Friday, January 11, 2013
Brew up a Cup of Tea
For Hot Tea Month, I decided I should share more about tea on my blog. But first I think you should just brew some!
A cup of fragrant herb tea is a natural choice when you want to avoid caffeine. And best of all, you can grow a variety of wonderfully scented herbs and snip off a couple of sprigs whenever you want a comforting cup of tea. You can also dry them and keep them for winter use during cold season or to give as gifts.
Add them to your garden and it comes alive with their spicy scents and with appreciative wildlife. Bees, hummingbirds and butterflies love the flowers of many herbs. It’s a pleasure to rub the leaves and enjoy a whiff of all the different perfumes while working in the garden. Many will do well potted into containers for your porch or patio.
Some of my favorites are: lemon verbena, bee balm, chamomile, scented geraniums, catnip (aka, catmint), pineapple sage, and lemon balm. But you may enjoy a more savory flavor with marjoram, thyme, especially the flavored thymes, like lemon or orange, and Holy Basil.
To brew herb tea just add a few leaves or sprigs to your tea pot, or follow this basic method from Rodale’s Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs:
1. Use a non-metal tea pot to preserve the true flavors.
2. For hot tea use 2 tablespoons of fresh herbs or 1/2 tablespoon of dry per cup of water.
3. For iced tea use 3 tablespoons of fresh herbs or 1 1/2 tablespoon of dry per cup of water (to allow for ice cubes).
4. Bring water to a boil, then pour over the herbs in the tea pot; cover to steep.
5. Steep for at least 5 minutes, test for taste, steep longer if desired.
Serve with honey, lemon or orange slices, or sprigs of fresh herbs. I like to add a dab of honey to both hot and iced tea. For iced tea add the honey before chilling the tea so it will dissolve.
The pleasant ritual of brewing tea and enjoying a couple of cups from my teapot is very soothing. If you don’t have a teapot you can brew your tea right in your cup, just cover it while it’s steeping and strain out the herbs by pouring it into another cup to drink. Then keep an eye out at garage sales or pottery sales for interesting teapots to collect and enjoy a daily herbal tea ritual.