Look Ma! They’re blue! And yes they are. Definitely more common in Asia, they are also sometimes called black dates. Some black or blue dates are made by simply smoking their red counterparts. And you can definitely taste that smokey-ness when you soak them in teas or use them more pure. They taste slightly charred, bur fragrant, and are a more deep sweet versus the dried red dates. Sometimes, blue and black dates are used together with the red dates in teas and soups, or you can use blue dates as they are.
How do I prepare it?
You can use directly from its packaging and drop directly into soup or teas. Be sure to remove the seeds of the dates, as the seeds are super fiery and heaty, creating excess yang in the body. The dates themselves are already slightly warm, so we want to keep the heat in check.
Where can I buy it?
In most wet marts in Hong Kong
Available in your Chinese herbalist or Chinese medicine store
I’ve also seen this readily available in bulk packages as Chinese supermarkets
What is the cost?
A package of around 30 dates cost $40-$50 HKD
There are varying prices of blue dates depending on its rarity and quality
Blue and black dates are more expensive than their red counterparts
Dates are known to assist in maintaining healthy blood pressure and assist the stomach and spleen in poor appetites It is also commonly used to address stress in drinks and teas
Due to its sweetness, it is soothing to the throat and used to treat sore throats
Dates are an excellent source of Vitamin C
Dates are slightly warming and ideal for soups and teas where you want to create more warmth
Dates help with blood circulation, tonify blood and Qi
Be sure you are buying this ingredient from a reputable source
Store in a dry, cool place in a seal container to prevent mold or spoilage
Herbal teas is an amazing category of Chinese drinks that are more purposeful and intentional in its creation and consumption. They aren’t always medicinal and have some more common ingredients that we always drink because they taste so good!
I honestly think you really begin to appreciate garlic as you age. I mean, that certainly is the case for me. I mean, true garlic… yah sure, garlic bread itself is taste, but I mean garlic in it’s raw, true, and glorious form.
The Chinese don’t use garlic very often in soups actually. It’s common in cooking and dishes and stews, but soups are almost non-existent. I will, however, sometimes, use garlic in soups. Part of it is a fusion blend, part of it is to yield the benefits garlic provide into the soup (for the kids, too), and part of it is because I love eating it regardless.
Ingredient Name: Fresh Garlic
Traditional Chinese Name: 蒜 (suàn)
What is this?
A pungent root that is often used for medicinal and culinary purposes
The edible bulb is made up of sections called cloves
Did you know that garlic is a part of the onion family?
Unbroken bulbs can be stored for up to 8 weeks in a cool, dry open container
Cloves can be stored for 3-10 days depending on weather and humidity, you can keep them in the fridge for endurance
How do I prepare it?
If you are purchasing bulbs, you will need to extract the cloves from the bulb prior to usage
Some like to smash the cloves prior to cooking as it releases more flavour and is easier to disintegrate
Where can I buy this?
In any supermarket, they come prepackaged as bulbs or packaged in cloves (ready to serve style)
What is the cost?
You can purchase bulbs of garlic that are prepackaged for a few dollars CAD per package
Pre-packaged and disassembled bulbs (sold as packaged individual cloves) are more expensive
Garlic is high in anti-oxidants, which help with kill free-raidcals in the body
It is also widely recognized in promoting the well-being of the heart and immune system and helps with blood circulation
It is also known to be a powerful and natural antibiotic
Over consumption can lead irritation and damage to the digestive tract
Due to its pungent smell, garlic eaters often retain and even omit the smell of garlic when it is eaten in excess (this is due to garlic’s essential oils)
Garlic garlic yum yum yum. It isn’t commonly used in Chinese soups, but I will sometimes put it in my stews for its health benefits and some zing. I do use garlic like crazy in my baking and cooking. The Chinese are a big fan of garlic for most of their dishes.