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Plum tea is a fruit tea that is made of fresh or dried plums steeped in hot water. Popular in Asian countries, the plums are often combined with other traditional Asian ingredients to make a variety of teas. In addition to its sweet, fruity flavor, this tea offers all the same nutrients and health benefits as plums themselves.
Tea made with dried plums is often sweeter than plum tea made with fresh plums. Dried fruits are denser and contain more sugar per ounce (about 28 g) than fresh fruits. Making dried plum tea starts with boiled water and chopped or whole preserved plums. Chopping the fruits infuses the tea with more flavor and fruit sugars, and leaving them whole gives the tea a more subtle fruit taste. Generally, one or two dried plums add plenty of flavor to a single cup of tea.
When working with fresh plums, a person needs only one or two plums per cup of tea, although the tea might need more sweetener. Fresh plums taste more acidic than dried plums, which can make the tea unpleasantly bitter. An extra spoonful of sugar, sucralose, honey or agave nectar tames the bitterness and helps the tea’s flavor blossom. Fresh plums must be chopped to expose the flesh and infuse the tea with flavor.
To brew this tea, either fresh or dried plums are added to boiling hot water and steeped for three to five minutes. If steeped for more than five minutes, the fruit flavors can become too intense. Overly strong tea can be diluted with a little more water or even another flavor of tea. Plum tea is rarely consumed without additional flavors, such as ginger, orange zest or fennel. These flavors tame plums’ inherent acids.
Cooks who make plum tea at home should place all of their tea ingredients into a small square of cheesecloth or inside a wire mesh tea ball. The water can pass through these items easily while the tea steeps. When the tea is done steeping, the cook must simply pull the cheesecloth bundle or tea ball out of the water.
For people who don’t eat a lot of fruit, plum tea might be a way to consume important nutrients. Plums contain vitamins A and C, potassium, iron and even calcium. They also help soothe an irritated digestive tract, especially for a person who is constipated. People who are suffering from diarrhea should avoid plums because of their laxative qualities.
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