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Tea from Wild Plants

 
Susan Hoke
Posts: 36
Location: Western NC
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Yesterday I made tea with Wild Strawberry leaves. I also made some from Raspberry leaves. It was pretty good. It looked like green tea. It'll be really good when I can add the ripened berries.

All you need is:

For 1 cup of tea
1 teaspoon dried leaves
or
1 Tablespoon Fresh leaves

For 1 quart of tea
1 Tablespoon dried leaves
or
1 cup fresh leaves

Steep the leaves in hot water
Strain the leaves when brewed
Add sweetener if desired

For Sun Tea
set the jar with the leaves & water in the sun for 4-5 hours

Other plants that can be used for tea:

Blackberry
Bee Balm
Goldenrod
Rose Hips/Petals
Elderberry
Mint

Does anyone else do this? Any suggestions?
 
              
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Location: NC
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Could you explain how yo make tea from Blackberries.
 
Susan Hoke
Posts: 36
Location: Western NC
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chrisG wrote:
Could you explain how yo make tea from Blackberries.


Hi Chris,

The instructions above are mainly for the leaves or other parts of the plant that is edible. In the case of blackberries or other edible berries, steep the leaves for the tea & if the berries are ripe add some for added flavor. You can leave the berries in the tea & just remove the leaves.
Our thimbleberries are ripe now. I'm planning to make some tea with the leaves & fruit.
 
              
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Location: NC
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Thanks for your reply. I just want to clarify real quick. I can just pick the leaves from the blackberry bush and wash then steep in hot water.
 
Susan Hoke
Posts: 36
Location: Western NC
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chrisG wrote:
Thanks for your reply. I just want to clarify real quick. I can just pick the leaves from the blackberry bush and wash then steep in hot water.


Yes, but you might not want to pick leaves that are next to roadsides or other sources of pollutants. Also, throw some berries in if they are ripe.

Sorry for the delay in answering.
 
Kelda Miller
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One thing about the sun steep:
Sometimes I find just a glass jar doesn't get Hot enough for some good tea in this climate (clouds scooting over the sun fairly often, even in summer). What I look for is a good spot of asphalt and get a 5-or 2- gallon black plastic pot. Then I turn the pot on its side, facing the sun, and set the jar just inside the lip. It's like a quick easy suntrap for the tea!
 
jeremiah bailey
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Hmm... I've brewed tea just fine sitting on the counter, even in the refrigerator. It tastes great (to me at least.) In the refrigerator, I just let it set for 10-12 hours. Then I have fresh tea that is already cold, already. Of course that is not very intuitive if you're wanting a nice hot cup of tea.
 
Erica Wisner
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Susan Hoke wrote:
Yesterday I made tea with Wild Strawberry leaves. I also made some from Raspberry leaves. It was pretty good. It looked like green tea. It'll be really good when I can add the ripened berries.

Does anyone else do this? Any suggestions?


I've used both strawberry and blackberry shoots (I harvest the blackberry shoots when weeding in spring.  The velvety silver tips before the leaves open are choice for the green-tea effect.  We have so many Himalaya blackberries to get rid of, I haven't needed to harrass my raspberry patch). 
  They're all mild astringents, good for 'drying out' the flow if you're menstruating or have mild diarrhoeia.  I suppose too much could be constipating, but I've never had a problem with that.

I think black tea is somewhat astringent too, come to think of it.
It's on the "BRAT" diet - Bananas, Rice, Apples, Tea - for kids with diarrhoeia.

Other herbs I make tea / sun tea with:
- Yerba Buena (mint family)
- Apple mint + black tea + sugar (ancestral iced-tea recipe)
- Fennel
- Clover (red clover flowers are kinda sweet)
- Pineapple weed (we used to call it "chamomile" when we were kids, but it's a bit different - no petals on the flowers, grows in beaten pathways... to my mind it tastes better than true chamomile tea.)
- Lavendar (also great as a flavoring in steamed milk)
- Dried spices - cardamom, ginger, clove, and cinnamon makes a nice chai.
- Anything in my stash of mismatched tea bags, especially fruity ones.

I like sour flavors, so I like teas that include dried fruits or citric acid.  The only wild food that came close for sun-tea was:

- Sumac-"ade" from soaking the fruits in water (when I was on the east coast they were ubiquitous.  Here they're rare, but sometimes you see them - fuzzy lemonade-tasting red seeds, compound leaf kinda like a long long ash or elderberry leaf - not to be confused with Poison Sumac.)

You could probably get the same effect by crushing in some huckleberries, rose hips, or any tart fruit that happens to be handy.  Black elderberries, or currants, can be very nice especially if you cook them a bit to take the edge off the medicinal properties.  Oregon grape berries could be used in moderation.
  Even a little apple cider vinegar can be refreshing, if you like tart flavors - about a teaspoon is enough for a cup of water, and try it once before dosing your whole pot of tea!

