Herb Basics: Garden Fresh Tea

Tips for the Beginner

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This delightful garden fresh tea recipe, from Portland, Oregon-based herbalist Cascade Anderson Geller, is sure to get you in the mood for summertime.

“On a lovely summer day, I like to take my basket and clippers and wander around my yard taking snippets of plants that need a little shaping and that taste good,” Anderson Geller says. “Common herbs I harvest are lemon balm, mints, roses, borage, lovage, angelica, dandelion, sage, raspberry leaves, bee balm, echinacea, basil, parsley, lavender, fennel and calendula. I never quite know what I’ll harvest.”

After collecting the plant clippings, she brings her basket into the kitchen, then washes and dries the herbs.

“Then I either chop them, cut them with scissors or tear and bruise them up with my hands,” she says. Using about one large handful of herbs per pint of water, Anderson Geller pours boiling water over the herbs, “in a big teapot or canning jar that can be tightly covered,” lets the mixture steep for 30 minutes, then strains the tea. “It is a pale-colored and mild-tasting fresh tea that can be sweetened with honey after it is strained out and still warm. It is good served hot or iced,” she says. “If iced, I like to add a sprig of fresh herb and a slice of lemon. I always make more than I think I need. Everyone who drops by, from children to adults, always enjoys a cup or a glass. Often, even children that say they don’t like tea of any kind enjoy the fresh, light taste of this tea.”