This wax is then chewed, softened and molded into honeycomb in order to store honey and house the brood. To create 1 pound of wax, bees must consume 8 pounds of honey (3). The bee brood consumes royal jelly, a substance secreted by worker bees and fed to the brood and potential queens. Worker bees consume a combination of pollen, nectar, digestive fluids, and honey called bee bread (4). To create all of these food and shelter sources, and feed a whole hive, honey bees need a lot of energy. They can fly up to 15 miles per hour, and visit millions of flowers in order to gather the nectar and pollen they need. They carry a high percentage of their own body weight when they gather nectar and pollen. After all of this tiring work, bees need high energy food sources. This is why they make and store honey. Having honey as a food source they can stockpile and overproduce in case of low pollen weather conditions creates a healthy hive prepared with a food and energy source for long-term survival. 

Bees need honey for survival. But how do they make it? The first step is gathering nectar and pollen from nearby flowers. honey bees will forage in about a five mile radius of their hive (5). Karl Von Frisch studied the ways in which honey bees communicate, and discovered that bees perform dances denoting how far and in what direction surrounding food sources are to other worker bees (6). They gather nectar with their proboscis, or a long tongue, and store it in a specially designed honey stomach, or crop. They gather pollen and store it in a specially designed basket on the back of their legs called a corbicula. 

Nectar starts out at about 80% water, and is thin, clear, and not very sweet. Once back at the hive, the worker bee will transfer it to a house bee, who chews it and transfers it to another house bee, who then chews it and transfers it. This process is repeated for up to about twenty minutes, once the nectar reaches only about 20% water (7). During the chewing process, the chemical compounds of the nectar are changed, and the enzyme invertase, found in a bees saliva, helps break down water content and change sugars into glucose and fructose (8). The transformed nectar substance is then deposited into honeycomb, where bees continue to remove water content by fanning it with their wings. Once it has reached the desired consistency it is covered with wax and stored until it is needed. Pollen is also stored until needed.

Due to selective breeding by beekeepers, and the bees' tendency to overproduce, it is not a threat to bees to harvest honey in moderation. Most beekeepers harvest honey twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall. Since bees stay within about five miles of their hive to collect pollen and nectar, beekeepers position their hives within that range of the desired plants they want the bees to pollinate. This is how monofloral honey is produced. For example, our Orange Blossom Honey is not infused with orange flavor from the fruit, but has an essence of orange flavor notes from the nectar and pollen gathered from the blossoms of orange trees and other nearby citrus plants flowering at the same time. 

Clearly, honey bees stay very busy to ensure a hive is working together in unison. We are so thankful for our ability to enjoy the sweet result of all their efforts. The next time you reach for your favorite honey, you may find yourself with a new appreciation for the bees that made it possible. 

 

Endnotes:

1.   https://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/pollinators/documents/BeeBasics.pdf
2. Taylor, Michelle A., Alastair W. Robertson, Patrick J. Biggs, Kate K. Richards, Daniel F. Jones, and Shanthi G. Parkar. "The effect of carbohydrate sources: Sucrose, invert sugar and components of manuka honey, on core bacteria in the digestive tract of adult honey bees (Apis mellifera)." PLoS ONE 14, no. 12 (2019): e0225845. Gale Academic OneFile (accessed March 27, 2020). https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/A607540213/AONE?u=nysl_ca_she&sid=AONE&xid=54e4a537
3.  https://www.uaex.edu/farm-ranch/special-programs/beekeeping/about-honey-bees.aspx
4. http://nordicfoodlab.org/blog/2015/9/4/bee-bread
5.  https://www.perfectbee.com/learn-about-bees/the-life-of-bees/bees-make-honey
6.  https://www.britannica.com/biography/Karl-von-Frisch
7.  https://www.beeculture.com/the-chemistry-of-honey/
8.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3h4uVVFCvVg

Temporary Shop Guidelines

We are so grateful for your business and support through these challenging months. With great excitement, we are happy to announce our shop is open!

Monday-Saturday 10-6, Sunday 10-5

  • Masks are required to enter.
  • Bar seating is suspended at this time.
  • Please maintain a 6 ft social distance between other guests and staff.
  • A limited number of customers will be allowed in store to shop.
  • No Public Restrooms
  • To-Go Orders will be placed and delivered to you outside.

Our staff is working safely and efficiently to serve you and sanitizing stations are available for your safety.

Thank you for your understanding and support. 

It is our great pleasure to be here to serve you,

Your Friends At Saratoga Tea & Honey Co.

Crimson Berry Vodka Cocktails

Our Herbal of the Month, Crimson Berry, is one of the shop favorites!  It is tart, fruity and beautifully red; so when we heard our great customer Denny Severin was making cocktails out of it, we had to find out more!  These two refreshing summer drinks are so easy to prepare, and only require a little bit of time for the vodka to infuse. Enjoy, and thank you, Denny!

Crimson Berry Cocktail

Procedure 2-3 Days Ahead: Infuse 3 T of Crimson Berry to ½ liter of vodka for 2-3 days in refrigerator. Once infused, strain off the vodka from the herbal leaves and berries. Place in sealed jar in refrigerator. The infusion will last a very long time!

Crimson Berry Lemonade
1 ½ oz Crimson Berry Vodka
5-6 oz lemonade
Splash of club soda (optional)

Shake or stir in ice filled glass. Enjoy!

Saratoga Mule
1 ½ oz Crimson Berry Vodka
½ cup Ginger Beer
½ oz lime juice
Garnish with line wedge (optional)

Pour into ice filled glass. Enjoy!
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