Wild Flower & Berry Herbal Tea
It’s a rare thing for me to be wowed by a cup of tea. More of a coffee person, I’ll have tea when I’m not feeling well or when I think my caffeine level might be a bit too high. So when Josh kept pestering me to try the tea we were served on holiday in Romania I wasn’t bothered at first. Then I had a sip and was begging for the recipe.
The recipe comes from the Pensuinea Nea Marin in the village of Măgura and the process behind it is as beautiful as the blend. Each year from spring to autumn our host’s mother and grandmother go out into the hedges and forests and pick the ingredients for the tea. The flowers, leaves, and berries are then carefully dried and set them aside for the next year.
Into the tea goes four ingredients and it’s seeped without any additional sugar or flavouring – it doesn’t need it. First in the late spring Elderflowers are picked from shrub-like trees. They have a perfumed and sweet scent and are commonly used to make cordials. You need to gently removed the flowers from the green stalks using your fingers or a fork. The green stalks are not edible.
Around the same time is when you should pick raspberry leaves. Pick them before the canes have a chance to form flowers to ensure they have the best flavour and herbal potential. Raspberry leaves are a gentle woman’s herb and are used during pregnancy and to treat PMS.
Early in the summer is the time to pluck honey-sweet Linden (Tilea) leaves and flowers from the trees they grow on. I’d never had a tea made with Linden leaves before and can vouch for its sweetness and pleasant taste. I really need to find it growing here on the Isle of Man.
In Autumn red Rose-hips are dripping from rose bushes. These are the seed heads of roses and they in themselves make a delicious and Vitamin C packed tea.
If you plan on drying your own herbs, follow these instructions for the rose-hips, and for the remaining ingredients, make sure they’re free from bugs and dirt and then dry them in either an oven on low-heat or a food dehydrator. In an oven, make sure the temperature is low, the door slightly open, and it will take a few hours.
Though I used to use the oven to dry edibles, I now use a food dehydrator. The one I use is from Stockli and can be found here on Amazon.co.uk: Stockli Timer Dehydrator with Steel Mesh Trays. In the USA, I can recommend this food dehydrator.
To make a small pot of tea – enough for four cups – use 5 rose-hips, 2 tsp of dried Elderflowers, 5-6 (about 1tsp) dried Raspberry leaves, and 3-4 stems (about 1 tsp) of Linden leaves and flowers.
Leave to seep in scalding water for at least ten minutes before serving.