Monday, July 27, 2009

Take a break...

An herbal tea break, that is. Here are some popular plants for herbal teas:

Angelica Anise Basil Bergamot Borage Calendula Catnip Chamomile Dandelion Fennel Lavender Lemon balm Marjoram Mint Oregano Parsley Raspberry leaf Rose Rosemary Sage Scented geranium Sweet Cicely Thyme Wintergreen

Other plants for herbal teas:

Anise hyssop Ginseng Hibiscus Hops Horehound Lemon grass Lemon verbena Lime (linden) flowers Red clover Sweet woodruff Valerian

Almost every herb and flower has a symboic meaning. Theoretically, you can concoct your herbal blend to make a statement with the herbs. The combinations may be sweet, witty, evocative - definately personal. Here are some traditional qualities of the following herbs:

Angelica - inspiration

Anise - change

Bergamot - virtue

Borage - bluntness

Calendula - hopelessness, grief

Chamomile - wisdom, patience

Clover - think of me

Dandelion -prophecy, foretelling

Lavender - devotion

Lemon balm - sympathy, regeneration

Marjoram - joy

Mint - warm feelings

Parsley - merriment, festivity

Raspberry - remorse

Rose - love, passion, purity

Rosemary - remembrance

Sage - esteem, wisdom, goodness

Scented geranium - happiness
Sweet woodruff - humble spirit

Thyme - daring, courage

Brewing the perfect cup calls for some specific attention. First, regarding the water. If your tap water doesn't taste good, neither will your tea. Or ice cubes, for that matter. Any doubts - use bottled or filtered water. If using your tap water: Use COLD water - and let it run a minute or so, you don't want the water that has been sitting in the pipes - it's lost it's oxygen, and may also have picked up odd flavor from the pipes. Ditto the hot water, it's been sitting in the tank for who knows how long, and you really won't save any time heating.

After your kettle of water is on the stove, preheat your teapot with warm water. When it's time to brew, just dump the water out of the pot, add your herbs - in a teaball, or loose, or teabags (you can make your own), and pour in the very hot (just to a boil, but not boiled - drives out oxygen, which means flat flavor). Cover the pot, to keep in the volatile oils released from the herbs, and let the saturated herbs gently steep or a certain amount of time. The rule of thumb is about 5 minutes. But some herbs, such as lavender, may only need 2-3 minutes. Others, like chamomile, may need 10-15 minutes

NOTE: a tea cozy is a wonderful investment. Keeps that pot warm.

Then remove the herbs, and fill your cup. You can swirl a little hot water in your cup to warm it, and empty it out before pouring your tea. Relax, take in the scented steam from your cup, savor the delicate flavors, and enjoy your herbal respite.

The language of flowers. It's not what you say - it's how you serve it.

No comments:

Post a Comment