Pretty Packages

November 30, 2007 at 10:33 am 22 comments

Pretty Packages

Okay, for any of you who think you might get a holiday gift from me in the next few weeks and don’t like ruined surprises, stop reading now! 

For the rest of you who want to know what’s in those darling boxes, click the link below for a great homemade gift idea.

Lavender Yarrow Hyssop Tea

It begins with this mix of herbs that I gathered from the farm and dried earlier this fall.  I took an educated guess as to the proper blend and created my own Lavender Yarrow Hyssop Tea.  The rough ratio, for your reference, was 3 parts yarrow leaves, 2 parts hyssop leaves, and 1 part lavender leaves.  Usually their flowers are used to make tea, but I was gathering mine too late in the fall so there weren’t many buds to be had.   I don’t think the tea suffered for it.

The resulting infusion is meant to sooth anytime and to restore good health if you’re fighting a cold.  The flavor of this tea straight up is fairly intense, bordering on medicinal, but quickly tames with the addition of honey or other sweeteners, at which point it tastes very much like chamomile.   It produces a similar lovely golden color as well.

Homemade herbal tea goes into a tea bag

It took me awhile to find them, but I finally got my hands on some all-natural, biodegradable self-fill tea bags from this great tea store, Steep, on 18th Street in Philadelphia.  I bought the large ones since I was initially planning to sell this infusion as a bath soaking tea (yep, draw a hot bath and steep yourself with the tea bag) at the last day of the farm’s stand at the Headhouse Market.   See, before I actually made the tea and tasted it, I was worried about how medicinal these three herbs might be together.  These three herbs were the only viable tea herbs we had at the farm this year so I had to get creative.  All this brainstorming was before I actually tasted it and found it to be really lovely. So I sold a few bags at the market as a bath soak and kept the rest to toy with at home.   The recipients of these gift boxes will be given instructions for how to use it both as a bath and as a beverage. 

Filled tea bags

I know what you’re thinking.  “This is a lovely idea, Jennie, but we don’t all have access to a field full of herbs.”  True.  But you might have some herbs growing in pots around your home or you can probably find some still at your local farmers market.  You could even forage for yarrow, which grows as a weed in many places.  If you still don’t have any herbs to use this year, think about growing some next summer specifically for making tea.  One very important thing to remember when gathering herbs for tea: don’t use anything that has been sprayed with chemicals.  Otherwise, just get creative with whatever you can find.  I’ll be offering a lot more herbal tea instructions next year when I’ll be growing more varieties of herbs at the farm and on my own.

Adorable boxes from Target

Now let’s talk about packaging your product.  I’m a marketing professional by trade.  I know the value of putting the right look on something.  You can sell an Eskimo ice if you make it look new and appealing.  For my tea, I wanted an unusual box (thank you Target wedding favor section) and decorations that were subdued but still whimsical.

Tea boxes wrapped up

The dark burgundy ribbon alluded to the holiday season at hand.  The bee, cut from a larger swath of ribbon, alluded to the herbal elements within.  It was a perfect match to what I wanted.  But this is just one example of how you can present homemade tea bags. Only one rule to follow: before placing in the final packaging, place the tea in a sealed plastic bag or wrapped tightly with plastic wrap from the kitchen to keep it from going stale.  Place a little card with the tea box, instructing recipients to brew ¼ teaspoon of tea per cup of boiling water for five minutes.  Sweeten with honey.  To use as a bath soak, fill bath tub with a few inches of the hottest water you can get from the tap.  Steep tea bag in tub for 5 minutes before filling tub the rest of the way with water at your desired temperature.  Get in and enjoy the relaxing aromas and the way your skin smells afterwards. 

Homemade tea as holiday gifts

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22 Comments Add your own

  • 1. therealpotato  |  November 30, 2007 at 11:47 am

    oh my god, these are adorable.

