What is Russian Spice Tea?
I wondered why the drink was called "Russian" tea, since I did not think there were any citrus groves in the cool zones of the country. I learned that it is the method of making the drink, not necessarily the ingredients, that gave the tea its name. The Russians were introduced to tea in trading with the Chinese in the 1600s. Traditional Russian tea beverages are a mix of two or more flavored teas. A type of Chinese or Indian black/dark tea is used that allows for extended brewing in a samovar (a specially designed stacked tea pot) without becoming bitter. A little of the strong tea is served with an additional amount of hot herbal and/or fruit flavored tea to dilute the concentrate, and is sweetened with honey or jam.1
To learn of the beneficial medicinal properties of herbal and spiced teas during the cold and flu season, read ". . . What's for Dinner?".
The following recipe might be considered Russian with the strongly brewed black tea, and the heated citrus fruits, spices, and sweetener, combined to form a very flavorful, hearty, and healthy drink.
Russian Spiced TeaBrew 2 quarts of strong black tea sweetened to taste, and set aside.
Mix the following together in a large pot:
Before I discarded the citrus fruit I strained away from the Russian spice tea, I thought I would use it to try my hand at making marmalade. I had no idea of the complexities of making marmalade and had somehow done everything right, although quite accidentally. I was extremely pleased with the results, but upon researching additional information for this article, I discovered many people have problems with the marmalade not properly setting, or gelling, or unhappy with too much bitterness in the flavor. So, the following is the recipe and steps that I used for my Russian spiced tea marmalade, in hopes that others may have the same success.
What is Marmalade?
Marmalade is a type of jam, preserve, or soft jelly, with finely chopped pieces of fruit suspended in the translucent gel. Any fruit or vegetable can be used, but citrus fruits require little or no artificial pectin for the process. The seeds (pips) and rinds of citrus fruits help with setting the gel, while also imparting a slightly bitter flavor which is desirable, and necessary, to those of us who love the taste.
A list of marmalade "musts" (a general consensus found among cookbooks and Internet):
For a tradional bitter orange marmalade, one should use the Seville orange (Citrus aurantium), also known as sour orange, bitter orange, or maralade orange.
Russian Spiced Tea Marmalade
This marmalade requires equal parts fruit to sugar.
I added a little of the spiced tea to give more liquid and flavor to the fruit that I had strained out of the Russian tea, which had been soaking in the fridge for a day.
This is what I used:
The marmalade has a fabulous taste and is very pretty in the jar for gift-giving. I printed a few quick recipes to attach to the jars for uses other than spreading on bread. A recipe gift tag can be made by printing a block of recipes then glueing (or taping) scrap gift wrap to the back. Fold like a book and punch a hole in the corner of the fold to run a ribbon through. Tie the little recipe gift tag around the top of the jar (refer to photo above).
The following are a few of the recipes I will consider. (Here is a link to an image of these recipes you can download, print, and cut out for yourself: Recipes Using Marmalade)
Recipes Using Marmalade
I will definitely make marmalade from the Russian spiced tea again next year and believe this will begin a new holiday tradition for me! I wish you much success with your marmalade making, too! Happy Holidays!
 Linda DeLaine. "Tea Time in Russia". Russian Life. 15 Mar 2007.
http://www.russianlife.com/article.cfm?Number=193 . 5 Dec 09.
 "Ball Blue Book of Preserving". 2003. Altrista Consumer Products Company.
 J. Greene, R. Hertzberg & B. Vaughan. "Putting Food By". 4th ed. 1991. A Plume Book. Stephen Greene Press, Inc.
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A Russian Samovar, Wiki Creative Commons ShareAlike 3.0
Editor's note: This article was originally publihed on December 16th, 2009. Please note that the author may not be available to answer questions or respond to comments.