Friday, May 13, 2011

Thyme for tea.

Inspired by a Master Gardener talk at Guadalupe Gardens, I went home in a foraging frame of mind.  Joan, the speaker and also my mentor during Master Gardener training, had mentioned making herbal tea and I was eager to experiment.  It had never occurred to me to make tea from my own herbs.
There are a host of great reasons for drinking tea made from herbs in your garden.  First off, they are easy to propagate and grow. Then, it is as simple as picking the leaves (and flowers in some cases), and after a quick wash, pouring boiling water over them and letting them seep for a time, which varies with the type of herb and strength of tea you want. There are fancy gizmos for separating out the leaves once the tea has brewed, but a simple sieve or piece of muslin will keep the leaves out of your cup, though leaves in the cup never killed anyone!

The second great reason is the sustainability of home herbal teas. The gas mileage in “conventional” tea and coffee is horrific if you consider where they are shipped from. Off-set your conscience by walking to your backyard and handpicking a few leaves from your favorite herbs.

Great tasting tea is an obvious reason for making your own.  Joan recommended a Stevia and Lemongrass tea. I reckon Stevia would be great in any tea if you have a sweet tooth, and of course, without calories. My Stevia has only just germinated, so I combined lemongrass with Yeurba Beuna – yummy.  My husband then suggested lemongrass and ginger – spicy and very interesting – yes; I’m still talking about the tea!

In fact, lemongrass was good even on its own and can even help with lowering cholesterol, which brings me to my final point.  Herbal tea is so downright healthy it’s disgusting! Those fresh picked leaves are packed with all the good stuff – vitamins, antioxidants, chlorophyll and many other things which all attack a list of ailments and fortify our body systems.  Experiment with combinations of herbs, but be careful never to include poisonous leaves like those from the tomato/potato family.

There are too many combinations to list here but google the herbs in your garden and you’ll get a plethora of ideas.  Here are some to get you started.

Chamomile tea is great for relaxing.  Use the flowers in this brew last thing at night if you have trouble getting to sleep.

For those of you lucky enough to have ginger growing, great, though shop bought roots will also work.  Ginger is good for fighting nausea and upset tummies, and it also helps to ward off colds.

And if you missed nipping that cold in the bud, thyme is a remedy for colds and flus (and a ton of other things too). 

After all the hard work done by Dalton and Parker last weekend, spreading mulch in the back garden, I can now sit back and admire the blooms for Garden Bloggers Bloom Day (below), and declare that it is now thyme for tea!
A rose by any other name!
Matilija poppy - you can see why it gets called the "fried egg plant."
Nigella "Bridal Veil"
Bush Mallow
Mariposa lily
Fence lizard saying' "Does my bum look big in this?"
Seen enough blooming flowers? Well, on yer bike then!

 Byddi Lee