...
I've also frozen tiny rose blossoms into ice cubes for a super-fancy summer tea party.  Violets or pansies, or any herb flowers (mint, lavendar, sage, rosemary, basil) could also be used this way.

I've heard rumors that camelia or honeysuckle flowers are edible/drinkable, but haven't researched it.

-Erica
 
                            
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Wow thanks to all who posted, I new of some of these but others I had no idea I could use, thanks for sharing!
 
                            
Posts: 22
Location: Cholula, Mexico
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Not exactly wild, but orange leaf tea is the BEST!!! With a bit of honey... I'm also a big fan of lemon verbena and lemongrass, both very soothing and great digestives.
 
Kirk Hutchison
Posts: 418
Location: Los Angeles, CA
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I have two old tangerine trees in my yard. Could I make tea from the leaves? What would be the benefit of this tea?
 
                            
Posts: 22
Location: Cholula, Mexico
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I would assume that if you can drink orange leaf tea, you could drink tangerine as well. That aren't huge benefits from it, although it aids digestion and has a wonderful taste, quite sweet on its own, especially on a rainy afternoon... 
 
Kirk Hutchison
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Location: Los Angeles, CA
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Sounds great. I'll have to try it!
 
              
Posts: 238
Location: swampland virginia
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Okay, now help me out. Can start a new forum if any of you think it is better.

I want to make mulberry tea (from mulberry leafs). I have lots of mulberry leaves. What I would like to do is be able to make some with fresh leaves (since they are in season) and dry some leaves for later use. Any ideas on best practices of doing this. Going from memory of a video I saw a while back, they washed the leaves, flash boiled them and then dried them over low heat on screens. They chopped them at some point in the process. Is the quick boil just a cleansing process?

Also, can I do the same with herbs?

Thanks in advance for any help, and thanks for the other tea ideas above.


Also have ground ivy and Sassafras trees to make some tea with. Plan on only using the sassafras leaves for the tea and/or filé powder. Will leave the sassafras roots for the extacy and root beer makers of the world.
 
                                  
Posts: 175
Location: Suwon, South Korea
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Easy, plentiful, available all year, chock full of Vitamin C:

Pine Needle Tea.

Handful of pine needles, chop them up or not, pour in boiling water, steep for about 15 minutes.

Many of the early explorers died of scurvy in forests where this was all around them.
 
              
Posts: 238
Location: swampland virginia
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bruc33ef wrote:
Easy, plentiful, available all year, chock full of Vitamin C:

Pine Needle Tea.

Handful of pine needles, chop them up or not, pour in boiling water, steep for about 15 minutes.

Many of the early explorers died of scurvy in forests where this was all around them.


mmm, sounds like a winning supply of Vitamin C. Does it matter if they are green or brown or what type of pine it is? I know where to get the needles. What does it taste like?
 
                                  
Posts: 175
Location: Suwon, South Korea
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Try the youngest needles near the tip, which are the least bitter.  BTW, you can also make a healthful tea from spruce needles.
 
Daniel Zimmermann
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Location: Sacramento
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Are there any North American native plants that I can wild harvest or plant that would supply me with caffeine?  Tea, kola nuts, and coffee are all tropical, and I'd love to have my own homegrown pick-me-up.  I'm not looking at other plant stimulants, like ephedra.
 
                                  
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Location: Suwon, South Korea
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According to one of Mollison's permaculture pamphlets, you can grow many tropical varieties in a rudimentary greenhouse and supply all your family's needs.

"Five or six tea plants supplies 20 or 30 households... Coffee can be grown in a well-lighted office.  It bears edible berries.  Spit out the pits and take them home and roast them.  You will get pounds and pounds of coffee berries off a single plant."

There is a tea plantation in North Carolina somewhere, so I know it can grow in some temperate hardiness zones.  Caffeine has been described as one of the ways plants repel insects.  As a tea aficianado, I know that the amount of caffeine depends on such factors as the elevation of the planting, the amount of sun, whether the leaves used are young or mature, the variety, the soil conditions, the time of year, and the processing.  So you might want to take these things into consideration and do your research.
 
                                
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Search this site for plants that contain caffeine.
http://www.ars-grin.gov/duke/
I know some Holly plants have it.
 
              
Posts: 238
Location: swampland virginia
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bruc33ef wrote:
...There is a tea plantation in North Carolina somewhere...


If you can grow Camellias, you can grow tea plants (Camellia sinensis). I have a lot of Camellias. No tea plants yet. Air layering works for propagating them.
 
                                  
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Location: Suwon, South Korea
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Dr_Temp wrote:
If you can grow Camellias, you can grow tea plants (Camellia sinensis). I have a lot of Camellias. No tea plants yet. Air layering works for propagating them.


