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Traditional Eastern European tea made with dried elderflowers, rose hips, linden leaves, and raspberry leaves. 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 this tea, I wasn’t all that excited. Then I had a sip and was begging for the recipe. Fortunately, I was able to get it and can share it with you too!
The tea we had was served at the Pensuinea Nea Marin, a B&B in the Romanian village of Măgura. Each year, 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. I absolutely loved learning how completely normal it was for people to forage for tea in Romania. It’s such a part of the culture and tradition that I think people were surprised that I even had to ask.
Foraging for Wildflower Herbal Tea
There are four herbal ingredients in the tea blend and you make it without any additional sugar or flavoring. It simply doesn’t need it. The first of the ingredients, elderflowers, are picked from shrub-like trees in late spring. They have a perfumed and sweet scent and are commonly used to make elderflower cordial. 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 of the year, pick and dry raspberry leaves. Pick them before the canes have a chance to form flowers to ensure they have the best flavor and herbal potential. Raspberry leaves are a gentle woman’s herb and are used during pregnancy and to treat PMS.
Late Summer Foraging
Early summer is the time to pluck honey-sweet linden leaves and flowers. Also called Lime trees, linden trees can grow up to eighty feet tall but their lower branches can usually be picked without needing a ladder. Pick both the flower stalks and the small and light-colored bracts (they look like small leaves just below the flower) when harvesting. Linden leaves have a sweet and pleasant taste and a calming effect.
In autumn red rose hips drip from rose bushes, both wild and domesticated varieties. These are the seed heads of roses and they make a fruity and vitamin-c rich, rose hip tea. If you’d like to learn more about herbalism and the benefits these herbs have for health and wellness, I recommend enrolling in the Herbal Academy’s Introductory Herbal Course.
Drying Herbs for Tea
If you plan on drying your own herbs, I have instructions for how to dry rose hips. For the remaining ingredients, air dry them or use an oven or food dehydrator. In an oven, use a low temperature, ensure the door slightly open, and expect it to 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 this Stockli Dehydrator but in the USA, I can recommend this one. It has metal trays similar to the ones in mine and good reviews.
Make Wildflower Herbal Tea
To make a small pot of tea, enough for four cups, use five rose hips, two teaspoons of dried elderflowers, five to six (about one teaspoon) dried raspberry leaves. You’ll also need three to four stems (about one teaspoon) of linden leaves and flowers. Leave to steep in scalding water for at least ten minutes before serving.