• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies living kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • raven ranson
stewards:
  • paul wheaton
  • Jocelyn Campbell
  • Julia Winter
garden masters:
  • Anne Miller
  • Pearl Sutton
  • thomas rubino
  • Bill Crim
  • Kim Goodwin
  • Joylynn Hardesty
gardeners:
  • Amit Enventres
  • Mike Jay
  • Dan Boone

What are your favourite homemade tea blends?  RSS feed

 
Posts: 265
11
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Dylan Mulder wrote:

Judith Browning wrote:

Lemongrass - Despite trying, I could never get any flavor out of this. Tried it dried and fresh, different parts of the shoot, crushed and uncrushed. Not sure what I did wrong.


Interesting, my lemon grass always gives me a nice flavor, either fresh or dried, folded up to fit into the glass or cut up with scissors. Are you sure it was a lemon grass? Did it smell really nice lemony?
Unfortunately I had to get rid of it since I garden in the community garden plots and it got huge in just a year and half. It took me 8 hours to ax it out, no kidding. I kept some rooted stems and got one in the pot now, where it should behave. :)

 
Posts: 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I been a green tea matcha powder drinker and i would like to recommend it to you, You can enjoy the green tea powder as a frappe, cappuccino (matchaccino), latte and additional ingredients s to your baking recipes. try it with traditional or enjoy the flavored green tea powder from red leaf tea, there are a lot of flavors to choose from that suits your mood.
 
pollinator
Posts: 188
Location: Otway, Ohio, USA
23
books forest garden homestead cooking trees woodworking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thai Hairy Lemon Basil and German Chamomile 50/50. Really good hot tea for chilling on the porch.
 
garden master
Posts: 1840
Location: USDA Zone 8a
303
bee dog food preservation greening the desert hunting cooking purity trees
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have really enjoyed this topic though I have some questions.

How do most of you brew your tea?  Do most of you use the hot method as bring your water to a boil, turn off heat and add your tea?  Do you brew a pot or just a cup?

Or do some of you use the cold brew method?  Or does anyone use the "sun tea" method?

I find that there is a big difference in flavor based on brew method.
 
Posts: 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Anne Miller wrote:I have really enjoyed this topic though I have some questions.

How do most of you brew your tea?  Do most of you use the hot method as bring your water to a boil, turn off heat and add your tea?  Do you brew a pot or just a cup?

Or do some of you use the cold brew method?  Or does anyone use the "sun tea" method?

I find that there is a big difference in flavor based on brew method.



Hello Anne,
I’m not an expert. So far I only use tea bags. Planning to venture into mixing my tea.
I have tried Microwave, boiling water in pot, sun tea,  & tea kettle. A few years ago we got a Keurig. I was against it. Not much on coffee. Now I’m in love with it. The water is much hotter & it’s also filtered. I don’t use the expensive pods. I place honey in my cup. Run water with the Keurig. Stir honey & drop my tea bag. I miss it so much when I travel & have to use a microwave. May not be up what fit for The Queen’s Tea Time😉 It works for me. I drink lots of tea.
 
Posts: 1
Location: Central Ohio
chicken food preservation hugelkultur
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
first of all thank you for posing this question! I am pretty creative but when it comes to my tea I'm stumped as to what combos are good! (I think we've all made that one cup of tea that was just terrible and made us question everything) my favorite is pretty boring, thyme and honey maybe some lavender if I'm stressed. Thyme is kind of weird to hear in a tea blend but I love it. It's so herbaceous and soothing and homey. Linden tea is another. IT SMELLS AMAZING. I'm warning you this stuff is intoxicating. Very floral in scent plus it turns this beautiful pink color. The taste is pretty bright and floral like so if you aren't a fan of strong tastes I would start with a little and go from there. Lemon balm and peppermint is an awesome winter tea especially if you're sick or congested.
 
pollinator
Posts: 145
Location: Courtrai Area, Flanders Region, Belgium Europe
19
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hello everybody

I skimmed this tread, not much on preparation and drying of tea herbs. That's important to preserve taste and medicinal properties.

I've been experimenting with tea and herbal infusions on and off for almost 40 years. Most i harvest in my garden with some harvest in public spaces (there is a spraying ban in force on public land in my town). I harvest most teas and herbs troughout the year and in as many different locations as possible. That way i hope to limit any pollution that may slip trough my selection process.

