Make Herbal Tea at Home

Herbal and fruit tea on wooden table

MOTHER EARTH NEWS – Learn how to pick some tea garden plants and how to dry herbs for tea so you can enjoy your homemade herbal blend.

Do you enjoy a freshly steeped cup of tea? Have you ever tried making it from scratch yourself? I love buying fragrant, beautiful tea blends from my favorite tea companies, and making my own dried herbal tea at home is just another way to enjoy it. Learn some of the benefits of herbal tea; choose some tea garden plants to potentially grow and harvest; learn how to dry herbs for tea with your method of choice; and enjoy a fresh, homemade, flavorful tea. You can make it as simple or as detailed as youíd like!

  • In addition to flavor, herbs offer healthy, therapeutic properties. Choose some of your favorites based on your preferences.
  • You can even take things a step further and grow your own herbs to harvest and dry, such as mint.
  • Explore how to dry your harvested herbs, from oven drying to indoor air drying, based on your environment and how involved you’d like to be.
  • If you love a good DIY, consider making your own multi-purpose drying rack!
  • Once youíre enjoying tea, start exploring new ways to incorporate herbs into infusions and tinctures.

Tea is one of the most popular drinks in the world ñ and rightly so! You can brew multitudes of flavors to wind down, perk up your energy, or just enjoy the taste. In particular, herbal teas can also offer health benefits, such as nausea remedies, cardiovascular support, and immune-system support. Growing, harvesting, drying, and using your own herbs at home can bring added enjoyment when drinking them.

So, where to start? Choose flavors you enjoy and that work with your health regimen when taking them medicinally. (Consult your doctor to make sure youíre safely integrating them into your life.)† Maggie Bullington describes several plants she and her family use to brew their own tea. For instance, pick and dry blackberry and raspberry leaves and brew them to help alleviate sore throats. Or, use hibiscus flowers to add a sweet flavor, rich color, and antioxidants to your tea.

One of my favorites is another one Maggie lists: mint! Mint can bring relief to an upset stomach or relaxation to a stress-filled body. Maybe you’d even want to try growing mint yourself. In Nan Chaseís article ‘Edible Mint for Your Garden,’ she recommends confining mint to a planter or container, as it’s known to be a prolific, rambling grower. Iíve grown spearmint, peppermint, and mojito mint in years past, all in containers on my apartment balconies, and they have no problem flourishing given good drainage and decent sun exposure. The best part about growing your own herbs: Your tea harvest is just mere steps away.

How to Dry Herbs for Tea

Once youíve chosen your herbs (and maybe even started growing your own tea garden plants), you can start to explore how youíd like to dry your harvests. And your setup can be as simple or as detailed as youíd like! Tabitha Alterman offers numerous processes to easily dry herbs that donít require much fancy equipment. Lay your harvested herbs on a cooling rack and stick it in a low-heat oven. Lay them under indirect sun in a warm, dry place. Or, just hang them upside-down in bunches to dry.

how to dry herbs for tea

After Iíd harvested from my mint plant, I laid the sprigs out on a cooling rack until they started looking crunchy, and then I tied them together with twine, covered them in a brown-paper bag, and hung them in a dark closet for several days. Once they were crumbly and crunchy to the touch, I plucked the dried leaves from the stems.

If you’re a lover of DIY, try making your own drying rack that can dry not just herbs but also pasta, dishes, dish towels, and more. Follow Spike Carlsen’s plans for a fun and simple DIY drying rack that you’ll enjoy for years to come.

After drying your herbs, make sure to properly store them until youíre ready to brew them. Alterman recommends keeping your herbs as whole as possible so they retain their oils, and then store them in airtight jars in a place that’s away from high heat and direct light. I kept my little mint harvest as whole, dried leaves in a small glass jar, and I stored them in a dark cabinet in my kitchen, away from being directly in the stovetop’s line of fire.

Making tea can be so simple. Pour water that’s reached boiling point over the dried herbs, and steep for a certain amount of time. Or, I’ve also cold-brewed my tea by letting the dried herbs steep in cool water in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours, giving me a smoother, daintier flavor profile. Research your selected herbs, and play around with the preparation methods. You can also go a step further and explore herbal infusions and tinctures. Rosemary Gladstar details all three ways in “How to Make Herbal Tinctures and Tea,” along with recipes for herbal infusions.

Whether you have a lot of space or a little, learning how to dry herbs for tea can fit into your lifestyle and environment. That’s one of the beautiful things about them. Start small and work your way to where you want to be, there’s no rush. And don’t forget to enjoy every sip of tea along the way.