Friday, May 21, 2010

Homemade Tea

Non-organic tea can be really dangerous.  Most of the popular non-organic teas that we drink here in America were treated with a number of chemical pesticides and fungicides prior to being harvested.  The leaves are rarely washed before they are dried, so essentially we are steeping a flavored toxin tea when all we wanted was a hot, healthy beverage.

On top of the chemicals, many brands, like Celestial Seasonings, add "natural flavorings" to their tea blends.  These flavorings, created in a laboratory, could mean just about anything and are far from natural.

Organic tea can be expensive, so one option is to grow and make your own tea.  It's actually very simple.

Here are some instructions for making mint tea.  I love mint tea and use to help with a stomach ache, because mint is nature's anti-nausea medicine.

Step One:  Cut your mint.  With mint it is best to harvest your leaves between 9 AM and 12 PM, because this is before the heat from the sun has had a chance to dissipate all of the oils in the leaves.

Step Two:  Remove the leaves from the stems and give them a really good rinsing.  Make sure to compost your stems.

Step Three:  Dry your leaves.  You can do this many different ways.  Some people like to hang their herbs upside down (stems and all) to dry outside, but this takes 2-3 weeks.  If you live in a warmer climate where the temperature will stay over 100 degrees for as long as it takes the leaves to dry, you can do this outside by placing your leaves on something like a window screen to dry.  I prefer to use a food dehydrator.  It takes very little time, uses little energy, and ensures that my leaves get completely dry and will not end up molding.

Step Four:  Once your leaves are dry and crispy, you can crush them.  Just make sure you don't make the flakes too small or you will have a lot of floaties in your tea.

Step Five:  Steep your tea.

Step Six:  Enjoy!

Make sure you store your dried herbs in an air-tight container.  Your herbs also retain better flavor if you wait to crush them before storing, so only crush what you need for one cup of tea at a time.  Always check your leaves for signs of molding before using them, and discard them if they are turning brown.  If you keep them in a dry, cool place away from sunlight, they should last for up to a year in storage.

If you aren't harvesting a large amount of herbs and you just want enough tea for one cup, you can skip the drying and just pull a few leaves from your plant.  Boil the leaves in some water and you will have delicious, healthy, organic tea.



Tasha - The Clean Eating Mama said...

Hey jessica! Good to see you again - it has been forever since TheNest ;)
Thank you for posting a comment on my blog. Celestial Seasonings is not my favorite choice for tea and that "natural flavor" ingredient is pretty iffy.
I have an herb garden that I make my own tea from all of the time. So yummy!
I am adding your blog to my list - take care!

Scottish Twins said...

Thanks, Tasha! I love your blog. I started following a month or so ago. I'm learning a lot already.

Kayla said...

I am just planting my garden now, and I am totally going to plant some mint after reading this! You mentioned it was quite prolific; I have a VERY shady spot in the front of my house. Does mint need much sun?

PS I love checking your blogs, there's always a great tip or two that I can incorporate to improve my health. I wouldn't even have thought of mint tea, but now I'm excited to plant some!

Scottish Twins said...

Kayla - Mine is planted on the West side of my house and is blocked by a brick wall. It gets very little sunlight and I never water it. I planted it two years ago and it has quadrupled in size with absolutely no care.

Thanks :)