Yeah, true.  (And a correction:  the tea plantation is in South Carolina and is owned by Bigelow.  The tea is called American Classic Tea.  There is also a collective of 40 growers in Hawaii, I've read.)  I imagine the fact that tea isn't widely produced in the US probably has as much to do with the labor-intensive character of it than anything else.
 
                              
Posts: 262
Location: Coast Range, Oregon--the New Magic Land
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lots of great information!!!

You can make tea from douglas fir tips too, smush them in your fingers or bruise them with a knife and pour boiling water over them. I was thinking it would make a base for a hot n sour type soup too. The new tips are more sour, and the older stuff gets the more pitchy it tastes(but I dont' think it's bad, just different). Again, lots of C.
 
                              
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Location: Coast Range, Oregon--the New Magic Land
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California Bay or Myrtle makes good tea too, tastes like Bay leaf on steroids. The berries can be made into a sort of coffee(ha, I read).
 
Charlie Michaels
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New Jersey Tea makes a very good tea I've heard, colonists were fine replacing Britains tea with that during the Revolution. I've started about 20 plants in pots from seed and can't wait till they get big enough to transplant
 
                              
Posts: 262
Location: Coast Range, Oregon--the New Magic Land
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would now be a good time to collect and dry berry leaves? or does it matter?
 
                            
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Location: Ava, Mo, USA, Earth
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Persimon leaf tea is very popular in the Orient.  Our native trees are as good.  Black wallnut leaf tea is also very good.  For either, use dried leaves and if you want a bit more taste, toast them slightly before using.
 
                                  
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Article and slide show in the NY Times today on making tea from garden plants.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/22/garden/22garden.html?hpw

 
Dw Cress
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great thread, great info!
too bad it died, should be stickied....

The book Edible Forest Gardens has a list of tea plants and a rating for each as well
would it be wrong of me to reproduce that on this thread?
 
Brice Moss
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Location: rainier OR
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do they have a website you could link too
if not I don't think a referenced quote from the book would be out of place
 
                                    
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Great info guys.  Lately I have been enjoying Wintergreen tea.  It is our state herb.  I have it all over my land.  It has a very pleasant and mild taste.  I guess you are suppose to let it set in water a few days for a stronger brew.  I tried using it from fresh leaves and dried.  I think the dried may actually be stronger if you are not going to let it sit in water for the few days.  I always puncture or break apart the leaves.
 
              
Posts: 238
Location: swampland virginia
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naturlvr, I have been wanting some ground-berry / american wintergreen. what conditions is yours growing in and where abouts in the world? thanks in advance.
 
                                    
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I am in Maine.  It is everywhere here.  I tend to see them near our pine trees, both along rough terrain and in the forest.  I am sure they must be an acid loving plant.
 
              
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Location: swampland virginia
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going to have to get some and see if they grow under the pine trees in the swamplands of virginia.
 
                    
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pnw: licorice fern

Polypodium glycyrrhiza

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polypodium_glycyrrhiza

*favorite*.

and yumm.
 
Warren David
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I drink tila (aka tilia) every morning. It is made from the flowers of lime trees (linden or basswood in N. America). It's quite popular in parts of Europe.
Mind you I just buy it from the supermarket because I don't have  lime tree. 
 
                            
Posts: 158
Location: Abilene, KS
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Hey, don't forget the humble dandelion.  Some call it tea, others call it coffee.  Dig the roots, wash well, rough chop and then into the oven for roasting.

This is a great section!  I never thought about teas from some of the plants that I have here.  Thanks to all that posted!
 
                          
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The pioneers would extend their coffee supply by roasting wild chickory root and adding it to the coffee.
 
                                            
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My daughter and I are trying to dry some herbs/leaves for tea.  What part of the bergamot(oswego tea) plant do you dry for tea?  Also, what is the best time of day to harvest herbs/leaves?  I have already read about wild strawberry leaves, raspberry leaves, blackberry leaves, mulberry leaves (?), pine needles...I have lemon balm, mint, and all kinds of wild stuff.  How do you know when sumac berries are ready?
 
Joe Skeletor
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Location: Blue Island, Illinois - Zone 6a - (Lake Effect) - surrounded by zone 5b
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as far as Sumac goes....

      You can put a piece of the sumac in your mouth and see if it's very sour tasting. Around here in northern illinois, they're usually ready in about a month or so. August through September as a general harvest time. Sometimes you find plants that are ready earlier, like now, and sometimes later. You just have to check for tartness. If it is, then its ready to be picked. Don't put them into hot water though. It releases tannins from the plant and will make the tea/drink bitter. Just pour cold or room temperature water over them and wait a day or so. One of my favorite drinks!

Also, from what i've heard from friends, they will lose their sour flavor after a big storm, so try to harvest them before it rains.

Hope this helps - Joe
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://stoves2.com
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