January 13, 2016

National Hot Tea Month - New Uses for an Old Favorite

Sweet tea is known as the table wine of the south. And there's nothing like a tall glass of cold iced tea on a hot summer day. Of course, for true southerners (and tea aficionados) there's never a bad time to drink the stuff.

But winter weather calls for something to warm you and for that, hot tea is great. Did you know January is National Hot Tea Month?

In honor of this occasion, I'm sharing some new uses for tea besides just for drinking, plus a favorite recipe for Tennessee Sunshine Punch, a delicious hot tea. Check them out!

New Uses for Tea - Around the house...

Use tea to minimize scratches on wood furniture - 

Black tea (the type most commonly used for brewed iced & sweet tea) can be used to cover up scratches on wood furniture. Herbals and green tea won't work for this because they don't have the dark, rich color.

Put a tea bag into a mug and pour 2 tablespoons of hot water over it. Let it steep for at least a couple of minutes, the longer the darker it will be.

Dip a cotton ball or swab into the tea and dab it onto the scratches. Make sure the color seeps down into the raw wood. Quickly wipe away any excess moisture because this can damage the surrounding areas.

You may have to repeat this process to get the desired effect.

Use tea to clean windows and glass - 

Not only does black tea work to decrease the appearance of scratches on your wooden furniture, it can also help make your windows and glass sparkle! 
Tannic acid in black tea serves as a cleaning agent which dissolves grime and smudges. To make your own tea window cleaner, you'll need 2-3 tea bags and 8 ounces of boiling water. 
Brew your tea and let it steep. Let it sit and cool completely before putting it in a spray bottle. Spray onto your windows and mirrors and wipe off with a soft cloth (just as you would with any other cleaner). 
If you're accustomed to using harsh chemicals around the house, using something like tea to clean windows may not have the desired effect. But this non-toxic method is still very effective and is definitely safer for your family than something with a lot of ingredients you can't pronounce. 
New Uses for Tea - In the Bathroom...
Use tea as a refreshing mouthwash - 
Most popular mouthwash brands contain chemicals and ingredients that aren't completely natural. But did you know you can create your own healthy mouthwash with plain old tea? 
Peppermint has menthol, which is a strong cleansing agent known to kill bacteria. Instead of opting for a chemical-filled artificial peppermint flavor, why not go with some natural tea? 
To make your own peppermint mouthwash, brew up a pot of peppermint tea. Then let it cool and store it in a bottle in your fridge. Swish it around your mouth as needed. And if you want to drink some, enjoy! 
Use tea to refresh puffy, tired eyes - 
Nobody wants bags under her eyes, but in this case, tea bags might be just what you need! To give yourself a relaxing treatment, make up a batch of this ginger tea and let the relaxation begin. 
You'll need: 
  • 1 Tablespoon freshly grated ginger root
  • 4 tea bags (green tea)
  • Hot water 
Place your tea bags into a mug and pour hot water over them. Add grated ginger and let this mixture steep for about five minutes. 

Let the tea cool and squeeze out the tea bags. Place them in a container in the fridge or freezer depending on how cold you'd like them to be. Then, when ready take them out and place them over your eyes (both on the lids and underneath). 

Finally, a favorite hot tea recipe - 

To make my favorite hot tea punch, you'll need: 
  • 1-1/2 cups water
  • 6 orange herbal tea bags
  • 10 whole cloves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 cups cranberry juice
  • 1-1/2 cups white grape juice
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • Orange slices and additional whole cloves, optional
In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil. Turn off heat; add tea bags, cloves and cinnamon sticks. Cover and steep for 5 minutes. Remove tea bags. Stir in the juices and brown sugar; heat through. Remove spices. Garnish with clove-studded orange slices if desired. Enjoy!