For kitchen use i only select the freshest newest leaves - preferably after a nice fresh summer rain  to remove any dust. In winter i do not harvest much because in my area aerial soot deposition is at it highest in winter.

Any leaves, stems, flowers marked by any kind of mold, soot, predation, .... is tossed. Tossed stuff that is aromatic is used as potpouri, educational tool (scent awareness in kinder garten f.e.), pest controll, mulch, ....).

Most of my harvest is dried in a warm air dryer with 5 stacked sieves at a temperature between 30 and 40°C. Some herbs (fast drying stuff) are dried on a towel over a grill in a cold oven. I used to dry stuff in a dry, dark room in the attic but that works only well for mediterranean herbs in our climate.

The air dryer is the most reliable - we have used it for 18 months now. We have had ZERO loss from mold etc.....
The oven method is good enough for small batches in most circumstances but i have had some spectacular losses due to mold developping in drying flowers (flowers from elderberry (Sambucus nigra) and lime tree (Tillia) in damp weather. When it is blossom time you have to pick then or not at all.
Hanging herbs on the attic, has not caused great losses but i was not impressed with drying speed or aroma.

I prefer the warm air dryer for speed, shelf life and aroma of the product.



By harvesting only the fresh top leaves of many plants, you accomplish several goals at once. 1) You get fresh leaves untainted by air pollution, soot or disease. 2) The fresh leaves dry usually easier than fully mature leaves. 3) Supposedly the active substances are concentrated in the freshed growth. 4) Some plant react by forming 2 or more new branches near the top 2 remaining leaves. You get a better developped plant with lots of fresh growth. 5) You postpone blooming season for that plant and you insure much more flowers.
Plants that react well to this picking method are : Lemon balm, all the mint species i grow, stinging nettles, lemon verbena, ......



I wash almost all my pickings. To much airborn pollution in my region. In the list below, i'll mention it if i don't wash some harvest.



Some experiences


1) Wild strawberry (Fragaria vesca). I grow this mostly in pots on windowsills, in big planters and in patches in the garden. I harvest the leaves runners and flowers. The fruit is to sweet for tea to my taste but great in deserts and jams. I harvest in very small batches. It dries easily and keeps.

An optional ingredient in tea mix 1.

2) Apple mint (https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wollige_munt - sorry i did not spot an english wiki) is a staple. I harvest both leaves and flowers. It reacts very well to top picking. I can go over the plant several times postponing flowering for weeks.

3) Bramble. Leaves and flowers. Dries reasonably well. I pick the flowers from plants that don't produce nice fruit. Brambles can get out of controll, rigourous no mercy picking is what i do where i don't want them. I don't use the fruit in tea. I harvest in our families gardens, public spaces etc.... However i harvest only above 1 m of the ground. Foxes frequent the plants and their urine spreads parasites (in Europe - don't know elsewhere).

An optional ingredient in one of my tea mix 1. If you use it in tea, you have to sieve your tea. Brambles are prickly.

4) stinging nettle. A great plant here. Supposedly it helps against allergies, itching and such. I believe that's correct. Even if i'm wrong it has superecological benefits (a zillion butterflies and such, munch on its leaves).
It dries easilly. In the dryer less than a day.

In a pure tea, it has a 'greenish - spinachlike' taste. At least to my taste buds. Mostly used in tea mix 1.

5) Cassis : I use the leaves for tea. They have a wonderfull flavor. Not everybody likes it. It is supposed to be good for the hart. Dries well but harvesting leaves may lead to loss of berries. In late summer most leaves turn leathery and spotty.

Mostly used in tea mix 1. When fresh, i also use in ad hoc tea-mixes/

6) Lemonscented pelargonium https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pelargonium_crispum - Difficult to be sure about the correct name. I have several plants which do not look exactly the same. All have a strong citrus aroma and are similar in processing and use.
They are very strong scented and should be used sparingly - might cause upset stomachs and such. When used in a mix they might overpower other aroma's and taste. Troughout the growing season i remove leaves that start to yellow. Of these leaves i use the stems for tea. Only at the end of the growing season do i harvest leaves.

This plants leaves and stems take really LONG to dry. Sometimes WEEKS. Once dry, it keeps very well. I don't use the flowers - no need to - overproduction as it is. No idea about the use of the flowers. After 2  years used stuff goes to a potpourri or education.

