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Herbs - Tea

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Herbs - Tea

Post  JK on 3/7/2012, 10:20 am

I saw a recent topic about growing green tea and it got me wondering about regular herbal teas.

I know mint is to invasive to put in a box with other things but Im sure others would be ok and the number of herbs that can be used for tea is pretty long.

Personally I have a small potted rosemary bush thats survived over a year, despite my inattention, that I use for tea more than I do for cooking. I hope to eventually have an entire area just for herbs in addition to having them scattered through my boxes as companions.

Anyone growing herbs like chamomile, mint, etc and using them for tea? Would love to see pictures and hear how you use the different herbs.

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Re: Herbs - Tea

Post  Lavender Debs on 3/7/2012, 11:46 am

I miss my tea garden. It was a 10 foot circle with a knot pattern that one of my son's helped me make when we lived and homeschooled in a mountain valley of the North Cascades. Like you, my current place has tea scattered throughout the gardens.

Right now I have chamomile sprouting in a winter sowing box out in the cold frame. It will not be ready for a season but it is showing hope. Of course I have the regular mints, lavender and lemon balm. Young berry leaves (Rasp, straw and blackberry) make good tea. (CAUTION do not use raspberry if you are pregnant, it is a uterine toner and can bring on menstruation. It is an old medicinal for getting labor started.) Sage leaf and nettles is another good tonic. I make comfrey tea but others like to avoid it. My liver works fine.

The problem with a discussion on herbal or wild harvest tea is that so many of them have medicinal qualities (including those mentioned above). It is SO easy to google or bing EVERYTHING. You really should do so if you want more than a cup or three. It is not as dangerous as eating random mushrooms but it is smart to know what you are putting into your body. None of the teas I use are anywhere near as powerful as caffeine (often they have the opposite effect, lavender, chamomile, and valerian are well known as sleepy makers of various strength)

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re: herbs tea

Post  minervalong on 3/7/2012, 12:00 pm

debs, i love the idea of a tea knot garden. lemon balm is one of my favorites too. we use it to give a lift to iced tea, brew it with thyme and lemon peel for colds and stuffy noses.

debs is right, a lot of herbs have medicinal qualities, so you need to be careful. after all the heart med digitalis is a derivitive of the foxglove plant. i'm going to grow plants for stress, headaches and colds, which is what plagues my household most, you could research for the things you want help alleviate.

i find it fascinating that you can go to your garden and pluck the necessary.

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Re: Herbs - Tea

Post  JK on 3/7/2012, 1:25 pm

I completely understand Debs. Should probably have a disclaimer...

Not meant to endorse any medicinal use or diagnose any problem(natural or self inflicted) ...

Eat/drink at your own risk

I just bought a pineapple sage plant at Ace. Im going to let it get settled a bit before I try picking anything but if the taste is like the smell it should make for a great tea.

I have cinnamon basil seeds and Im trying to find somewhere local with mint. May have to order it. Would love to find some chocolate mint.

I have actually gotten several books on herbs and their potential medicinal uses. It'll be a long way down the road but I when I do get a section just for herbs it would be nice to have it in sections: tea, cooking, medicinal, etc.

Debs I have wild blackberry all over the place. Ive never tried tea out of any berry leaves. Most of the berries here are a bit bitter compared to the wild berries Ive had before. Any idea if the same bitterness would be in the leaves? Have you ever 'sun-brewed' any tea using herbs from the garden?

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Re: Herbs - Tea

Post  Lavender Debs on 3/7/2012, 2:04 pm

@JK wrote: ....snip....when I do get a section just for herbs it would be nice to have it in sections: tea, cooking, medicinal, etc.


That was my plan but there are so many cross-overs I gave up.

@JK wrote: ....snip....Ive never tried tea out of any berry leaves. Most of the berries here are a bit bitter compared to the wild berries Ive had before. Any idea if the same bitterness would be in the leaves? Have you ever 'sun-brewed' any tea using herbs from the garden?


The leaf and the fruit do not have the same essence. The fruit is full of sugar (even if bitter) when compared to the leaf. I prefer younger leaves to mature leaves. You can always add honey or a leaf from stevia if your tea is too bitter.

I've made buckets of sun tea. When I do make sun tea I get better results with dry leaves or flowers. Almost boiling water (just when it starts to dance or roll (after the pot stops making noise but before it bubbles) .... or reaches 197 to 200* F on a good stick thermometer) does the best job of releasing essential oils from fresh leaves and flowers. Three to four minutes steeping releases more flavor than bitterness or off flavor. After 3 or so minutes you are heading for a medicinal infusion. Good for you but not so refreshing as a beverage.

