I really shouldn’t be complaining about the weather as it has been a fairly mild winter so far. Some days balmy even! But still, cooler than summer and that means wearing a fleece even when in indoor heated spaces. And lots of warm drinks….especially herbal teas around bedtime. A couple of days back, as I dipped a licorice and chamomile teabag into the mug, I was suddenly reminded of an amazing apple tea we had in Turkey. Walking through the maze of shops in the Grand Bazaar and absolutely mesmerized, we found ourselves wandering into a carpet store where we were served a delicious apple tea that was unlike anything we had tasted before. And we must have been under its spell because we found ourselves walking out with our wallet somewhat lighter and a small, tightly rolled silk carpet in our hands.
That trip to Turkey has to be one of the best trips we have ever taken. Lucky to have spent almost two weeks there and fall completely in love with that beautiful country, it’s wonderful people and their amazing hospitality. The markets were so much fun too and it was very hard not to give in to temptation and buy something from every shop. Still ended up picking up enough to need to then buy an extra suitcase to fit some of the pottery, the said carpet and the special Turkish tea (çay) along with the brass tea kettle, the çaydanlık. I also remembered to buy a small box of the apple tea made with dried apples hoping to enjoy that delicious taste once we were home. And although I was never able to replicate that flavor, I told myself some things are best left as memories.
The other day I was looking at some fruit, including apples that needed to be used up and although at such times, the freezer can be my best friend, I thought of taking another shot at the apple tea from that refreshed memory. Most of the recipes online mentioned using dried apples but there were a few that talked about using fresh apples. I adapted this recipe and added a few cranberries that were lazing around in the fridge which also gave the tea a rosy blush.
Granted it’s easy to dip a teabag into hot water but there’s something quite relaxing, not to mention satisfying when one makes it from scratch. It’s a fairly simple process and the only real work (if you could call it that) is the mashing of the fruit and then running it once more through the strainer. Very worth it though and a little honey added to a steaming hot cup of tea makes it a even better. And a great non-alcoholic option to add to the holiday drink menus of mulled wines, hot toddys and moscow mules 🙂
spiced apple teaPrint Recipe
- 6 cups water
- 2 large apples, unpeeled and cut into fourths
- 2 small tangerines, cut in half (leave the peel on)
- 15-20 cranberries
- 1 2-inch roll of cinnamon
- 6 cloves
- fresh mint to garnish
Pour six cups water into a medium size pot. Add the apples, tangerines, cranberries, cinnamon and cloves. Bring to a boil and then cook covered on a medium flame for 20-15 minutes until the fruit softens completely.
Let it cook to room temperature and then strian through a strainer, pressing the fruit in the end to get all the pulp. Discard the skin snd the spices.
Run the liquid through a strainer again (you should get approx. 4 cups) and then serve hot, sweetened with some honey and garnished with fresh mint.