Rooibos: properties and uses in the kitchen – Easy and Simple Home Cooking Recipes


 Did you know that rooibos is not a tea? It is popularly called that, but actually in an infusion. Its properties make it a very beneficial drink for health and in the kitchen it has proven to be an excellent ingredient with which to enhance flavors. Through this reading, you will discover why rooibos has become so popular in recent years.

Rooibos does not come from the Camellia sinensis, the tea plant, if not a shrub from South Africa. And furthermore, this does not have theine, caffeine or any other stimulant. These are the main differences between the two drinks. However, both are considered foods that can be used in the preparation of multiple dishes. Here you can see some of the uses of tea in the kitchen, while those of rooibos are different.

The word rooibos means red bush in Afrikaans, since when the green leaves of the plant are cut and allowed to oxidize and dry in the sun, they acquire the characteristic reddish tone. Due to the reddish hue, rooibos is sometimes confused with red or Pu-erh tea, although its properties are different.

The shrub is characterized by its elongated, needle-shaped leaves and grows in the dry Cederberg and Sandveld mountains in South Africa.

In fact, rooibos leaves are divided into two groups: green leaf and red leaf (hence there are two types of rooibos). As we have commented before, the red rooibos It is obtained by the process of fermentation and exposure to the sun. This process gives it an amber pigmentation. While the pigmentation of the green rooibos It is obtained when the leaves do not go through the drying and fermentation process. By retaining its natural light green color. This type of rooibos has more antioxidants and is usually fused with other herbs to enhance its flavor.

Part of its great boom is due to its sweet taste and mild aroma, as well as its great benefits that we will talk about below.

Nutritional properties of rooibos

Glass of Rooibos with ginger

Rooibos is rich in content minerals. It has iron, calcium, potassium, manganese, copper, magnesium and zinc. It is also rich in vitamin C.

The rooibos bush is the only known source today of aspalatine, a flavonoid with potent antioxidant effects. In addition, it is rich in polyphenols, organic chemicals with a great antioxidant capacity and that have anti-inflammatory, antiviral and anti mutagenic propertiess. These phenolic compounds protect the body from free radicals that can cause cancer and heart disease.

On the other hand, as it does not have caffeine or theine, it is suitable to be taken at any time of the day. It can also be taken by children, pregnant women and during breastfeeding (in these cases it is not recommended to exceed three cups a day), hypertensive people and even those who have kidney stones due to the absence of oxalic acid.

Health benefits

Rooibos is a drink that has a 0% theine and a 0% calories, which makes it one of the healthiest drinks.

It is excellent for people with insomnia and for those who wish lose weight. Its flavor is a bit sweet, so it will not be necessary to sweeten it. It can be taken hot or cold, the latter being very useful to quench your thirst after exercising.

its antioxidant action (especially green rooibos) fights free radicals and delays aging. It is beneficial for inflammatory diseases of all kinds, improves the functioning of our immune system and prevents cardiovascular diseasesas well as osteoporosis.

It is also known for relieve stress, nervous tension and hypertensive conditions.

Has antihistamine action, very useful against allergies. They contribute to treatment of dermatological diseases. In addition, it keeps the teeth and mouth in good health, as well as the nails and hair.

It is indicated in cases of gastritis Y stomach cramps, especially of babies and children. Improves digestive functions, helps prevent constipation, regulate diarrhea, and even eliminate excess fluids in the body.

Uses of rooibos in the kitchen

Couscous with chickpeas softened with rooibos

In addition to being an infusion with a very pleasant flavor, it can be used as an ingredient in some dishes, both salty and sweet.

One of the most common uses in the kitchen is to use rooibos to tenderize the meat (for example the game) and give it more flavor. It is also used as a substitute for water in the stews so that these come out tastier, with the meat more tender and with better color.

A trick they use in haute cuisine is to use rooibos to tenderize legumes, such as chickpeas or beans, and that these absorb the flavor of the rooibos.

On the other hand, it is also used in the elaboration of homemade jams and preserves. When boiling the fruit, add a few tablespoons of rooibos and this will enhance the fruit flavor. It can also be mixed with chocolates, strawberries, oranges, and spices, like cardamom.

In any of these preparations, it should be taken into account that the rooibos is added at the beginning of cooking. This is unlike tea, which is incorporated at the end of the stew so that it does not leave the bitter taste that tea acquires when it is infused too much.

Finally, you can also see that some cocktails They carry rooibos. It is considered a very versatile ingredient, infuses and combines perfectly with other ingredients and drinks.

Have you ever tried rooibos as an infusion or ingredient in any of your preparations? Tell us through the comments and also if you would like us to publish a recipe with rooibos.

If you liked this article about rooibos, you may also be interested in knowing more about cold infusions, their benefits and how to prepare them.


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