    Reply
  • 2. Jennie  |  November 30, 2007 at 11:50 am

    Tee hee. Gosh, thanks! :)

    Reply
  • 3. Patricia Scarpin  |  November 30, 2007 at 11:51 am

    These are some of the prettiest packages I have ever seen!

    Reply
  • 4. Jennie  |  November 30, 2007 at 11:54 am

    Thanks, Patricia! For me, it’s all about the packaging! :) The problem wtih these is that I’m not sure I’d want to open it if I got one…I’d just want to look at it. :)

    Reply
  • 5. lulu  |  November 30, 2007 at 12:21 pm

    These are so cute!

    Reply
  • 6. Jennie  |  November 30, 2007 at 12:48 pm

    Gracias, lulu!

    Reply
  • 7. taylor  |  November 30, 2007 at 2:49 pm

    Cutest ever!

    I love cute packages and always imagine I’ll get all Martha on the holidays, but just end up wrapping with wrapping paper – and no bows because they squoosh on the long haul home.

    Reply
  • 8. VegeYum  |  November 30, 2007 at 3:01 pm

    How lovely.Such a great idea.

    Reply
  • 9. Jennie  |  November 30, 2007 at 3:03 pm

    Taylor – If you put up a little tree, you might get one of these under it…. But only if you put up a tree. ;)

    Reply
  • 10. Jennie  |  November 30, 2007 at 3:05 pm

    Thanks, VegeYum! I like arts & crafts. :)

    Reply
  • 11. Il.  |  November 30, 2007 at 3:44 pm

    Oh my, oh my! Can I have one? Pretty please?

    Reply
  • 12. Christine  |  December 1, 2007 at 9:08 am

    Adorable! I sure hope I’m on your list this year ;)

    Reply
  • 13. Brittany  |  December 2, 2007 at 8:59 pm

    This is a good and simple idea. Way to be creative. I’m sure people love it.

    Reply
  • 14. Jennie  |  December 3, 2007 at 7:17 am

    Il. – Thanks!! At the moment my supply is limited, but I just picked another big bunch of herbs over the weekend and am thinking about putting some tea boxes up for sale…Are you in Philly? I’ll probably sell them in the Weavers Way Co-op but if there was enough online interest, I might put them up here. I’ll keep you posted. :)

    Reply
  • 15. Jennie  |  December 3, 2007 at 7:18 am

    Christine – Have you been naughty or nice? Nah, who am I kidding…of course you’re on my list! :)

    Reply
  • 16. Jennie  |  December 3, 2007 at 7:18 am

    Thanks, Brittany!

    Reply
  • 17. ExPat Chef  |  December 3, 2007 at 1:37 pm

    Not expecting a gift, but I did nominate you for Best Food Blog in the categories of rural site and photography. See for yourself: http://wellfed.net/2007/11/30/best-food-blog-rural/

    Reply
  • 18. Jennie  |  December 3, 2007 at 2:53 pm

    Aw, thanks, ExPat Chef! I’m honored!! I’ll check it out. :)

    Reply
  • 19. Some Favorites « Straight from the Farm  |  December 13, 2007 at 2:10 pm

    [...] Afternoon Tea package.  If I’d gotten my act together sooner, I would have contributed my homemade herbal tea for the [...]

    Reply
  • 20. Daniel Weltch  |  February 27, 2008 at 8:00 am

    wow nice blog. I will try to make own tea package. thx

    Reply
  • 21. lavender. « at home. together.  |  October 14, 2008 at 8:16 pm

    [...] tea could be one use for the fruits of manic lavender harvests. the best recipe i found online was this one for homemade lavender, yarrow & hyssop tea — which sounds a little involved and possibly [...]

    Reply
  • 22. Herbal Tea Making « Straight from the Farm  |  October 21, 2008 at 8:59 pm

    [...] hung them to dry in anticipation of making my own herbal tea when the cooler months got here.  I started tea making last year with just anise hyssop, yarrow and lavender.  This year I had a much wider palette of herbs growing in my garden, and I’ve been eager [...]

    Reply

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