I use it in mixes 1 and 2. One or two leavestems in a 1 litre tea pot.


7) Lemon balm. I love this plant. The fresh aroma is really nice BUT very difficult to preserve in dried form. If not dried well, it tends to taste like stinging nettles. I prefer young fresh leaves and flowers.
The older leaves tend to get infected later in summer. Top picking gives you more fresh leaves.
At the end of the growing season or if i want to refresh a badly affected plant i cut of most green stuff. I get rid of most (miserable looking) leaves and i dry the fresh stems for tea. Even woody stems are used. Stems take longer to dry and need more time to produce a great tasting tea.
The tossed leaves, seed pods etc... are spread where i hope to establish new plants.

Lemon balm is used in mixes 1 and 2. When fresh leaves are available it's nice pure or in combination with black mint and/or chocolate mint and/or pine needles.

Young fresh leaves combine well in salads as well.

8 ) Lemon verbena. Aromatic herb goes well in salads when fresh and as an ingredient to balance liquers. Reacts well to top picking. Difficult to bring it trough the winter here in Europe.

I use it in teamixes 1 and 2 and in combination with pine needles and/or black mint. Needs only 2 to 6 dried leaves in a mix for a 1 littre pot.

9) Pineneedles. Several kinds of pine. Alle taste more or less the same. Can take really long to dry even in the dryer. Self harvesting pine needles is new to my repertoire so i'm gratefull to hear your experiences.

The overhanging (ex XXmas tree) pine shadowing my patio is sadly cut down - my neighbour feared it would take down part of my house if it came down in a winter storm. Ironic because i would have loved the tree to do exactly that (building permit troubles, sigh).
I now harvest from the wild (only fresh growth). Luckily we have some nature reserves where pine are "flora non grata" so i intend to harvest there.

Used in teamixes 1, 2 and 3 as well as pure or in combination with black mint.

10) Witte dovenetel. To EDIT.

Used in teamix 4.

11) Raspburry leaves (and only by accident flowers). I do not use the fruit in tea. Apart from deserts and jams the fruit makes an excellent combination with wine vinegar. I have autumn raspberries traded for from different sources.

I pick the fresh leaves near the top but i don't top pick this because that interferes with fruiting. Each second or third leave is picked as well as any leaves shadowing the flowers and fruit once the growing season is well under way. I find that this expose the fruit to the sun and improves the aroma. A much wanted plant that wants to escape its spot. So vigorous harvesting is OK. Combines well with stinging nettles. Keeps out unwanted fruit thieves (i'm somewhat immune to the stinging ) Birds hardly pick any raspberry fruit. I presume because the nettles hinder them flying in.

The leaves dry well and fast. Here the air dryer made a marked difference. The leaves dried in the air dryer have a liquorice aroma. Very nice.

I use the fresh or dried leaves mostly in tea mix 1.

12) Chamomile : This one i can't grow nearly enough. In the wild i have no reliable (unsprayed) sources nearby. In my region it only turns up in great numbers in disturbed soils. Mostly building sites where you cannot be sure that some nutty contractor has not used pesticides. It has a protective effect on the eyes.

Used in teamix 4.

13) Spearmint (kruizemunt) : A nice mint. I use leaves, stems and flowers. It dries well.

Used in teamix 4.

14) Laurel leaves : My mother has a big plant (2-3 m) that does well in a sheltered spot between 2 houses. The plant is an evergreen and the waxy leaves may accumulate atmosferic soot deposits. I'm very selective when harvesting and all leaves are handwashed. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laurus_nobilis. Wonderfull in the kitchen in soup, sauces and stews.

Used in teamix 3.

15) Lavender : I use it sparingly - my own supply is limited and the bees love it. So i only harvest flowers nearing the end of their bloom.  The flowers are small and grouped together in a flowering top. The plant has a disinfecting reputation. I used in the garden to disinfect my hands when i have no water and soap handy. Dries well.

Used in teamix 1 - one flowering top for 1,2 litres - optional in teamix 3.

16) Lime flower : In my region the different lime variants/species bloom at slightly different moments in early summer. I only take the flowers. The little leaf above the flowers often accumulates soot - especially after a cold springtime). The different trees produce different tasting flowers. To my taste this tea is absolutely much better tasting after drying. Drying in the air dryer has done wonders for the quality and shelf life. If dried outside of the air dryer you must watch out for mold.
Bees and bumble bees while come for days to the place where you are drying the tea.

