With no end in sight for the Winter just yet, we all rely on a piping hot cuppa of herbal infusions to keep us warm and cosy. But how can we explore the lesser-known uses for our favourite leaves and herbal blends? Brewing herbal tea hot or cold and adding new flavours is about as far as we can go with traditional tea making. However, real tea transformations occur with a little extra creativity. If you don't feel like just drinking tea, you can also eat it in foods and baked goods, turn it into a makeshift natural air freshener, add it to compost to bring your garden alive, have it heal minor wounds and reduce inflammation, and even use it to scent personal products. The possibilities are endless, and they all start with that leftover tea in the corner of your cabinet (not that you should have leftover tea!).
Here are 5 ways you can get the tea party started:
- Perfume Your Room
Who knew tea could replace that stale potpourri in your foyer or bathroom? Did you know that hanging tea bags can give your space a subtle, earthy smell? Plus, it's soothing, compact, and most of all, economical! Pro Tip: add a sweet-smelling natural oil in order to enhance the perfume. All you have to do is hang tea sachets or pour your favourite loose tea leaves into a pretty bowl for a feel-good, mini-home makeover!
- Make a Gourmet Dinner
While coffee is often used in sophisticated meat marinades, tea marinades are lesser-known but equally delicious. What's great about this concoction from the Today Show is its flexibility; just about any green or black tea will do. Here, the grassy notes of raw tea combine with fresh herbs to complement the acidity and kick of Dijon mustard.
Ingredients for marinade:
- 1 1/2 cups cooled black or green tea
- 2 teaspoons stone-ground mustard
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon fresh marjoram, roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Whisk the tea, both mustards, marjoram, and oregano together in a bowl or large measuring cup. Whisk in the olive oil until the marinade has the consistency of a very loose vinaigrette.
- Pour over red meat or poultry in a large, wide dish or zip-top bag and marinate in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
- Remove the meat from the marinade and lightly pat dry with paper towels. Discard the marinade.
- Grill the meat to your preference.
- De-puff Your Eyes and De-stink Your Feet!
Give your sweaty, smelly feet a 20-minute soak in a sweet-smelling tea bath and they'll be as good as new, according to Reader's Digest. And of course, swollen eye relief is one of the most common uses for that leftover tea bag: "Revitalize tired, achy, or puffy eyes. Soak two tea bags in warm water and place them over your closed eyes for 20 minutes. The tannins in the tea act to reduce puffiness and soothe tired eyes."
- Tea for Bath & Body
While you may not always have time to make your own personal care products, did you know that you could make your own batch of soap with those last spoons of herbal tea you have left in the cupboard?
Ingredients for tea soap bar:
- melt & pour soap base
- essential oils or tea powders
- leaf teas or herbals
- soap or silicone moulds
- microwave-safe medium or large mixing bowl
- spoons for stirring
- dough cutter or knife
- tea towel
- parchment paper and twine
- In the Garden
Want to nourish your lush outdoor garden or tiny house plant? If your tea bag is biodegradable (and all Tipson Teabags are!) or you prefer loose tea leaves, you can throw a used one directly into your compost to feed your plant and help stave off killer weeds. If not, throw loose tea into the compost instead. The use of tea, in this case, may help reduce your use of harsher, less environmentally-friendly fertilisers, and other plant foods.
So there you have it, 5 tips and tricks that will help you maximise the use of your herbal tea bag! The next time you have some tea bags around the house and decide to throw them away, do not forget to go through this blog and put it to good use instead!