Honeysuckle Drink

Honeysuckle is called Jinyin hua in Chinese. “Jinyin hua” literally translates as “gold silver flower,” because when the flowers first bloom, they are white (silver) then turn yellow (gold). Last week when we went to Walmart, we saw the dried flowers for honeysuckle tea, which is popular in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Then yesterday, we saw these cans and bottles of a honeysuckle drink. Leah said that the Chinese character after honeysuckle means “alcohol” (Hmmm, honeysuckle wine? Not for 3.5rmb a can!) ….but there is no alcohol in it! Another example of how Chinese words can have multiple meanings. It sounded interesting so I got some to try and had it this afternoon. It was too sweet for my liking, but the honeysuckle flavor was nice. The taste reminded me of the Wang lao ji drink I wrote about on January 23, which also has honeysuckle in it. It is best known for fighting bacterial and viral infections, helping reduce inflammation, reducing toxins, and good for use in the summer heat. The flowers, which is what the tea is made from, are considered very safe, but when using the stems and leaves you have to be careful not to use too much. There are supposed to be about 200 species of honeysuckle and three are known for their healing properties. I guess I don’t have to feel so bad when I think of all the honeysuckle I’ve pulled from my flower beds in the past in the USA, it did smell good, but probably wasn’t the right kind for tea :-)

Life in China: A Picture A Day, February 20, 2016

Many countries around the world drink raw sugar cane juice and China is one of them. Most often, we see vendors who you can buy a piece of sugar cane from. They cut the outer part off, then you chew the pulp, suck the juice out, and spit the pulp back out once you’ve gotten all of the juice. I tried it years ago and wasn’t crazy about the pulp chewing. Sometimes, you see stands where they have machines to extract the juice, then you can buy a cup or bottle and just drink it. It’s really not bad, and is actually lower than Coca-Cola on the glycemic index! Coke is in the 60’s, raw sugar cane juice in the 30’s -40’s. This stand is at a Food Festival at the shopping plaza near us. We bought a small bottle for 5rmb ( 75 cents usd). Just took a few sips, but I’m going to try it as a sweetener in some baking.