Now that the nights are getting cooler in the northern hemisphere, a nice hot tea helps warm up your blood. With all of the tea choices that are available, you might not thinking of using mushrooms. But there are several types of dried Chinese mushrooms and fungus that are actually used in various herbal remedies. While I’m not suggesting that drinking mushroom tea will heal you in any fashion, I will say that a nice mushroom broth will chase the chills away.
While the photo above shows fresh mushrooms, you’ll have to experiment with different mushrooms, and I suggest you start with a variety of dried wild or Chinese mushrooms. Get them at an Asian market, or you run the risk of spending 3 times what you should. Rinse 1 cup of dried mushrooms, then set them to boil in about 4-5 cups of water, depending on how strong you want the to be. Boil the mushrooms for about 5 minutes, then let steep with the stove turned off for another 3-5 minutes. (Keep the pot on the same stove element.) Discard the mushroom pieces, then strain the tea of grit with a mesh net.
Without any extra ingredients, the tea will taste similar to unsalted vegetable stock. You’ll probably want to add some salt and fresh-cracked black pepper. You can replace some of the boiling water with low-sodium chicken stock, to add another layer of flavour. Experiment with steeping some cloves and even Italian seasoning (dried parsley, sage, rosemary, basil) or crushed red pepper flake. Or if you want a slightly sweeter taste, add some dried lychees (raisin-sized) to the boiling water. Finally, if you want to keep with the theme, add green tea leaves to the boiling water, and finish the drink off with some honey.
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