Herbal Tea Making

October 21, 2008 at 8:59 pm 13 comments

Herbs drying

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.

Herbs bunched and ready to dry

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. 

Processed herbs

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.

Rose hips


Entry filed under: In The Garden, Preserves. Tags: , .

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13 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Allie  |  October 21, 2008 at 9:45 pm

    Hi. Just wanted to tell you I really enjoy your blog.

    Also I wanted to let you know that if you dried bergamot mint, your tea blend will not taste exactly the same as a standard Earl Grey tea, which uses bergamot orange peel (citrus aurantium ssp. bergamia). Which is not to say it will not taste good – I just wanted to let you know you may notice a difference in flavour.

  • 2. Mary  |  October 21, 2008 at 10:00 pm

    I’m so impressed with your skills and your closet space. I’m also thinking that the recipients of those holiday packages are lucky people indeed.
    I love your blog! It’s a place that I can dream of how life could be.

  • 3. Kerry  |  October 22, 2008 at 5:12 am

    Hi, I just recently found your blog and I love it. The photos are wonderful. I also have a question about herb drying that you might be able to comment on. I tried to dry coriander once and after several weeks the steams got brittle and the buds started to fall off so I ground it and put it in a regular spice bottle. Shortly after the herb got an off, moldy scent. Was it not dry enough when bottled? I do live in a humid place. How do you prevent this?

    Anyway, thanks so much for sharing your herb drying with us. Looking forward to future posts.

  • 4. A  |  October 22, 2008 at 10:19 am

    I’m just stumbled across your blog and I utterly love it. I’m a real tea lover and would love to be able to grow some of my own herbs to make some herbals. Do you have any suggestions about growing herbs indoors in pots?

  • 5. Jennie  |  October 22, 2008 at 5:22 pm

    Thanks, Allie, for the additional info about bergamot. I did mean the herb, not the orange peel. However, a book on tea making that I had checked out from the library specifically listed the herb as the way to make Earl Grey. I’ll just have to try it and report back, won’t I? 🙂

  • 6. Jennie  |  October 22, 2008 at 5:23 pm

    Mary – I’m so pleased you enjoy the blog so much. My closet space is a bit envy-inducing at the moment, but it wasn’t always the case. 🙂

  • 7. Jennie  |  October 22, 2008 at 5:29 pm

    Kerry – Welcome! Thanks for the kind comments. As for the corriander, I’ve never tried drying that herb in particular, but I do have a educated guess. Even when herbs are dried, they retain their natural oils (which is what gives them their flavors so the oil is a good thing). It’s always advisable to leave dried herbs as whole as possible (the leaves or buds, that is. You can take them off the stems) while storing them so this oil remains undisturbed. Just before using the herbs is when you should grind it up or crumple it between your fingers. I would guess that when you ground it up and then stored it, the oils were released and they went rancid, causing the mold/bad smell. Next time, try just storing the whole buds and mostly whole leaves (it’s okay if they get a little broken up, just don’t grind them to a powder) and I bet they’ll keep for a long time. Good luck! 🙂

  • 8. Jennie  |  October 22, 2008 at 5:38 pm

    A – Welcome to you as well! It’s so much fun to hear from new readers. Tips for growing herbs inside….hmmm, well, there are definitely easy ones such as basil, cilantro, and chives. However, those three aren’t so fantastic for tea. Hardy “woody” herbs such as lavender, rosemary, sage, and anise hyssop are best grown outdoors and they survive the winter in most parts of the U.S. You can harvest these herbs far into the cold months too as they hold their leaves for quite awhile. Otherwise, for the herbs that fall between the savory easy-to-grow-inside and the woody best-grown-outside categories, I can only suggest a south facing windowsill with large well-drained pots of soil ammended with lots of compost or fertilizer. Water only when the plant gets dried out (stick your finger into the soil up to your first knuckle; if dirt is damp and clings to your finger, don’t water yet), at which point give it a long deep drink. To tell you the truth, houseplants have never been my forte though. 🙂

  • 9. fallenangel65  |  October 23, 2008 at 12:29 pm

    Can’t wait to hear how the teas turn out and evolve. I bet your closet smelled so good!

  • 10. Lori  |  October 24, 2008 at 7:44 pm

    I wanted to start that this year. Well I did a little. I had every intention of harvesting my chamomile. I did harvest my lemon balm. I need to store it up now. Oh and mint. I guess I did okay. Always greeat stuff on your blog. Very informative.

  • 11. Teya  |  November 21, 2008 at 9:54 pm

    I ran accross free herbal tea recipe book that some may be interested in. The recipes were great!


    There are also other free recipes to try as well.

  • 12. "webbsida"  |  October 12, 2013 at 12:10 pm


    “[…]6 You are so cool man, the post on your blogs are super great..~.~~ pg[…]”

  • 13. "www"  |  October 12, 2013 at 4:53 pm


    “[…]x Regards for helping out, excellent info . qe[…]”


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