Tea Time – Week 5 of the 2015 Herb CSA

In this week’s parcel, we have included:

Lemon Balm

Anise Hyssop

Spearmint

Dried Raspberry Leaf

Lemon Verbena

 

*BONUS*

Stevia Leaf

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.

Use 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.

 

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.

Lemon Balm

 Lemon Balm

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.

The white flowers attract bees, hence the genus name Melissa, Greek for honey bee.


Stevia Leaf

Stevia

Stevia 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.

The flavor of its leaves are closer to honeysuckle nectar than sugar, making it more pleasant to chew.


Anise Hyssop

Anise Hyssop

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.

The name is misleading, as it is neither anise nor hyssop, both plants are used for their licorice flavor.


Spearmint

 Spearmint

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.

The Romans believed eating mint would increase intelligence. The scent of mint was also supposed to stop a person from losing his temper, and royal ambassadors carried mint sprigs in their pockets.


Raspberry Leaf

 Raspberry Leaf

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.

For a sore throat, gargle a strong infusion.


Lemon Verbena

 Lemon Verbena

Lemon verbena leaves are used to add a lemon flavor to fish and poultry dishes, vegetable marinades, salad dressings, jams, puddings, sorbet, Greek yogurt and beverages. It also is used to make herbal teas, or added to standard tea in place of actual lemon (as is common with Morrocan tea).

One of the herbs earliest names, Aolysia triphylla, describes the three leaves that grow from each node. Three leaf plants were significant in religion because they symbolized the Trinity.

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