Herbal tea is a great way to enjoy the health benefits of herbs. It’s easy to make, and the ingredients can be found in your own garden. To create a delicious cup of tea, you’ll need to harvest and dry herbs from your garden. Here’s how you can do it.
Harvesting Your Herbs
Harvesting herbs is an important step in making herbal tea. The best time to harvest your herbs is in the morning after the dew has dried. This is when the essential oils in the herbs are at their highest concentration. Before harvesting your herbs, make sure they are free of any pests or diseases and are healthy.
When harvesting herbs, you should only cut the top third of the plant, leaving the lower third intact. This ensures the plant will continue to grow and produce more herbs. You’ll want to use scissors or pruning shears to make clean cuts, to avoid damaging the plant.
Drying Your Herbs
After harvesting your herbs, it’s important to dry them thoroughly. Drying herbs will preserve their flavors and aromas. You can either air dry your herbs or use a dehydrator.
To air dry your herbs, tie small bunches of herbs together at the cut ends and hang them upside down in a dark, dry place. This can take up to two weeks, depending on the humidity in your area. Herbs that have thicker stems, like rosemary or thyme, can be placed on a drying rack or cookie sheet to air dry.
To use a dehydrator, place your herbs on the drying racks, and follow the instructions that came with your dehydrator. A dehydrator can dry herbs in hours rather than days. Be sure to rotate the trays every hour or so for even drying.
Storing Your Dried Herbs
Once your herbs are dry, store them in an airtight container. Glass jars with tight-fitting lids are an ideal choice, as they keep the herbs fresh and protect them from moisture. Be sure to label your jars with the name of the herb and the date of harvest.
Making Your Herbal Tea
Now that you have your dried herbs, it’s time to make your herbal tea. Start by boiling water, and then steeping your herbs in a tea infuser or a pot with a lid. Depending on the herb, your tea may need to steep for anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes.
Some popular herbs for tea include:
Chamomile: Known for its calming properties, chamomile tea can help reduce anxiety and promote better sleep.
Mint: There are many varieties of mint, and all of them make a refreshing and soothing tea. Mint tea can help relieve headaches and indigestion.
Lavender: Lavender tea has a calming effect and can help improve mood and reduce stress.
Lemon balm: Lemon balm tea is a great way to reduce anxiety and promote relaxation.
Making herbal tea from your garden is a great way to enjoy the health benefits of herbs. Harvesting and drying herbs is easy and can be done in a day. Once you have your herbs, you can make tea anytime you like. With a little bit of effort, you can create a satisfying and delicious cup of tea.