Saturday, July 21, 2012

Herb and fruit iced tea


While cutting culinary herbs for drying, yesterday, I brought my tray over to my tea garden. (My tea garden is just a fancy way to say that I've planted herbs for making tea in one specific part of my flower garden.) Anyways, I could see that so many of my tea herbs were perfect for making tea. The chamomile was in full bloom, the lavender buds were just opening, the lemon balm was about to form flowers, as were the mints.  I cut several large handfuls, then went over to my roses and cut 3 perfectly open rose blossoms. On my way back to the house I picked a handful of raspberries and strawberries. After giving these a quick rinse, I made a large kettle of tea. 

To make herb and fruit tea, you'll need 1 handful of fresh fruit and/or fresh herbs for every two cups of water. If using roses, pull the petals off the blossoms and discard the stem, for chamomile use the blossom head (cut the stem just below the flower), with lavender, for best flavor, cut the stem just below the blossoms or buds (you can use blooming lavender or in the bud stage), with green, leafy herbs, like mints and lemon balm, use 6-8 inch pieces, stem and all.

Measure your water and pour into a large stainless kettle or stock pot.  Bring your water to just below a boil, about 190-200 degrees F. (Without a thermometer you can tell the approximate temp by the bubble formation. At 160-170 degrees F, small bubbles begin to appear on the bottom of the pan. At 180-190 degrees F, these bubbles have peppered the bottom of the pan and are coming up in long strings. This is just before a full rolling boil.)

Once the water is between 190 and 200 degrees F, drop all your fruit and herbs into the water. Return just to barely boiling. Cover. Turn off the heat. Allow to steep for 10 to 15 minutes. 

Mash any fruit you added, and taste tea. At this point, if the tea doesn't have enough flavor or just the right flavor, I will usually add a bit of a commercial fruity tea, and allow to stand for another 15 minutes or so. Pour the steeped tea through a strainer into a large pitcher and chill. 

In summer, with my daughters home from school, we go through a lot of iced tea. I make about 1 gallon at a time, and this will keep in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Besides berries, peaches, cut off the stone, are delicious with chamomile tea. In late summer/early autumn, before any frost, an apple, cored and cut into chunks, added to mints and lemon balm, makes for a nice hot or iced tea from the garden.  

2 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Hi Mallory,
      We're enjoying it! But I think my favorite part was cutting all the herbs,blossoms and picking the berries to toss into the water. It just all looked so pretty together. I hated to cook it all up into tea. Then I tasted it and was glad I did!

      Any tea herbs in your pots? I think you have lavender, right?
      Anyways, thanks for visiting!

      Delete

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