These below freezing temperatures have us thinking of ways to keep warm! Cuddling up on the couch with a blanket, a laptop for Pinterest and a nice cup of hot tea is a must.
Speaking of tea….have you ever considered growing a tea garden?
Sure it’s easy enough to go to the store and purchase tea bags, but where is the fun in that? If you grow your own herbs for tea, you can mix and match to create your own tasty blend. You may also find that herbs grown in your own garden can be more flavorful than the ones you would buy in the store.
If you want to plan your tea garden for next year, you should think about what types of herbs you want to grow.
You can start planning your tea garden right now! A little internet research and a hot cup of tea as inspiration can go a long way. While you are planing, think about adding these herbs to your tea garden:
- Bee Balm (Monarda didyma), a member of the mint family, is native to the eastern United States and Canada.
- Betony (Stachys officinalis) bears two- to three-foot spikes of violet flowers. The deep green, hairy leaves make a slightly astringent tea that’s similar to a mild, fragrant China tea.
- Coriander (Coriandrum sativum) produces seeds that lend a warm, citrusy flavor to tea. The leaves, used in cooking, are known as cilantro or Chinese parsley.
- Chamomile bears small, daisy-like flowers that have long been used in Europe for tea.
- Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis) is a floppy two-foot-tall member of the mint family has scalloped, lemon-scented leaves that make a soothing evening tea and add body to blends as well.
- Mint (Mentha spp.) comes in many varieties, all of which have been used as teas. Peppermint leaves (M. x piperita) seem to be the only ones that stand up to drying and steeping, making a wonderfully refreshing iced tea.
- Yerba Buena (Satureja douglasii) is a low-growing perennial with wonderful menthol-mint-flavored leaves.
The plants listed here can all be used fresh for tea, or they can be dried first. To dry them, spread the stems on trays in a warm, airy place and turn them twice a day. When they’re dry (four to eight days), gently strip off the leaves, buds or flowerheads and store them in closed containers.
After the leaves a dry, you can mix them and make your own concoction. For some classics try recipes see the graphic above.
Creating your tea garden this coming season will ensure that you have warm, delicious tea year round… and especially when you need it on a cold winter night like this.