When Things begin to bloom in my herb garden, it’s a sign it’s iced tea making time. You’ve seen me dry and save tea leaves in my preserving video. Well I’m happy to say you don’t have to dry tea leaves before you use them! We are so used to getting packaged teas with crumbled dried leaves, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Lemon Balm grows in abundance at our farmhouse and I am now using it as much as I can.
Today I’m going to share how you can use the freshest leaves and herbs from your garden to make iced tea from the source! If you have herbs growing in abundance, there is no need to go to the grocery store for boxed iced tea. You’ve got it already!
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When we traveled to Ukraine last year to finish our international special needs adoption we purchased several boxes of tea. After arriving home I served my brother some of the Ukrainian peppermint tea we’d brought back, only to discover it wasn’t peppermint tea at all. It was lemon balm tea! In the U.S. lemon balm tea isn’t very popular but I found the light calming flavor was very nice. Since then, I’ve done what I can to preserve it and harvest it from our own garden.
Why Make Fresh Iced Tea?
When the garden is growing and herbs are ready to be picked, they are at their best nutritionally. Here’s a few reasons to make your tea with fresh leaves and herbs.
- Drying may take away some of the nutritional properties such as lowering vitamins C and A
- Fresh leaves take less time because there’s no extra step to dehydrate
- It’s a treat. There is no other time of year you can serve tea from the garden!
Iced Tea Flavors
There are many options for making your own iced tea but here are a few of my personal favorites:
- Lemon Balm
- Raspberry Leaf
- Blackberry Leaf
You can also add:
Echinacea, rose hips, herbs like sage or basil.
How to Make Homemade Herbal Iced Tea
- Pick and wash herbs/ leaves.
- Fill a saucepan with 3-4 cups of water and bring to boil.
- Place about four cups of herbal leaves and small stems in the heating water. If you have a metal colander you can also place the leaves in that and put it in the water. Make sure thee water covers leaves.
- Heat until it’s about to boil. Now turn heat to low, cover pan and simmer leaves for 10 minutes, mostly covered with a lid.
- Strain or scoop out steeped leaves, then mix in honey or other sweetener if desired.
- Pour over 2-3 cups of ice and place in refrigerator to cool.
That’s it! Enjoy!
Add-ins for Iced Tea
- Sliced Lemon
- Sliced Lime
- Sparkling water
- Raspberries or strawberries
- A few mint leaves
If you don’t have your own herbs, don’t overlook purchasing herbs from a local farmer or farmer’s market!
Items To Help Make Your Iced Tea:
Reusable Cotton Bags for steeping tea leaves
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