Did you know that many flowers and herbs can be made into teas at home? Oftentimes you need look no further than your own garden for edible plants that can turned into a delicate and delicious brew. Just follow a few simple steps and you’ll be all set to make your own infusions.
You will need:
– Plant materials (herbs, flowers)
– Tea ball or empty tea bags
– Basket + paper towels/microwave + plate/oven + baking sheet (depending on drying method)
– Tea cup or mug
First of all, know what you’re looking for – educate yourself about which plants and flowers can be made into teas (some seemingly innocuous plants are actually poisonous, so don’t just pick them at random). Here is a list of some common edible flowers and herbs that you can use. It’s by no means complete, but a good basic reference for easy-to-find garden plants:
Plants for tea:
• Anise Hyssop
• Lemon Balm
• Hoary Mountain Mint
• Lemon Grass
Step 1: Gather your plant materials
. Go out into your garden and harvest the leaves or flowers you will using for your tea. You don’t want to take too much, or you’ll risk damaging or even killing the plant itself. As a rule, take up to one third of the plant and leave two thirds or more. Be careful not to damage or pull too much of the stem of any plant you use.
Step 2: Wash your leaves and flowers.
You don’t want to make a tea full of pesticides! And even if you don’t use pesticides, it’s generally a good idea to get all the dirt and other unwanted particles or chemicals off of your pickings. Infusions leech chemical essences into the tea water – the good and the bad; so it’s very important not to skip this step.
Step 3: Dry your ingredients.
You can skip this step if you’ve only gathered enough for one cup of tea and plan on using your herbs or flowers immediately. But if you would like to preserve some of the plant materials to be used later, you can hang the leaves and flowers, or put them in a basket lined with paper towels, and let them air dry in a well-ventilated area. This may take somewhere between a few days and few weeks depending on the types and amounts of plant matter. You can also Tie them in bunches and hang them upside-down in a cool, dark area. If you want to speed up the process, simply place your plant materials on a plate and microwave them for 2 to 5 minutes, checking their dryness along the way. Alternatively you can put them in the oven on a baking sheet and bake them on a low setting. The herbs and flowers will be ready when they feel papery.
Step 4: Prepare your ingredients for steeping.
When the herbs and flowers have completely dried. Place about a tablespoon of the dried ingredients inside a tea ball or tea bag and seal it. You can usually find tea balls at some larger or specialty grocery stores. Make sure you choose one with a chain for easy removal from the tea cup or mug.
Step 5: Make your tea!
Boil yourself some water and place the tea ball or bag into the water, letting it infuse for as long as you want – longer for a deep, rich flavor, shorter for a delicate taste. Now, enjoy the fruits of your labor! Go ahead and experiment – why not make some interesting blends by combining different herbs and flowers? Start simple, then figure out what you like and feel free to play with various tastes and aromas.