Used in teamix 1 or pure or in combination with fresh lemon balm.

17) Hawthorn : A recent addition to my repertoire. I had no good opportunity to collect and dry flowers but i have picked and dried fresh leaves. It dries well.
I use the plant in the build up of my berry hedge to give support and shelter to other berries in the hedge. The hedge itself preserves a favourable microclime and privacy to my garden. I started using it because i wanted to test whether i could do something usefull with the clippings.
The plant has a good reputation for the support of hart function.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crataegus

Used in teamix 1.

18 ) Rose buds : I collect these in the wild and on public lands. Drying is sometimes difficult. Once well dried, the buds become brittle and you can break them and remove the seeds. I drop the seeds in good spots. The resulting tea contains hairs that may be irritating. So i sieve my tea to prevent problems. I have tried removing seeds and hairs (on the inside of the bud) before drying but that is messy and finicky work not worth the trouble with the kind of rose buds available in my area. Theoretically a good Vitamine C source but i doubt if the vitamine survives contact with hot water.

Used is teamix 1 or pure.


19) Rose flowers : Well perfumed roses make for a delicate tea. I suppose not all roses do well in tea but i have only a few years experience and i have no definite idea about what tastes best. Smallish, wild or nearly wild roses seem best but there are some exceptions. Lose flowerleaves dry easily. Complete flowers are susceptible to mold when drying outside the airdryer.

Used in teamixes 1 & 2.

20) Rosemary : My favorite kitchen herb and also nice in tea. It pick small quantities during the growing season for use in tea, salads and meat dishes. At the end of the growing season i select the best stuff from the clippings to dry for use in tea, cooking and potpourri. A robust plant that does well on a diet of stones and sandy soil as long as it has full sun and well draining soil. I noticed that tea that contains rosemary stays good longer.

Used in teamixes 1 & 3. I increase the proportion of rosemary in the teamixes if i feel a cold coming.

21) Sage : Difficult to grow in my area or at least bought plants do badly. I have had good succes growing sage from seed once i found a plant setting seed in our local soil.
I suspect varieties with less leaves on the stems are less susceptible to disease in my climate and the harvest dries and preserves better. I use both stems and leaves. Troughout the growing season i collect small quantities but most of my winter stash comes from the clippings at the end of summer.

Used in teamix 1 or when afflicted with sore troat pure.

22) Orange mint : There are different varieties out there. I have several. The big leaved, strong scented one i have tends the overgrow everything else in its growing container. In damp summers, miniscule white mots? congegrate on this mint and this damages the plant. No idea what it is. This little plague sometimes switches to the apple mint and maroccan mint nearby. When i'm bothered by this i cut back my mints, toss the damaged leaves and collect stems and flowers for drying. The mints grow back shortly and the white insects bother me no more.
Cologne mint (used in the original recipe for "eau de cologne" has similar properties. I don't use it anymore.

Stopped using orange mint in tea mixes - overpowers everything. Good pure tea to use cold on a hot day.
Good herb to use in salads.

23) Blackthorn leave  : I collect the leaves of this plant occasionaly in the wild or at the edges of fields late in the growing season. Early in the season i don't harvest blackthron leaves because that's when farmers tend to spray most pesticides.
I hope to find one that fruits massively and add it to my berry hedge. I love the fresh fruit. I learned to eat it when making my first geological map. It's a great thirst relief. I'm in very small minority to love eating the fruit BEFORE freezing. The fruit is also super excellent as the basis for liqueurs.

I'm looking for extra use of the clippings i expect after adding it to my berry hedge.

Optional in teamix 1.






24) Thyme  : To EDIT.
Elderberry flower  : To EDIT.
Water mint !!!  : To EDIT.
Black mint and Chocolate mint  : To EDIT.

























 
Posts: 38
Location: South-central Iowa
2
bee bike chicken forest garden fungi trees
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
My daughter and I love growing and harvesting our own teas. We haven't blended much but here are our favorites (mostly made with fresh herb in the warm season, sweetened with honey from our hives and drunk cold).

