New Favorite Thing: Fresh Herbal Tea

by Daisy on 07/02/2013

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I love herbal tea.

I have an embarrassment of fresh herbs in my garden.

It is summertime.

Why have I been using dried up, store-bought tea bags year-round?

I think maybe I tried fresh herbs as tea a few times and it turned out sort of watery and bland and I crossed it off the list of things to do, or maybe I’m just remiss, but until this spring and summer, I’ve been missing out on a really good thing.

I have a particularly stellar cast of great “tea” herbs this year, so that may be one reason fresh tea has come into my life now.  Here’s what I do every morning (and sometimes again in the afternoon).

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Pick fresh herbs.  In the pics I have my current favorites:

tulsi (aka sacred basil, amazingly rich, floral and caramel flavors and medicinally calming and wonderful)

lemon balm (fresh lemon fragrance and flavor, also calming and wonderful)

lemon verbena (intensely lemon and therefore wonderful)

lime basil (who knew basil tea would be so good? Not me, for shame)

I pick way more than I think I need, then stuff it into the teapot.  I don’t chop them up or remove the leaves from the stems, just put them in like I pick them.

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I think this is key to getting away from that watery tea I had in the past. Really cram it in.

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One day maybe I’ll have an electric teakettle and will feel very European about it.  For now it’s a pot on the stove.  Seems to have the same effect on water as the teakettle.

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I didn’t used to like yellow.  I didn’t like yellow countertops in particular.  They’ve grown on me and now I’m strangely attached to them.

Let it steep for at least 15 minutes to get the full flavor. I don’t remove the leaves, it just keeps getting better and better, unlike black tea which gets bitter.  It’s good hot, cold, with or without cream or milk.  I never sweeten mine, but a little honey wouldn’t be bad.

I’m drying some for the lean days of winter, but boy I will miss this after the frost.  Another reason to love summer.  That list keeps getting longer and longer.

 



{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Debbie J July 2, 2013 at 9:40 am

Daisy, you need to try mint in your tea. Peppermint is good for an upset tummy, but also when you have a cold or a sinus infection. It smells so good, too. I am wanting to grow an herb garden, with one area dedicated to tea herbs. Did you know that rose hips are a natural sweetener? Yep, it’s true.

Cinnamon Vogue July 2, 2013 at 10:37 am

I had never thought of making Tea like this, but it is a great idea. I wonder what water temparture is needed to make herb tea like this? I know Chinese green tea for example needs a temperature 140-185 (becomes bitter otherwise) while black tea needs 210 degrees F. So I am guessing this herbal tea needs somewhere in the range of 140-185.

Don’t worry about the electric kettles. They are expensive and start to fail after a while. The trusty old stove top kettle is the best. I got a glass stove kettle from Macy’s for about $15 which works really great for making Cinnamon stick tea. I put in the Cinnamon stick into the glass kettle with cold water, bring it to a slow boil over 25 minutes and then let it cool down for 15 minutes. The cooling process releases the Cinnamon inside the stick. And the glass kettle allows me to gauge the color of the Cinnamon tea which should be a bright red.

Lisa July 2, 2013 at 11:30 am

I have also been making herbal iced tea this summer -in my coffee machine no less! It’s super easy! http://www.fresh-eggs-daily.com/2013/06/brew-fresh-herbal-tea-in-your-coffee.html And so much better for you than anything you can buy. Loved your post – I need to try some lime basil tea next.
Lisa
Fresh Eggs Daily

Barbara July 3, 2013 at 6:28 am

Daisy….I LOVE your yellow countertops!!! I live in a barn, surrounded by wood and windows, and yellow is like sunshine!! Golden, uplifting, and healing sunshine! And you have it INSIDE your kitchen all the time. I “pick” a cup of tea too, from my lovely herb garden. The only one I don’t have is the tulsi, although I take it for adrenal issues….I’m going to find that one for next year. I throw in a leaf or two of stevia for a naturally sweetened pot of fresh tea. Mmmmm….it doesn’t get any better than this!

Sylvia Nixon July 3, 2013 at 6:31 am

I need to find some tulsi plants or seeds. I love holy basil tea but I have to buy it in tea bag

Gina July 3, 2013 at 6:32 am

all my family love nettle tea, it has a delicious light but deep flavour and is foraging which love.

Linda W July 3, 2013 at 6:57 am

Try some dried fruits in your mix! Especially pineapple!

kim critzer July 3, 2013 at 8:17 am

This is exactly how I make my fresh herb tea. I love your yellow teapot – totally charming.

Lisa July 3, 2013 at 8:49 am

We enjoy mint iced tea. Just put a huge handful of mint into a large measuring cup along with 5 decaffeinated tea bags and add 4 to 5 cups of very hot water. Let it steep until it is as strong as you like it and strain the liquid into a gallon pitcher. Add cold water and enjoy. I also discovered chocolate mint this year. I had some in hot tea last night and it is delicious.

Sarah July 3, 2013 at 11:05 am

I’m so jealous! I’ve only ever done this with mint, but it never occurred to me to try other things. The Lemon Balm sounds so good too. I wonder if you can grow a green tea bush in zone 4. Anybody know?

Cynthia July 3, 2013 at 11:21 am

Love it! So far in my little herb garden I’ve got sage, spearmint, and peppermint growing in my backyard. Plus this year I planted stevia and basil. Plan to make fresh herbal tea this weekend using mint and stevia. Thanks!

Erin July 7, 2013 at 9:46 am

Debbie J., when you plant your herb garden, be careful with the mint – it will spread EVERYWHERE and fast. Plant it in a pot or something and just put it nearby. Mint sends runners underground and it’s really hard to control.

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