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SPICY FOODS: Calm Your Tongue with These!

Feb 20, 2015 0

If you like to add extra jalapeños to your hot dog, habanero peppers to your tacos, and some Sriracha to just about everything you eat, you’ve most likely felt like your mouth was on fire. These intense burning sensations can last from minutes to hours, leaving you with no choice but to gulp pitchers of water — only for them to return with a vengeance. Spicy foods get their steamy, red hot intensity from capsaicin and can only be neutralized with certain things. To stop feeling the burn, don’t drink water, but instead opt for these five remedies to cool off your tongue from the spicy foods we love to hate and hate to love.

1. Drink a glass of milk
When it comes to relief from spicy foods, dairy, especially plain-old milk, does your hot mouth some good. This popular antidote dates back to about 8,000 years ago when Central and South Americans began to add hot chilis to their food, leaving people searching for ways to cool a burning tongue. Casein, the protein in milk, according to the American Chemical Society, helps break the bonds capsaicin forms on nerve receptors. This may help explain why cultures that use a lot of spices in their food usually include dairy in their recipes to offset the effects of capsaicin, such as in Indian and Mexican cuisine.

2. Drink alcohol
Now, beer and cocktail lovers, before you start to order your drink of choice with your side of spice, alcohol can only temporarily help alleviate the burn. MythBusters, a television show on the Discovery Channel, put viewer-recommended cures to the test and sought to examine if alcohol could tame the effects of spicy food in the mouth. They found a few gulps of beer offer brief relief because oil and water don’t mix, and can spread the oily capsaicin rather than reduce its effect entirely. “Truth is, you might have to drink 10 ounces of 70-proof tequila to dissolve 1 ounce of concentrated capsaicin compound,” according to MythBusters. Remember to drink responsibly.

3. Take a teaspoon of sugar
Those with a sweet and spicy tooth can rejoice at the fact that sugar can actually help neutralize the heat from a spicy dish. The heat in chili peppers is based on the amount of sugar needed to neutralize the heat, says IndiaCurry.com, and this is known as the Scoville Heat Unit. Granulated sugar and honey will reduce the heat. The sugar absorbs the spicy oil and will provide a different taste.

4. Eat some milk chocolate
Need another reason to eat more chocolate? A chocolate bar may come in handy when it comes to reducing that burning, tingling sensation in your mouth. The high fat content in chocolate will help remove some of the capsaicin from the mouth since it is more soluble in fat than water-based solutions. Milk chocolate will provide more benefit than dark chocolate because it has a higher fat and casein content, according to the United States Department of Agriculture, therefore, providing better relief.

5. Chew on a slice of bread
At the dinner table, a basket of bread is usually within one’s reach. A slice of bread can provide relief to your burning mouth by soaking up the oily capsaicin that is making your mouth burn. Rice can also provide the same effect as bread, but it may soak up less oil due to its grain texture.

Next time you’re thinking of adding some spice to your palate, be sure to have some of these best hot mouth remedies by your side, to feel the burn and cool it off instantly.

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Tea the Real Story

Nov 1, 2014 0

By Chris Rawstern

Everyone knows what tea is, right? Tea, technically, comes from the leaves of one plant, camellia sinensis. Anything other than the leaves from this plant is not actually tea, although tea is often used as a catchall word to include all the different herbal beverages used these days.

Legend has it that tea was discovered long ago in China quite by accident. Some leaves from a nearby plant blew into a cup of hot water; a nice brown colored beverage resulted, was found to have a refreshing taste, and tea was born. However it was discovered, tea is very refreshing, whether it is black, green, oolong or white. Tea has been proven in more recent times to have wonderful health benefits. We have all heard of antioxidants in tea, helping to fight free radicals that can cause harm to the body. Tea is far lower in caffeine than coffee. It is refreshing, whether used hot or cold.

There are various types of tea, all beginning with the same leaves. Black tea is created by bruising or crushing the green leaves to expose them to oxidation and allowing them to ferment, then rolling the leaves and drying. This produces a beautifully colored beverage and has the strongest flavor of all the varieties of tea. Oolong tea (pronounced OH-long) is oxidized and fermented the same as black tea, but only for about half the amount of time and the resulting product is a lighter, more reddish beverage with a flavor all its own, somewhere in strength between black tea and green tea. For green tea, the leaves are heated immediately, stopping the fermentation process entirely, then dried and rolled. It produces a lovely light colored beverage, and is said to have the most health benefits. The processing of white tea is similar to that of green tea, but only the unopened buds of the leaves are used. It has the same health properties as green tea, but the flavor is the lightest and most delicate.

Good quality tea is a wonderful beverage. Whole rolled or twisted leaves are the best quality; the smaller the leaf, the higher the quality of the tea. The top grades are called Flowery, Golden Flowery or Tippy. Seconds, termed Choppy, are the leaves that have broken into smaller pieces. They brew a great tea, and are usually less expensive. The smallest particles leftover from the tea process, called Fannings, are what is used in tea bags. It brews tea of course, but once tasting a tea brewed from a wonderful full leaf Darjeeling Black Tea, for example, it is hard to return to a tea bag for optimal flavor.

Orange Pekoe (rhymes with gecko) is a western terminology applied to a grade of black tea; the word orange in the name has nothing to do with flavor, but could be a reference to the Dutch House of Orange using the name Orange as an implied sea” of some sort. Pekoe may be a westernized interpretation for a Chinese word meaning white hairs, referring to the fine white down on the tea leaves.

So, what are herbal beverages called? Herbal beverages are called tisanes, and may be prepared by different methods, usually infusion or decoction. It is incorrect to apply the term tea to anything infused or decocted, although tea is actually infused. Infusion is the preparation method of choice for leaves, flowers or buds; plant matter that will release its properties easily into a drinkable beverage. Placed into heated or boiled water and allowed to steep, the herbs release their goodness into the water, and then are strained out. Decoction is the method used for harder or denser plant materials, such as roots or barks that take longer to release their flavors or health benefits. With a decoction, the plant materials are brought to a boil, simmered gently for 15 minutes or more allowing the liquid to reduce, and then straining.

No matter which you prefer, tea or tisane, for pure enjoyment or for health benefits, look for the best quality. Discover your favorites among the different types of loose teas. Taste the different herbal tisanes and discover new flavors. Above all, enjoy.

Thank you for taking the time to read my article. I hope it was informative and helped you along your own culinary journey. You will find many more recipes and helpful tips on my web site. I am on Facebook at A Harmony of Flavors and share a recipe or tip each day to the fans that have liked my site. I hope to see you there soon.

My name is Chris Rawstern and I have been on a cooking and baking journey for 42 years. Many people have asked what “A Harmony of Flavors” means. Have you ever had a meal where the visual presentation was stunning, the smells were incredible, the taste was so remarkable that you ate slowly savoring every bite, wishing the experience would never end? Visit my Web site http://www.aharmonyofflavors.com, my Blog at http://www.aharmonyofflavors.blogspot.com or my Facebook page A Harmony of Flavors.
Article Source:
http://www.articlebiz.com/article/1051602456-1-tea-the-real-story/
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