1. Tulsi - Love the fruity, clovey/spicy flavor, this is our favorite!
2. Anise Hyssop - Love the sweet licorice mint flavor, hard to beat!
3. Peppermint (Mint/Nettle) - Yum! I often dilute mint 50/50 with nettles and my daughter never notices!
4. Orange Spice thyme - this is a small-leaved, small-statured thyme variety so I need to propagate. It makes a lovely tea.
5. Lemon tea - Lemon thyme is the base, but I add lemon basil, lemon balm and often a squeeze of lemon.
6. Hibiscus - makes a great tea, but I have had great difficulty germinating the seed and growing myself.
7. Chamomile - easy to grow and dry a years supply. We grew a high-essential oil variety and its potent, should blend to dilute and mix with another relaxing evening tea herb (lemon balm?).

I need to try the wild Monarda sp. around here (though its flavor is more medicinal/oregano. Also, I'm more inspired to add various "medicinal" herbs in tea blends.

Cheers!
 
Posts: 95
Location: Western OK, avg rain 23" hazards: drought, tornado, wildfire
10
homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I am looking for something to add a tannic note to teas. I really miss the flavor of black tea which I don't drink as I am avoiding caffeine, even decaf black tea. I've thought of oak leaves but am not sure what stage to pick and dry them at.

Erwin Decoene, what a great list and information - thank you!
 
Posts: 67
Location: Vermont
5
chicken forest garden fungi rabbit solar trees
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
My husband loves spearmint/anise hyssop and I have a cup of lemon balm/lemon thyme/catnip every evening before bedtime to relax me.  I also make a tummy tea with chamomile/strawberry leaves/spearmint/violet leaves and flowers.  We call it tummy peace.  I tincture ginseng, sarsparilla, wild ginger,and ashwaganda separately, then dry the roots after I squeeze out the tincture and put them together (the dried roots ground up) for an energy tea.  In the morning we drink wood betony and oatstraw/nettle.  We use stevia leaf in the t-ball with the other herbs to sweeten our tea. We love our herb teas!
 
Posts: 317
Location: Clemson, SC ("new" Zone 8a)
19
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have a question for the forum, if you please.  I have long enjoyed raspberry leaf tea.  I have little idea of its value as an herbal medicinal, at least for me, but I just like the flavor of tea it makes!  Very pleasing, even while very mild (makes a weak tea).  I am planting raspberries this year, so look forward to harvesting my own leaves in the future.  Up to this point, I've only bought commercial teas.  My favorite was a pure-raspberry-leaf Traditional Medicinals brand tea purported to help "tone my uterus."  Hehe, oh well.

In the meantime, though, I have plenty of blackberry and wild bramble available, and was wondering if I could be making tea from those leaves?  And would it taste/act similarly?  Seems like a likely good substitute, but I notice very few people in the wider world or in this thread mentioning blackberry leaves as tea.  I think one person in this whole thread noted that they use brambles for tea.

Why the seemingly universal preference for raspberry among the rubus species?
 
Matthew Nistico
Posts: 317
Location: Clemson, SC ("new" Zone 8a)
19
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I was also surprised that nobody in this thread has yet - unless I missed it - mentioned New Jersey Tea.  Ceanothus americanus.  It has been used natively as a medicinal infusion for centuries, and specifically as a camellia tea substitute since the Colonial period.

I have not tasted it myself, so I am wondering if perhaps people find it lacking gastronomically?

Even having never tried it myself, I am planning on planting a few bushes as soon as I can get my hands on some, just taking it on faith that it will be a good addition to my property.  Seems like an excellent permaculture plant for those of us in North America:

1) It is native here over a wide range of climatic conditions.
2) It is reported to be drought tolerant and able to thrive in poor soils.
3) It is a compact perennial shrub, and gods know I need more of those in my own food forest/meadow design.  I have a small property and I garden from a wheelchair, so I've focused on dwarf trees and prune them low.  Many of the "bushes" in my design want to grow taller than my dwarf trees!
4) It yields a useful product easily harvested (again, I can't actually say this from personal experience, but plucking leaves from a low bush and drying them sure sounds easy enough).
5) It is a nitrogen-fixer.

Can anyone comment on its taste, general suitability as an herbal tea, and value as a permaculture plant?
 
