The passing from one year to the next brings with it a sense of hope and excitement that things can and will be different. The notion of newness inspires many people to make changes in their lives and in their environments. In order for changes to be made, often there must be a clearing-out process that must happen first. Whether it’s clothes, books, and CD’s that need an annual decluttering or the habits that we collect that no longer serve us in a positive way, we must make way for new things, new ideas and new people to come into our life. The well-worn phrase I believe is, “Out with the Old, In with the New!”
Nowhere is this more appropriate than looking at our own tea shelves. Most people don’t even think about looking at their kitchen shelves as they purge things that are out of date. After all, tea doesn’t start to stink or grow mold, and so we rarely give a thought to such things that we deem as dry goods. Tea doesn’t stay good forever — nothing ever does. Over time, as the chemical composition of the plant continues to alter, the freshness and quality diminishes as does taste.
To keep optimum freshness, quality and flavor, all teas should be replaced annually. Chances are you might be holding on to herbs and teas that are 2, 3, 5 years old! Look at the color of the leaves – have they dulled? Open up the container and take in the smell. Does it smell fresh? You always want your herbs and teas to look, smell and taste vibrant. Do you remember when and where you received this tea? Do you remember what it tastes like? Do you even like this tea or is it just sitting on the shelf taking up space?
Drink the Tea, Keep the Quality
Holding onto the last bit of tea that you really liked doesn’t work to your advantage when you finally finish off the last few cups a year later. Tea is meant to be shared and enjoyed. So let’s look at some ways to make sure that your kitchen isn’t harboring clutter and what to do.
- Buy only what you know you can and will drink in the next 6 months
- Agree to only buy a new tea once you have finished up something else on your shelf
- Immediately trash anything you don’t like or have been holding onto more than 2 years
- If you can’t throw away your old stash, find new uses
- Be sure to keep your teas in air tight containers & away from heat and direct light
The other thing you might consider doing is to go through and madly drink up your aging stash in the next 2 weeks. By the end of January, your tea shelf should be ready to take on new teas and new blends. Imagine all the teas you haven’t tried that are waiting to jump on your tea shelf — if only you had the room!
Start the New Year off with a fresh cuppa tea!
Madam Potts’ blog, Mad Pots of Tea!
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