A Drop Of Light In An Ocean Of Darkness.

(Pour lire cet article en français, cliquer sur le drapeau)

 

 

 

When I look out the window & I see such a dark, gloomy, lead-gray sky, I think that the only solution is to go back to bed. Unfortunately, this wonderful idea is not possible. So, what am I to do ? Should I add my tears to the rain drops, and my blue feelings to the gray clouds ?

That would be possible, but it would not improve anything.

I prefer fighting evil with evil. To be more accurate, I will accept this moody atmosphere and add a dash of light.

Since Christmas season is around the corner, I wish to present a very in-season recipe. This recipe will be a perfect transition between rain and snow, between Samhain’s ghosts and Yule’s lights.

So, I decided to pair THE perfect tea for foggy days, a tea reminding of humus, wet wood, mushrooms, leather : ripe puerh… with THE fruit that means Christmas to me : mandarine. The smell of ripe puerh tea is a wet autumn day, when one feels just like wrapping oneself in a warm blanket, with a steaming mug of tea in one hand, and a book in the other. And, as soon as I smell mandarine, it is Christmas. Actually, I don’t smell mandarines, I sniff them !

Puerh stuffed mandarine is a very old Chinese recipe. You can see one below, and I wrote about it here. Today I am going to explain how to make homemade mandarine flavored ripe puerh tea. It is very simple and much cheaper, even though it is not as beautiful as a whole mandarine stuffed with loose puerh tea.

It will not be a ripe puerh tea stuffed mandarine, but mandarine (or orange) flavored ripe puerh tea.

Ripe puerh tea in a mandarine, a traditional Chinese recipe.

The only costly ingredient is… time.

Hunting & Catching

Hunting mandarine or orange, since both citrus fruits can be used, is possible in autumn and winter only. Beware !! Only use organic fruits, unless you wish to brew pesticides…

So. You hide and ambush, with a shopping net, and when the citrus come, leaf on leaf, you jump to catch them. Be careful, the preys often defend themselves.

So. You have caught citrus.

Skinning

Now, you must skin them, just like trappers used to do with beavers, foxes, and other animals.

You may eat your prey’s heart, like any brave and strong hunter. Don’t forget to thank your victim for sacrificing its energy for you. The Spirit of Citrus is now with you, inside you.

You can even bury the seeds, while honoring the citrus’ life, so that the cycle of life can go on.

OK. Let’s go back to our fresh skins.

Mummification

Cover a tray with a (clean, of course !) tea towel, and lay the pieces of citrus skin on it, like warriors who died fighting. Then, cover the warriors with a shroud (actually, a tea towel will be big enough for that purpose).

Don’t bury them !! They must be allowed to stay in the open air (covered with their shroud, so as not to be desecrated by dust, bugs, and so on) to allow the mummification process to take place.

You can either put the tray on the top of a piece of furniture, or build a structure on your family altar to honor them every day. In winter, a warm heater is the perfect altar to the Citrus Goddess. Don’t put them in the kitchen, where smells and grease could spoil the delicate fragrance of the mummies. A bedroom or a living-room is a much better place, unless you burn incense, scented candles or essential oils.

Peels being mummified. You can see the various stages of drying.

And now ?

You wait… You let Time work for you. And you go back to your miserable life, your larva life. In other words, you go to work, you get out of bed even though it is cold, you pretend you enjoy being with others, and so on.

After a few days, or a few weeks depending on the heat and moisture, you can take the mummies out of their shroud. They will look like dried, shriveled, tarnished strips. (See picture below).

The Sarcophagus

Now you need a sarcophagus, but not an airtight one. The mummies must be able to breath.

A shoebox will be perfect. However, you can use a non glazed clay pot. Don’t forget to wrap the mummies in a clean shroud before putting them into the sarcophagus, to make sure that dust or bugs won’t bother them in their afterlife home.

You can now seal the sarcophagus, either with a lid (made from clay, cork, wood, but not from plastic : you need a breathable material), or with a piece of fabric tied with a rubber band (not very elegant, but very convenient). I will never insist enough : the mummies absolutely need to breath.

The sarcophagus and the mummies in their shroud.

You can use them as soon as they are ready, or you leave them alone until next winter. On the pictures above, you can see last year’s harvest, with more orange (and even bergamot) peels than mandarine. I don’t pair bergamot and puerh, I don’t like it. I just store all my mummies together, because I don’t have enough room for separate containers.

When winter’s evils are back (sore throat, gloomy mood, and so on), simply take a strip and add it to your puerh tea.

It is the meeting of the Earth and the Sun, of Hades and Ra, of Darkness and Light.

How To Prepare Anti-Blues Potion

Ingredients :

  • 1 strip of citrus skin mummy

  • 1 pinch of afterlife tea (ripe puerh)

  • very hot water (90°C/194°F)

Tools :

  • a kettle

  • cauldron (gaiwan)

  • a dark clay chalice

 

In the cauldron, put the mummified skin on a tea leaves bed.

Cover the couple with hot water.

Brew for several minutes.

Pour into the chalice…

Drink with respect.

Pairing Suggestions :

Add a pinch of Edgar Poe’s or H.P. Lovecraft’s stories. What do you mean, these are not anti-blues readings ? Of course, they are : when you come back to reality, you realize how beautiful life is without monsters or unpeakable horrors !

Can you smell the puerh’s fragrance of eternity ? Can you feel the earth’s strength in the puerh tea, & the sun’s energy in the citrus skin ?

I have to go, my kettle is whistling, & my book is calling…

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