The best herbal tea I’ve ever tasted
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.
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.