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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, August 5, 2006

Oasis in a glass

 •  Laugh about love with stand-up relationship therapist at Sharkey's
 •  Learn about, buy unthirsty plants at xeriscape garden's open house
 •  Good kaukau, entertainment at 30th Lili'uokalani Church lu'au
 •  Encourage the artist in your keiki at museum's Expression Session
 •  Tell us about your holiday craft fair
 •  Relive Plantation Days at Waipahu village

By Wanda A. Adams
Advertiser Food Editor

Try sweet-tart limeade at home: iced green tea with lime and white grape juices, garnished with grapes and a sugared rim.

JOAQUIN SIOPACK | The Honolulu Advertiser

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Boil 2 cups fresh, cold water; remove from heat and let sit one minute. Place 4 1/2 teaspoons of green-tea leaves or 3 green-tea bags in a teapot (place loose tea in an infuser or strainer, if you have one). Pour hot water over tea; steep two minutes and remove infuser or strain off leaves. Chill until cold.

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From Heiss' book: In a medium-size pitcher, combine 2 cups chilled green tea, 2 cups chilled white grape juice (to cut sugar, use light white grape juice, made with Splenda), 6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice. Stir, taste and add sugar or artificial sweetener, if needed. Rub the rim of a tall, chilled glass with a lime wedge, then press the rim into a saucer of sugar to form a thin crust. Thread lime wedges and green seedless grapes on skewers and place in glass. Add a few thin slices of lime, drop in some ice and pour tea mixture over.

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No matter what Kermit says, it is easy being green. Green tea is everywhere these days, particularly in icy drinks that are perfect for sticky August days. It's easy to make green-tea iced teas, frappes and smoothies at home. Customize them to your tastes and your preferred calorie-count.

A big reason for the green-tea boom is the drink's purported health benefits.

In "Green Tea, 50 Hot Drinks, Cool Quenchers, and Sweet and Savory Treats" (Harvard Common Press, $12.95), Mary Lou Heiss reports that green tea contains antioxidants, called catechins, which help prevent tumor growth by strengthening cell walls. Studies suggest that elements in green tea may aid digestion, lower blood pressure, reduce blood clots, decrease the level of "bad" LDL cholesterol, strengthen blood vessels and reduce cancer risk. Green tea contains caffeine, but in lower levels than black tea and coffee.

There are many kinds of green teas, but they're all made from the dried leaves of Camellia sinensis, a flowering evergreen shrub. From the powder-fine matcha of the Japanese tea ceremony to China's hand-rolled, whole-leaf Jasmine Pearl, green-tea flavor can range from subtle and delicate to earthy and spicy.

The highest-quality green tea comes in loose-leaf form; try the Tea Chest in Pioneer Plaza (591-9400), Pacific Place Tea Garden (944-2004) or Lupicia Fresh Tea (941-5500) in Ala Moana Center. Costco now has a sencha/matcha blend under its Kirkland label.

As with all tea-brewing, remember to use good, fresh water (bottled water, if necessary).

Reach Wanda A. Adams at wadams@honoluluadvertiser.com.