Celebrate Juneteenth Picnics, Parties and Emancipation Proclamation Readings With Rooibos
In just two days, we celebrate Juneteenth. The holiday commemorates June 19, 1865, the date that Union Army general Gordon Granger signed General Order No. 3, which proclaimed freedom from slavery in Texas. President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, signed two years earlier, had already outlawed slavery in Texas and other states that permitted it. But enforcement of the Proclamation lagged substantially.
The first line from the Order reads: “The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free.”
Juneteenth on its way to national recognition
People across the country on Saturday will hold public readings of the Emancipation Proclamation, sing traditional African-American songs from the era, and read works by the United States’ wealth of outstanding African-American writers. Family reunions, street fairs, rodeos, historical reenactments, Miss Juneteenth contests and mark will enliven towns and cities from Birmingham to Bozeman.
And yesterday the United States Congress passed legislation sponsored by Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey making Juneteenth a federal holiday. It’s now up to President Joe Biden’s pen to make it a reality. The federal recognition of the holiday is long overdue.
We plan on celebrating Juneteenth, which we champion as a powerful and important American holiday. One of the things we will do across the day is sip rooibos, the tea made from the African rooibos shrub. Rooibos does not have an explicit connection to Juneteenth. But it is one of the few styles of tea from Africa that we carry, and we just adore it. Among other things, Rooibos is a superb choice when it is so blazing hot outside. The tea offers a bounty of electrolytes, which help increase and maintain hydration.
Happy Juneteenth! We suggest sipping iced rooibos while reading the Emancipation Proclamation or Ralph Ellison’s masterpiece Invisible Man. Or while nibbling Rooibos and Walnut Carrot Cake, from our recipe.
Let’s begin with the basics — straight organic rooibos tea. There’s a reason that the leaves and stems from this shrub have become a popular tea. They taste great. Thousands of different kinds of shrubs grow across the world, but only a handful make excellent teas.
Rooibos, which means “Red Bush” in the Afrikaans language, offers sweet, nutty and slightly woody flavor profiles. It’s bold, without being bitter — a superb caffeine-free alternative to black tea. In addition to flavor, rooibos is thought to be beneficial as a treatment for many conditions, including headaches, cramps and allergies. Its health advantages probably stem, at least in part, from its many antioxidants. This Rooibos Organic is an outstanding representative of high-quality straight rooibos.
Rooibos’s earthy flavors complement the complexities and depths of peach, one of our favorite fruits. This blend combines rooibos with peach pieces, offering immense balance and refreshment. We think Rooibos Peach is an excellent choice for iced tea — especially for something like a Juneteenth picnic on a hot afternoon.
If you like our Rooibos Peach, here’s a version with flavor and health twists. Our Be Happy rooibos uses peach as a base, but then brightens the peach with lemon peel. And then it incorporates St. John’s Wort, an herb that grows wild across Eurasia but found welcoming footholds across North and South America. Natural physicians around the world prescribe St. John’s Wort to treat depression. In fact, in German the herb is only available through physician’s prescriptions! The herb’s woodsy flavors add intrigue to this wonderful, joy-ripening tea.
Drink tea. Be happy.
Who doesn’t love a Creamsicle? Of all of the popular popsicles, the kinds you find in gas station freezers — ice cream sandwiches, Klondikes, Strawberry Shortcake Bars, those Sponge Bob numbers, and so on — we return again and again to Creamsicles. There’s something about the combination of orange, vanilla and cold that pleases in ways hard to describe in words. They just rock.
So we are delighted to carry a Creamsicle in a cup. This fun Rooibos Creamsicle tea, which in addition to rooibos contains orange peel and yogurt (for the cream part of the equation), nails that hard-to-capture flavor of our favorite popsicle. Like all of our rooibos’s, we find that it is just as tasty hot as it is brewed and chilled. Given the sweltering forecast, however, we think iced may be the way to go for the next few weeks.
If you hold or attend a Juneteenth party this weekend, we recommend this wonderful carrot cake, made from rooibos tea and walnuts. It’s positively perfect.
Rooibos & Walnut Carrot Cake
Lemon Rooibos infusion
Juice from 2 lemons
2 tbsp whole-leaf rooibos tea
Add rooibos tea to lemon juice. Let infuse for 30 minutes or more.
3/4 cup sunflower oil
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
2 1/2 cups grated carrots
1 cup walnuts, chopped
Zest from 2 lemons
Lemon Rooibos infusion
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease an 8 inch round cake pan, and line it with greased baking paper.
- In a medium sized bowl, combine oil, eggs and sugar.
- Strain together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and cloves in a large bowl. Add grated carrots and stir to mix.
- Add egg mixture to carrot mixture and blend thoroughly.
- Add walnuts, lemon zest and Lemon Rooibos infusion and mix well.
- Pour mixture into the prepared cake pan and bake for about 70 minutes.
- Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes. Turn onto a wire rack to cool completely.