New Year discard can be made into fruit drink

WITH the Chinese New Year, most of you will probably follow tradition and visit the flower market to buy a tangerine or peach flower tree. However, after the New Year season, these plants are usually dumped as trash.

But shouldn't we view this ''trash'' with a conserving eye? Consider their features and useful properties.

Crush the fallen or withered leaves of the tangerine tree and you smell the tangerine scent, characteristic of this genus. Ripe tangerines can be preserved and made into a fruit drink that is great for scratchy throats, coughs and upper respiratory congestion.

You can make the preserved tangerine infusion by first drying the tangerines in the sun or in a cool ventilated place. Then place a layer of tangerines in a glass jar, followed by a layer of coarse salt.

Continue layering salt and tangerines until you have filled the jar, finishing with a layer of salt.

It is best to preserve the fruit for six months to a year. Then you can have the infusion by crushing a preserved tangerine with a spoon in a cup of hot water.

The leaves of the peach flower give an almond scent when crushed. The fruits are delicious, and are used for fruit jam and soft drinks.

Both tangerine tree and peach flower can be replanted. After the New Year season, plant the trees in larger pots or outside if you can find some space, otherwise, give the trees to a gardener or return them to a nursery.

If the trees do not survive, at least dispose of them thoughtfully. Break the branches and wrap the trees in a newspaper so they can be easily picked up by a refuse collector.