A do-it-yourself article on growing your own tea.
If you are a tea lover, you have likely experienced the disappointment of steeping a pot of your favorite tea, only to discover its flavor has all but disappeared. Whether your preference is green tea, black tea or the herbal variety, tea has a limited shelf life. The boxes of teas stacked in the grocery stores have hailed from all over the world. In most cases, you have no idea how old the tea is or how far it has travelled to get to your mug. So how about growing your own?
Although most black and green teas are grown and harvested in warmer climates, many herbal teas can be grown just about anywhere in the world. By growing your own herbs, you can guarantee freshness, quality, and-if you so choose-organic goodness. Herbal teas can be made from fresh or dried herbs. The key to steeping a perfect cup of herbal tea is to crush the leaves or flowers, in order to release the highest concentration of oils and flavors into the water.
The following herbs and flowers can be grown in most climates with relative ease:
- Mint (leaves)
- Lemon balm (leaves)
- Bergamot (leaves)
- Chamomile (flowers)
- Lavender (flowers and leaves)
- Fennel (seeds)
These wild plants can also be used for tea. Each of them have high nutritional quality:
- Burdock (root)
- Wild strawberry (leaves)
- Dandelion (leaves)
You can also have fun making tea blends out of your herbs as well. But don’t let that stop you-try adding other delights you might have lurking in your refrigerator or cupboards: Ginger root; lemon juice; orange zest; cardamom seeds; cinnamon sticks.
You can grow your own herbs, dry them and make teas out of them throughout the year. When drying your herbs, hang them upside down from a string in a dark, cool, dry place-this might be a closet, a basement or just a darkened room. Once they are dry and brittle, store them in brown paper bags, but don’t break them too much until you are using them for making your tea.
If herbal tea is your fancy, you will find that nothing beats the flavor of a steaming cup of tea made from herbs you grew yourself, they will make the kind of tea you couldn’t get anywhere else.
Published in: Gardening