BeeDee marshall
Posts: 67
Location: Vermont
5
chicken forest garden fungi rabbit solar trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I really like Robin Harford, the British Eatweeds guy.  The following link is to a video/article about, among other things, fermented bush/tree leaves for tea. Very interesting.

https://www.eatweeds.co.uk/blackberry-rubus-fruticosus?utm_source=email-broadcast&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Bramble&utm_term=ISSUE121&utm_content=newsletter-mailing-list

From the end of this informative video: "It’s my intention with everything I do, whether I post a photo up or I post a video up, or I post an article up… that you actually take it beyond your head, and that you go and reconnect with the natural world around you.

I don’t care whether you live in a high rise flat in the middle of London, you can get out and find a park or you can find a cemetery. You can find green space, and get engaged with plants today.

It’s really really important!

Reading about them, looking at pretty pictures on social media, watching videos like this. They have a place, but it’s not the work.

The work comes when we go outside and we engage with the beautiful green beings, and we bring them back into our kitchens and we start playing with them as food, and maybe, if we’re so inclined, to learn their medicine as well."
 
Matthew Nistico
Posts: 317
Location: Clemson, SC ("new" Zone 8a)
19
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

BeeDee marshall wrote:"...I don’t care whether you live in a high rise flat in the middle of London, you can get out and find a park or you can find a cemetery. You can find green space, and get engaged with plants today."


OMG, but plants have, like, bugs and stuff!  ; )
 
Matthew Nistico
Posts: 317
Location: Clemson, SC ("new" Zone 8a)
19
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Seriously, though, thanks BeeDee for posting that wonderful vid.  I really wish he had referenced a little tutorial about exactly how his friend fermented those blackberry leaves!
 
BeeDee marshall
Posts: 67
Location: Vermont
5
chicken forest garden fungi rabbit solar trees
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Matthew Nistico wrote:  I really wish he had referenced a little tutorial about exactly how his friend fermented those blackberry leaves!


Me too.  I did find this http://www.tenren.com/fermentation.html and a quote from the site is "The term fermentation when applied to tea is something of a misnomer, as the term actually refers to how much a tea is allowed to undergo enzymatic oxidation by allowing the freshly picked tea leaves to dry".

I'm  pretty sure Robin has info on his site.( https://www.eatweeds.co.uk ).I just don't feel like looking right now. ;^)
 
Posts: 176
Location: BC Interior, Zone 6-7
15
books forest garden tiny house
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Matthew Nistico wrote:I was also surprised that nobody in this thread has yet - unless I missed it - mentioned New Jersey Tea.  Ceanothus americanus.  It has been used natively as a medicinal infusion for centuries, and specifically as a camellia tea substitute since the Colonial period.

I have not tasted it myself, so I am wondering if perhaps people find it lacking gastronomically?

Even having never tried it myself, I am planning on planting a few bushes as soon as I can get my hands on some, just taking it on faith that it will be a good addition to my property.  Seems like an excellent permaculture plant for those of us in North America:

1) It is native here over a wide range of climatic conditions.
2) It is reported to be drought tolerant and able to thrive in poor soils.
3) It is a compact perennial shrub, and gods know I need more of those in my own food forest/meadow design.  I have a small property and I garden from a wheelchair, so I've focused on dwarf trees and prune them low.  Many of the "bushes" in my design want to grow taller than my dwarf trees!
4) It yields a useful product easily harvested (again, I can't actually say this from personal experience, but plucking leaves from a low bush and drying them sure sounds easy enough).
5) It is a nitrogen-fixer.

Can anyone comment on its taste, general suitability as an herbal tea, and value as a permaculture plant?



It makes a nice tea, I think.  It tastes like it smells, as long as you use last year's leaves - maybe this year's are okay if you pick them in the fall, but I haven't tried.  If you use new leaves, they just have kind of a green taste.  Not unpleasant, but not very exciting.

I love the bush for its smell.  Even if it wasn't good for anything else, I might want one around just for that.  The flowers are major pollinator attractants.  My bushes are all just swarming right now - many different flies, bees, beetles.
 
Matthew Nistico
Posts: 317
Location: Clemson, SC ("new" Zone 8a)
19
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

BeeDee marshall wrote:

Matthew Nistico wrote:  I really wish he had referenced a little tutorial about exactly how his friend fermented those blackberry leaves!


