Herbal Tea Recipe
Once you've harvesting your herbs for tea, here's how to blend and brew up a healthy pot of tea.
Blending and Brewing
In "merry olde England," a tea with one ingredient was called a simple. By all means, start by sampling some simples and get familiar with the various teas. That way, you'll know if you're one of a very small percentage of people that may experience a reaction to one of these ingredients.
Once you discover the art of blending, however, you'll probably prefer the made-to-order tastes and subtle accents you can create. But just as mixing contrasting colors can make a muddy mess, mixing unrelated flavors can be unsatisfying. The trick is to choose one flavor or family of flavors to carry your message. Then, for accent, add small amounts of other herbs or bits of dried fruit or citrus peel, toasted almonds or walnuts, or whole spices. Use about three parts of your dominant ingredient(s) to one part of accent items. Crumble the leaves if necessary to mix evenly, but not enough to go through your strainer or tea ball.
The recipes given here call for dried ingredients and yield six cups of tea. Use one tablespoon of dried herbs per cup, plus one for the pot. For fresh leaves or flowers, triple the amounts (seed measurements don't change). Pour boiling water over the herbs, cover and let steep for one to three minutes. Herb teas are naturally pale. Sweetening with honey darkens them and adds body. Lemon juice bleaches the color; try rose hips instead. Peppermint, betony and sunflower teas can take a little milk.
4 tablespoons toasted sunflower hulls
This article is a part of our Herb Gardening Guide for Unusual Herbs & Herb Stories.