Traditional tea from tea leaves is perhaps one of the most beloved drinks in the world. But in this article we will talk about no less fashionable now herbal teas. Today they have become an indispensable component of a healthy lifestyle. I will tell about my experience: how I harvest and store mint, lavender, dill, tea from grape and apple leaves at home, about their health benefits and rules of use.How do I harvest herbal tea for the winter
Interestingthat since time immemorial in Russia, it was herbal teas that were drunk. First of all, it, of course, was Ivan tea. But other aromatic herbs and berries were also brewed. And only then, in the 17th century, tea from tea leaves was brought from China and personally presented to Tsar Mikhail personally by Chinese ambassadors.
The benefits of herbal tea
Tea made from mint leaves is a pleasant light green color drink. It can be consumed both hot and cold. Cold mint tea is very refreshing in summer in hot weather. In winter, warm mint tea is good, especially in the afternoon, because mint is known for its calming effect and is advised to take it for insomnia.
In addition, mint has an antispasmodic, choleretic, antiseptic, analgesic, diuretic, hypotensive property. It increases appetite, normalizes the gastrointestinal tract. From time immemorial, it has been taken for nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, heartburn, diarrhea, flatulence and coughing.
It is much easier to persuade your family to drink some medicinal infusion, such as St. John's wort, if you add a little mint. Peppermint improves taste. Dried mint leaves can also be aromatized with vinegar or added to other teas.
Lavender has long been used in perfumery, and in cosmetology, and for medicinal purposes. It is rich in essential oils, tannin, minerals. Lavender has a calming effect, it is used for migraine, insomnia, disorders of the gastrointestinal tract, strengthens the general condition of the body.
Lavender tea tastes very good. You can brew it yourself or flavor other teas with it. French bakers traditionally use lavender as a flavor for baking buns.
Read more about the medicinal properties of lavender in article 9 of medicinal plants to relieve anxiety and drive away insomnia.
We are all used to adding dill to salads, okroshka, soups, canning cucumbers with it, etc. But it turns out that dill seeds make excellent tea. Perhaps he has a specific taste, yet it is not lavender with mint, but the benefits of such tea are obvious.
Dill contains fatty essential oils, sugars, carotene, vitamins C, B1, IN2, PP, flavonoids. Tea from dill has a diuretic and hypotensive effect, improves appetite, it is used for flatulence, and also as a sedative for insomnia. It is good to drink to enhance lactation for lactating women. Such tea can be given to children as a carminative.
Grape leaf tea
Grape leaf - a storehouse of vitamins. It contains a large amount of vitamins A, B, C, minerals. Tea from grape leaves relieves swelling, has antiseptic properties.
Apple leaf tea
The leaves of the apple tree are no less useful than its fruits. An apple leaf contains 100 times more vitamin C than a lemon! It has an anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial effect. It improves metabolism, reduces swelling. Strengthens the walls of blood vessels. Such tea is good for colds.
Fermented tea from apple leaves of a dark, red-brown color, pleasant to taste, with sour notes, has a fruity aroma. Drinking such tea is not only a pleasure, but also a benefit.
I prepare mint for tea during flowering, then it is the most fragrant.
Of course, like any medicinal herbs, herbal teas also have their contraindications. They should be used very carefully by persons prone to allergies, pregnant and lactating women.
How do I collect herbs for tea
Harvesting herbs is one of the main points in making tea. Here the same rules apply as with medicinal herbs. It is necessary to collect herbs in sunny weather so that the dew is already dry, but the sun should not be high yet.
At lavender I cut secateurs spikelets, which 1/3 or 1/2 have already faded. At peppermint I take the upper part of the plant up to 30 cm high. I collect mint for tea during flowering, then it is the most fragrant. Apple and grape leaves just ripping off. The leaves of an apple tree should not be very old, but very young too will not do. I choose averages.
And in grapes - on the contrary, we need the youngest leaves, light green, those that are at the very top of the vine. In case of dill I'm only interested in its seeds. They should be already darkened, matured.
I collect herbal teas in June-July. When collecting plants, it is necessary to avoid plastic bags, because the raw materials in them quickly deteriorate. It is best to put the herbs and leaves in a rag bag or basket.
Herbal teas, like medicinal herbs, are usually stored for no more than 1 year. Later, their beneficial substances are destroyed. Therefore, it is better to immediately decide how much tea you need to harvest so that you do not throw it away later.
Drying and fermenting tea
The next stage is to collect the collected herbs and leaves, remove low-quality, diseased leaves and thus prepare the raw materials for drying.
I will tell you in detail about each plant, how I dry it, and, if necessary, pre-ferment it.