Me too.  I did find this http://www.tenren.com/fermentation.html and a quote from the site is "The term fermentation when applied to tea is something of a misnomer, as the term actually refers to how much a tea is allowed to undergo enzymatic oxidation by allowing the freshly picked tea leaves to dry".

I'm  pretty sure Robin has info on his site.( https://www.eatweeds.co.uk ).I just don't feel like looking right now. ;^)



Very interesting info on how tea is made!  I had not known.  Thanks for sharing.

BTW, I found this on Robin's EatWeeds.co.uk site among the comments on the original video, dated just 3 days ago:

Dustin
May 22, 2018 at 6:20 pm | Reply
Hey Robin, thanks for the well written article. Some great ideas for bramble I’ve never heard of before. I would especially love to hear more about how to ferment leaves!

Robin Harford
May 22, 2018 at 6:46 pm | Reply
Hi Dustin – I’ll be writing an article shortly, showing you how to ferment various leaves.
 
Matthew Nistico
Posts: 317
Location: Clemson, SC ("new" Zone 8a)
19
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Jan White wrote:
[Ceanothus americanus AKA New Jersey Tea] makes a nice tea, I think.  It tastes like it smells, as long as you use last year's leaves - maybe this year's are okay if you pick them in the fall, but I haven't tried.  If you use new leaves, they just have kind of a green taste.  Not unpleasant, but not very exciting.

I love the bush for its smell.  Even if it wasn't good for anything else, I might want one around just for that.  The flowers are major pollinator attractants.  My bushes are all just swarming right now - many different flies, bees, beetles.


Jan, I am curious what you mean by "last year's leaves."  Is the plant evergreen?  I had not thought so.  Or do you mean leaves harvested last year and aged?  Please explain...
 
Posts: 47
5
bee books cooking
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
May I request, on the plant beings behalf, before you harvest, ask the plant, and be prepared for a no. (Learning to listen to another species can take time.) I remember walking through the forest as we prepared to build a sweat lodge, asking the saplings if they were willing to sacrifice themselves for this purpose. Frequently they said no. When they said yes, we made offerings, and made their sacrifice sacred.

These are sentient being that we can have power over vs. power with. Which relationship do you want to be in? Someone who has power over you? Someone who considers you and works interdependently in the use of power WITH you.

The plant being have been waiting for a long time for us to ask them, they have much to teach us, and want to.

Harvest mindfully, respectfully, reverently, appreciatively.

Thank you.
 
Jan White
Posts: 176
Location: BC Interior, Zone 6-7
15
books forest garden tiny house
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Matthew Nistico wrote:

Jan White wrote:
[Ceanothus americanus AKA New Jersey Tea] makes a nice tea, I think.  It tastes like it smells, as long as you use last year's leaves - maybe this year's are okay if you pick them in the fall, but I haven't tried.  If you use new leaves, they just have kind of a green taste.  Not unpleasant, but not very exciting.

I love the bush for its smell.  Even if it wasn't good for anything else, I might want one around just for that.  The flowers are major pollinator attractants.  My bushes are all just swarming right now - many different flies, bees, beetles.


Jan, I am curious what you mean by "last year's leaves."  Is the plant evergreen?  I had not thought so.  Or do you mean leaves harvested last year and aged?  Please explain...



Yes, they are evergreen.  Older leaves fall off in the summer, but I haven't paid attention to what season they're from.
 
Posts: 5
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have quite few blends in my tea cupboard, and some more in the notebook(s). Here are some:

mint+tarragon
lapsong souchong+orange peel+cinnamon
chamomile+lavender

Also einkorn wheat makes a somewhat good infusion.
 
Joy Oasis
Posts: 265
11
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
One of my new favorites-
rose hips with some licorice root.
It doesn't need to be sweetened as licorice gives it nice sweet taste and rose hips some fruity flavor.
 
denise ra
Posts: 95
Location: Western OK, avg rain 23" hazards: drought, tornado, wildfire
10
homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Not tea but a hot beverage with substance - blackstrap molasses with hot water and milk. Or my grandmother's cambric tea - honey with hot water and milk.
 
Jan White
Posts: 176
Location: BC Interior, Zone 6-7
15
books forest garden tiny house
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

denise ra wrote:Not tea but a hot beverage with substance - blackstrap molasses with hot water and milk.



I make the same thing with a couple spoonfuls of malt powder rather than milk. 
 
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!