Monday, May 9, 2016

Herbal Tea Gardening


I love experimenting with Herbal Tea Blends. During our hot summers here in Texas a tall pitcher of homemade Iced Tea reflects all of the hard work and time spent in the garden. 

We grow many different herbs throughout the garden in hopes of creating a wide range of diversity among the fruits and vegetables. Many are grown as companions as well as attracting a full range of beneficial pollinators and insects.

I do however enjoy focusing on growing many that are my favorite flavors for Tea and Culinary uses in the kitchen. Although many of our herbs are enjoyed freshly harvested from the garden, it is fun to dry and store them for later use. 

While many herbs are said to be best harvested right before they bloom so that much of the essential oils and flavors are at their height throughout the leaves and stems, I have always found the flowers of many herbs to be the essence of the plants.

Not only do they add beauty to your dried tea blends, I find they truly obtain the flavors of the herb.


For this herbal tea blend I've dried and combined different herbs that compliment the base of the blend.

 For the base I've used Roselle Hibiscus. This is a tropical herb that can be grown in the southern regions of the U.S. It has the close flavor of a cranberry.

I've complimented it by using Bergamot (Bee Balm) leaves and flower petals. The Scarlet Red Bergamots have a very slight citrus flavor and is what is used to make Oswego Tea that you may have noticed in the markets.

Next, for a subtle touch I used Lemon Balm leaves, Pineapple Sage leaves and a pinch of Berries and Cream Mint.

There are a whole bunch of wonderful herbs to grow in your garden for making Tea. I hope to talk more about them soon and some hints on growing them yourself.

 If you do not have the same herbs that I've used for this blend, you can first look for Hibiscus Tea or one called Red Zinger. It will be as close as you could get to my blend.

You can also use most green teas or black teas for making the Honey Spiced Peach Tea Recipe I am sharing. But we have used Fresh Organic Peaches to make a simple syrup, so I would be looking for some, unless you grow your own.

We have several peach trees here in the garden and can't wait until they begin making fruit!!

Ingredients 
2 Qt. Pitcher for Iced Tea

Simple Peach Syrup

1 cup water
3 to 4 peaches, peeled, pitted and diced
1 tsp. fresh ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. fresh ground ginger
1 cup honey

Bring water, peaches, cinnamon and ginger to a gentle boil on medium heat. Cover and turn heat down to low. Let simmer stirring frequently for about 20 minutes. Remove from heat. Mash any peach pieces left. Strain liquid into your pitcher. Add honey to warm liquid and stir.

Brewing your Herbal Tea



Fill a long tea filter with 3 tbsp. of loose leaf tea. Fold down the top edge and put a staple in it. Bring a little over 1 quart of water to a boil and remove from heat.

Place in the tea bag to steep. Let steep for at least 20 minutes. Add this to your pitcher with the Simple Peach Syrup and Honey. Stir well. Add ice and fill the rest of the pitcher with cold water.

Stir it all very good and it is ready to serve.

 Note: If the tea is not going to be served right away, I will skip adding the ice and leave the tea bag in the pitcher for an hour or so to bring a little extra flavor to it.

Happy Gardening!
Pammy

3 comments:

  1. Oh, thank goodness, you wrote about your tea bags! Now I know how to close them! Staple! Why didn't I think of that! Brain frozen from all the cold weather! xo

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    Replies
    1. I do hope ya'll warm up real soon Nancy! It's been a very unusual winter, even for us. I keep a stapler in the kitchen during the summer months LOL lots of iced tea going on around here ;)) xxoo

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