Home Brew: How to Make Tea from Your Backyard Herb Garden
For centuries, herbs have been grown for their delightful scent, delicious flavours and medicinal properties. If you’ve got a herb garden at home, you can turn those aromatic beauties into delicious teas. From mint to sage and dandelion to chamomile, the options for teas made with fresh edible herbs are endless!
The process for brewing tea from fresh herbs is very simple. Use about a handful of fresh herbs per cup of tea, and chop or crush the leaves in a mortar and pestle to help release the essential oils and vibrant pigments.
Boil some water and allow it to stand for a minute, before pouring over the herbs. Cover your pot, and steep for around five minutes, and then strain before serving. If you don't have a herb garden, you can make tea using dried herbs, with a ratio of about a teaspoon per cup.
Honey and fresh lemon juice are herbal tea's best friends, but you can get creative by adding other sweeteners or mixing spices and dried herbs into your fresh herb tea. Mint is probably the most common tea made from fresh herbs, a Morocco staple served piping hot and sweetened with sugar cubes, but you can brew delicious teas and experiment with different combinations to find out which flavour brews you like best using any of the following (and many more).
- Lemon Thyme
- Lemon verbena
- Marigold flower
- Basil leaves and flowers
Drying herbs is a way to prolong their shelf-life and alter the experience of drinking herb tea. The dried herbs have a slightly different flavour to their fresh counterparts; less grassy with deeper woody notes. Dried bunches of herbs will last between 6-12 months, and make excellent inclusions in quarantine care packages!
Air-drying your thoroughly rinsed herbs is a fantastic way to preserve the colour and flavour. Tie your washed and patted-dry herbs into small bunches with twine and hang them in a dry spot with proper air-flow (out of direct sunlight) until they're completely desiccated. Herbs can also be air-dried on racks or dehydrated in the oven or microwave for instantaneous results.
Fresh herbs are packed with vitamin C and have high mineral contents. Alongside giving your immune system a boost, herbal teas are soothing and delicious!
Tea is a unique way to enjoy the herbs and edible flowers that may be hiding in your garden - and a perfect way to warm up as we get closer to the winter months. A tip to elevate store-bought herbal tea is to add fresh herbs to amp up the tea-drinking experience! Fresh mint in jasmine tea is delicious, and pairing basil, sage or thyme with chamomile makes for a complex night-time brew. Try marigold and saffron tea for a gorgeous amber cup! Heat your thyme sprigs with cinnamon sticks and cardamom pods for an exotic twist! The possibilities are endless!
Once you've brewed your herb tea, use the leaves in a scrub or facemask to get some fresh exfoliating action! Playing with herbs is an excellent quarantine passtime.
Photos : Lia Vassiliadis via @table_water_.