The items for this week’s share can be made into many different teas other than those suggested. Not listed here, but included in your parcel, are organic green and black tea to use as a base with some of the recipes. We have yet to try our hands at growing these two teas, but felt it would be helpful to include them in this week’s order.
Also included are ideas for culinary or cosmetic uses for those that may not find tea agreeable.
Brewing by infusion:
Most teas / tisanes made from leaves, petals, and flowers are prepared by infusion. Infusion allows the oils in these parts of the herb to be released gently; if the herbs were boiled, the oils would evaporate.
1 teaspoon of dried herbs, or 3 teaspoons of freshly picked herbs to 1 cup boiling water.
To infuse tea, place tea in the pot, either loose or in its infuser, pour boiling water over the tea, and allow to steep for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the delicate flavors are released. Then strain and serve. You may add or subtract herbs according to your preference.
A few items to consider:
- Infusion: Steeping a plant in boiled water.
- Decoction: Simmering a plant in lightly boiling water.
- When using freshly picked herbs, bruise the leaves gently by crushing them in a clean cloth. This will help to release aromatic oils.
- Use cold water to fill your pot. Never use hot water from the tap.
- Only allow your kettle to boil once, over/re-boiling causes the water to lose oxygen, resulting in a dull cup.
A member of the mint family, lemon balm is noted for its strong lemon aroma and flavor. Rich in the volatile oils citral & citronellal, lemon balm calms the nervous & digestive systems with antispasmodic actions.
Anise hyssop was used medicinally by Native Americans for cough, fevers, wounds & diarrhea. The soft, anise-scented leaves are used as a seasoning, as a tea, in potpourri, and can be crumbled in salad. The purple flower spike is favored by bees who make a light fragrant honey from the nectar.
Spearmint leaves can be used fresh, dried, or frozen. They can also be preserved in salt, sugar, sugar syrup, alcohol, or oil. The leaves lose their aromatic appeal after the plant flowers. It can be dried by cutting just before, or right (at peak) as the flowers open, about one-half to three-quarters the way down the stalk (leaving smaller shoots room to grow). It is used as a flavoring for toothpaste and confectionery, and is sometimes added to shampoos and soaps.
This herb has an amazing nutrient profile and a gentle taste similar to regular black tea but without the caffeine. It is naturally high in magnesium, potassium, iron and b-vitamins which make it helpful for nausea, leg cramps, and improving sleep during pregnancy. The specific combination of nutrients in Raspberry Leaf makes it extremely beneficial for the female reproductive system. It strengthens the uterus and pelvic muscles which some midwives say leads to shorter and easier labors. Please, always consult a midwife or doctor before use during pregnancy.
Chamomile has a light apple blossom aroma. The plant’s healing properties come from its daisy-like flowers, which contain volatile oils (including bisabolol, bisabolol oxides A and B, and matricin). Chamomile has been used for centuries in teas as a mild, relaxing sleep aid, treatment for fevers, colds, stomach ailments, and as an anti-inflammatory, to name only a few therapeutic uses.
A sugar substitute that has gained much popularity in the past few decades. Powdered stevia is made by drying and grinding the leaves. It is much sweeter than sugar or honey, so you will need much less. To use, add to your herb mix while steeping. Please note that stevia should be used as an herb, therefore added during brewing, and not after as you would with sugar or honey. It will not dissolve.