If you live in the Northeast you had the same wet, wet, wet summer that I did. Horrible for tomatoes but awesome for water-loving mint. I had mint coming out of my ears, both from my garden and my CSA. I am embarrassed to admit how long it took me to think of drying mint for tea; I love mint tea, in fact, peppermint tea is one of the few that I drink on a regular basis. So, back in July and August, I started drying big batches of mint – either in the dehyrdrator or simply hanging in a bundle from my hallway mirror – then stripped the dry leaves off the stalks and tucked them away in Ziplocs for the winter. So if you dried lots of mint back in the sunny days of summer, or live somewhere where mint is still flourishing, you’re in luck! Delicious, fragrant mint tea is right around the corner. As an added bonus, this tea is 100% local; most teas come from far away (Asia and India, primarily), but herbal teas can be made from a number of ingredients that grow in your backyard; mint, lemon balm, raspberry leaves, rosehips, lavendar, lemongrass, and nettles to name a few.
In looking around for mint tea recipes on the Interwebs, I’ve seen recommendations for everything from a 1/2 teaspoon to 2 tablespoons of dried mint leaves per cup of boiling water to make mint tea. The first batch or two of tea will tell you whether you need to increase or reduce the amount of mint, or the steeping time, to make your perfect cup of tea.
Homegrown and hand-mixed specialty tea makes a lovely gift. Packaged in a cute tin, jar or little muslin bag, this is an economical but heartfelt gift that is sure to be appreciated by any tea lover. Pair it with an infuser, a jar of local honey, or a cute and sunny teapot for an extra special gift!
Lemony Mint Tea
- 1 – 3 tsp of dried mint (I like a variety, like peppermint, spearmint and chocolate mint)
- 1/4 – 3/4 tsp dried lemon balm
- 1 cup water
- Boil water. Mix mint and lemon balm in a small bowl; crumble with fingers to release essential oils. Measure desired amount of tea leaves into the infuser. Pour boiling water over the tea leaves and allow to steep for 3 – 5 minutes. Enjoy!
- Experiment with your own combinations of local herbs and plants to find your ‘signature’ tea.
Dried leaves are best stored whole, then crumbled shortly before use. To have convenient tea mixes at hand, make about a week’s supply at once and store in a cool, dry, room-temperature spot.