The finca where we are living is perched atop a ridge line, that for the most part, has a 360 view. At night, I maybe see a handful of lights in the distance and only on super still nights can I hear the far off rumble of a car. Nature rules here and I am only along for the ride. For the short time that I have been here, I am amazed at the weather. Technically the rainy season, but La Niña is having her way here and rain has been sporadic, but exciting. I have watched storms roll in from every direction whipping up winds and sheets of rain that permeate every corner of the house. Lightning pierces the night sky and shakes the whole earth in a spectacular fashion. Rarely a night goes by without some sort of light show. During these storms, the temperature will drop a delicious amount to a cooling mid 70’s, tempting me to look for long sleeves or curl beneath what little blanket I need. There are also times, like this morning, where it is so still that the only air movement is of the butterflies and birds that dart around the yard. This is the jungle at it peak. The steamy lusciousness of life where even the simplest tasks will produce rivulets of sweat.
As humid as it is here, you must keep hydrated. When I had on office job it was easy to keep a bottle of water at hand. Here, with all that is going on, after my morning coffee I forget to drink and I have paid the consequences with blistering headaches. The finca has a spring, but low water levels make me nervous, even with the extra filter. Living out here has its price, the biggest being the cost of food, so relying on juice and other bottled liquids can be costly (unless it is wine, then money is no object). So here is my solution: lemongrass tea.
With a field of lemongrass at my disposal, why not! Somewhere in the back of my mind, I remember reading how lemongrass has a cooling effect on the body and was used to fight fevers. Considering we have no AC, anything that cools you down I am in for. So while perusing recipes for tea, I was surprised to find all the other benefits of lemon grass. It’s also detoxifies the body by cleaning the liver, pancreas, kidneys, bladder, and urinary tract and reduces uric acid, cholesterol, and other toxins in the body (so I can keep drinking my wine with the sunset). Not only that, but you can use it as an astringent for your face to help tighten pores and reduce pimples.
Simple Quick Lemon Grass Tea Recipe
- Cut off the ends of two lemongrass stalks, use a sharp knife on a cutting board.
- Using the flat of the knife, compress the stalks so that the fibres inside are crushed.
- Cut the stalks in half and put them into a medium sized saucepan.
- Cover with a 2-3 cups of water and bring to boil.
- Simmer gently on a low heat for 10 – 15 minutes.
- Remove from heat and pout the mixture through a sieve of tea strainer into a cup or mug.
- Leave to cool for a few minutes and enjoy.
If you don’t have a field of lemongrass to harvest, it grows easily here in Costa Rica in any sunny spot or if you have a green thumb, try growing a clump as a potted plant. For all of you outside the tropics, most Asian food markets carry nice batches of fresh lemongrass. I use about five good size pieces, cut down to four-inch sections for each pitcher of tea. Before I add it to the water I crush the ends to make sure all the goodness seeps out. Bring to a boil and then turn off the heat and let it sit to cool. At this time, I usually add a dollop of honey but if you want to be really creative add some sliced fresh ginger to the boil or mint leaves while the tea is cooling. Personally, I like having it chilled in the fridge but it is just as tasty hot right off the stove, should the temperatures where you live dip below shorts weather.
It’s a perfect drink to have on the porch to watch the jungle, unless the sun is going down. Then it’s wine time.