In the case of dill, I collect only brown umbrellas; ripened seeds are very easily shaken off them. Then I give them a little to dry on the veranda, the main thing is to make sure that they do not fly away. To do this, I put them between two sheets of paper.
Lavender and mint
I dry these two aromatic herbs as well as medicinal herbs. The main thing is to follow the basic rules for drying plants: they must be in the shade and in a ventilated area. A barn, an attic, or, as I have - a summer terrace, are quite suitable.
Lavender dries well if it is tied in small brooms and hung in such a place so that it does not get sunlight, otherwise it just burns in the sun and you get hay. Beneficial substances are destroyed.
The same thing with mint. I dry the mint like this: I spread it on a large tray (a baking sheet is also suitable), pre-lined with paper (I use baking paper), I also cover it with a sheet of paper on top, because it dries in my street. In a broom, I do not bind her. I noticed that in places where there was a rope, it does not dry well and sometimes even deteriorates.
I do exactly the same as with mint. I spread it on a baking sheet or tray between two layers of paper.
Dill, grapes, lavender, mint - these are not all bitter plants, because it’s enough to simply dry them, as I described above, then you need to chop the leaves and grass a little with scissors or secateurs and that's it! Tea is ready to drink.I make dill tea exclusively from its seeds. Lavender tea is brewed from its flowers. Only the youngest leaves are suitable for tea from grape leaves.
Apple tree leaves
In the case of apple leaves, the situation is different: they are very bitter, tea from such dried leaves will be unpleasant in taste, although it has medicinal properties.
But in this case, we need tea, not a bitter medicine. Therefore, apple leaves must be fermented before drying. Fermentation is a biochemical oxidation process, at this time chemical transformations occur in the sheet, due to which its taste and aroma change for the better.
So, in detail about what I do with the apple leaf. After collecting the leaves, I must go through them and throw away the ugly and sick leaves. Next, I lay the leaves on a tray lined with paper, and leave the leaves to lie for 2 hours. Not for them to dry, but for them to slightly sag. They are in my house.
Next comes the most crucial moment - the leaf that has cured must be minted so that it gives juice. I collect a few leaves, so I sit down to watch some series and at this time I rub each leaf between my palms, as if I want to roll a pea from a leaf. I do this carefully so that the leaves become slightly wet.
Probably, this could be done with a meat grinder or food processor, but I do not want the leaves to come into contact with the metal. Then I put the crumpled leaves in a clean, glass jar and instead of the lid I tie them with a cloth, put the jar in a cupboard for 8-10 hours (at night).
It is interesting to note how the smell and color of the leaves change. At first they are bright green and smell like hay, and as the fermentation process goes on, the leaves turn brown and the smell changes to fruity and even slightly, it seems to me, banana. And only now I am starting to dry this tea.
I pour it on a baking sheet lined with paper and put in the oven for 2-3 hours at a temperature of +40 aboutC. Dry leaves break and crumble between the fingers. Everything, apple tea is ready, you can brew it!Freshly picked apple tree leaves for tea. Crumpled leaves of apple tree. Fermented leaf of apple tree.
Herbal Tea Storage
General storage rules are the same as medicinal herbs - the place should be dry and cool, room temperature is allowed. The room should be ventilated, and as a container for storage, it is best to use a cardboard box or a paper bag.
Dill seeds, chopped mint and grape leaves - I keep that. All individually, each tea in its box. Boxes are all signed. But I put the dried lavender flowers in a glass jar, and even cover it tightly with a lid. Otherwise, its smell will penetrate everywhere.
And I also put tea from fermented apple leaves in a glass jar, I just don’t close the lid, but I tie it with a cloth so that the tea “breathes”. It is necessary to store herbal teas separately from other products: firstly, so that the tea does not take on another's smell, and secondly, so that the products do not smell of these herbs.
How to brew herbal tea?
It is very important to be able to make tea correctly. The taste of tea and the presence of useful substances in it depend on this. Tea needs to be brewed in small portions and as needed. Herbal tea cannot be boiled - otherwise all vitamins will be destroyed. For the same reason, tea cannot be kept on a hot plate for a long time.
Before brewing the teapot, it is necessary to rinse with boiling water, put in herbal tea (to taste) and pour boiling water, first 1/3 of the kettle’s volume, cover with a towel, let stand for 5 minutes, and then add boiling water to the kettle.
Tea is always brewed only with freshly boiled water. The re-boiled water is not tasty. When brewing tea, it is better to use soft water.
Herbal teas can be consumed both cold (then they will quench thirst, refreshing drinks), and hot.