Saturday, May 18, 2013
Contributor | Homemade Herbal Teas
Hi lovelies, It's Nicola from Eat Well NZ here to share another guest post with you. Today I'm sharing how you can grow and make your own fresh and delicious herbal teas. While I do enjoy standard herbal teas from the supermarket, there is something quite therapeutic and relaxing about making your own fresh concoctions. There's a lot of love going into growing and tending your plants, then picking and brewing them. Plus you can get the most benefits out of using fresh herbs and ingredients like ginger and manuka honey to add to your teas. The smell is also amazing as you brew them.
Growing your own herbs for a tea garden is super easy and you can use them for plenty of other non tea related uses too! The good news is you don't need a lot of room and I grow mine in pots on the patio as it's convenient to just pop out the door to grab a bunch (plus because I see them every day I'm less likely to neglect them!).
To get started on my garden I planted the following:
Lemon Verbena - this herb has a refreshing, lemony flavour and an amazing fragrance. It's said to be good for digestion as it stimulates the production of bile . Keep protected from the cool in winter months. This herb can be grown inside too.
Stevia - up to 300 times sweeter than sugar but with no calories, stevia is an excellent natural sweetener for teas. Growing your own is fairly easy, but be sure to bring it inside in cooler weather as the cold will kill it. I left mine out in a frost and it didn't make it!
Peppermint + Mint- Any mint plant seems to be super easy to grow. If it starts to look a bit shabby, just cut it all back and it will regrow. Peppermint is especially good for digestion and helps relieve bloating and nausea.
Chamomile - this is also super easy to grow and will in fact grow like weeds! Don't buy roman (also known as lawn) chamomile - the variety you want to get is officially known as Matricaria chamomilla as it has medicinal properties. This herb is an excellent relaxant. I sometimes drink chamomile before bed to help me sleep. You use the flowers from the plant to make tea, which you can use fresh or dried.
Plant your herbs in good quality potting mix to get the best results.
My favourite drink to make at the moment is a lovely mixture of herbs plus fresh ginger and honey. It's a lovely warming drink that I imagine would be equally nice served chilled with ice for those of you in a warmer place than New Zealand right now!
Lemon Verbena, Mint, and Ginger Tea (for one serve)
1 tablespoon lemon verbena leaves
1 tablespoon mint leaves
1 thin slice of ginger, chopped in four
1 teaspoon manuka honey
1 slice of lemon
Bring a jug of water to the boil, and pour into a mug. Chop the herbs finely. This helps them release their flavours. Place the chopped herbs and ginger in a mini sieve and place on top of the mug of water. Make sure the cup is full enough so that the herbs/ginger are immersed in the water. Leave to stand for 5 minutes. Add the honey and stir, and drop in a slice of lemon. You can squeeze in some extra lemon juice too if you like. If your'e not a fan of ginger you can leave it out, or reduce it.
Drink warm, or refrigerate for a cool drink.
If you're keen to know more about growing your own herbal teas, I'm in the midst of writing up a little freebie about what herbs to grow and their health properties which I'll post a link to on my Facebook page. If you head over and like me there you'll be able to get a copy when it's done :-)
Eat Well NZ
Here Comes the Sun Contributor