High quality green teas like our Ming Qian Dragonwell, Panan are plucked only once a year and consist of only young leaf buds. They are limited in quantity, but high in antioxidants and other nutrients. While many Chinese tea drinkers will eat the leaves directly from the cup after brewing, these valuable leaves can also be used in culinary dishes. One way we preserve these leaves after we brew them is to pickle them.
Pickled Tea Leaves
1. Fill a mason jar ⅓ of the way full with green tea leaves that have already been brewed.
2. Fill the next ⅓ of the mason jar with Champagne vinegar.
3. Top the final ⅓ of the jar with Mirin. Mix and allow to marinate at least 30 minutes or overnight.
We like to add these pickled tea leaves to salads and stir fries for a nice touch of umami. One of our recent creations included cappellini noodles with fennel and cabbage, pickled in the same way.
Another option is to use rehydrated green tea leaves in salad dressing. Here is one recipe we used recently for lunch at the shop:
Mix all ingredients in a small pouring server. Let marinate at least 30 minutes.
We served this dressing over a salad of arugula, shredded and blanched red cabbage, sautéed red and green chard, cooked farro, lotus chips, and sliced chicken breast to create our Chicken Tea Leaf Salad. You can watch Alice discuss the process in this video:
Give these recipes a try at home or create your own, and tag us on Instagram (@redblossomteacompany) to show us your favorite recipes using early harvest green tea leaves!
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