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Re: Herbs - Tea

Post  JK on 3/7/2012, 2:25 pm

Thanks Debs Smile Now that its getting warm again im looking forward to trying sun brewed. Never done it before so it will be fun to experiment.

Ive thought about the crossover plants for the sections. I have no intention of building it anytime soon but I figure I wont mind having multiples of certain plants Wink Id love to get to a point of over abundance so I can try selling or just give away to friends.

Think im going to check the blackberry bushes this evening after work...

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Re: Herbs - Tea

Post  Lavender Debs on 3/7/2012, 3:11 pm

Good news! (the other good news)

You do not need heat or sun to make sun tea. Dry tea (even ol' Lipton in a bag or anything from the HFS) will make a very nice tea. We like equal parts black tea and mint if we want the caffeine or Roo-bus (Roi-bus, red African) and mint if we do not want the kick. About 8 bags worth of leaves to a gallon of water + 6 to 8 hours to steep-soak... add a cookie and you have tea..... scratch the cookie, add lemon.

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Re: Herbs - Tea

Post  JK on 3/7/2012, 3:25 pm

Shocked So... does leaving it in sun for the heat do anything different than simply letting it sit and steep without the heat?

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Re: Herbs - Tea

Post  quiltbea on 3/7/2012, 3:37 pm

Very interesting discussions. I'll be eager to learn more.

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Re: Herbs - Tea

Post  Lavender Debs on 3/7/2012, 3:40 pm

@JK wrote:Shocked So... does leaving it in sun for the heat do anything different than simply letting it sit and steep without the heat?

You should try both yourself but I cannot tell the difference.

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Re: Herbs - Tea

Post  JK on 3/7/2012, 4:06 pm

Hmm. Thats both encouraging and dissapointing at the same time. Nice that I can easily make the tea without having to use anything but time but kinda dissapointing that there may not be a taste difference with the slow sun heated way.

Oh well, still be fun to try. Think I may set out a gallon to steep in the kitchen when I get home. Have you noticed a difference in taste between slow steeped vs 3-4min hot water?

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Re: Herbs - Tea

Post  Lavender Debs on 3/7/2012, 4:39 pm

@JK wrote: Have you noticed a difference in taste between slow steeped vs 3-4min hot water?


Personally I do not need sweetener with "sun" tea. There is no bitterness. My husband does not get a sour stomach from sun tea like he does from regular iced tea.

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Re: Herbs - Tea

Post  ksbmom on 3/7/2012, 5:55 pm

I love my mint tea! I use the dried leaves for hot tea or just throw some leaves in with my tea bag if I don't have dried. I have it growing in a pot in the front yard as well as down by our mailbox where the pine tree needles won't allow anything else to grow. My favorite is iced tea with mint - I grew up in Arizona and all we ever made was sun tea. I didn't even know you could make it any other way tongue . Mom always had a sun tea jar out on the pool deck and when it was dark enough we brought it in. I also find I prefer sun tea without sweetener, but that could be just due to growing up out west where we never heard of sweet iced tea. When I moved to the South and a server in a restaurant asked if I wanted sweet tea I had no idea what she meant!

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Re: Herbs - Tea

Post  walshevak on 3/7/2012, 9:28 pm

At least she offered "sweet" tea. I you order iced tea in the south, it is assumed sweet. Laughing I was raised on sweet tea until I moved north. Now, I have to remember to order unsweetened tea when down south.

Kay

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Re: Herbs - Tea

Post  Lindacol on 3/7/2012, 11:21 pm

[quote="JK"]

I have cinnamon basil seeds and Im trying to find somewhere local with mint. May have to order it. Would love to find some chocolate mint.

quote]

Home Depot has had chocolate mint plants the last few times I have been there.

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Re: Herbs - Tea

Post  JK on 3/8/2012, 8:04 am

Lindacol - I havent been by in a week or so but I havent seen it at any of the local stores. Lowes, HD, Ace, any of them. Guess its a area demand thing?

Only time Ive ever traveled far up north was a school trip to Boston. We got these weird looks when we went to eat and tried to order sweet tea. They didnt even know what we were talking about at first. We all thought we were going into withdrawals by the time we got home.

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