Herbal Tea Making
Over the growing season, I harvested small bunches of fresh herbs each week and 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 to get started with my “recipe” testing.
I converted my closet into a mini drying room, using clothes hangers to hold the herb bunches while they dried with a small fan circulating air inside the closet. The closet was the ideal space since it was dark, warm and dry. Within its confines, I dried mint, anise hyssop, yarrow, lavender, calendula, sweet marjoram, bergamot, chamomile, rosemary, and sage.
Since my time was precious during the busy growing season, I just stored whole dried bunches in air-tight containers until I was ready to process them. Besides running out of room in the closet, leaving the herbs hanging all summer would have left them dusty and a bit “off” when brewed. This week I had the chance to process all those dried bunches, striping the leaves and buds off the brittle stems and sorting them into tupperware.
From here I plan on using a few books and my own tongue to guide the way to some good brews of herbal mixes. The bergamot will be mixed with some bulk black tea to make my own Earl Grey. The sweet marjoram and chamomile might make a nice match with some calendula petals sprinkled in for vibrant orange color. I have also been harvesting rose hips and drying them in the closet. I’ll use those with the yarrow and lavender for a bright floral tincture. As December approaches and I get my tea “recipes” down, I’ll bundle up assorted teas, jars of my bees’ honey, and some cute bees wax candles for holiday gifts again this year.