I love making my own organic fruit tea to help me pass the winter months. The best part is it is simple to grow and make your own tea at home.
All you need is some soil, light, space and time.
The base of the tea I enjoy is mint. I grow a number of varieties of mint, including chocolate and strawberry mint, but by far the ones I enjoy the most in tea are spearmint or mojito mint.
You can grow mint both indoors and outside. I typically grow it in containers as it can be quite invasive. Indoors all you need is a window that gets direct sunlight and outside any corner of the garden will do.
Mint is a perennial so a onetime investment or cutting from a friend can produce mint for years to come.
The fruit I use is also grown in my yard but purchased fruit will do just as well. If you do purchase the fruit you can take advantage of those raspberries or strawberries that are just a little past their fresh eating prime and prepare them for tea.
I love to use raspberries, strawberries and even blueberries for my fruit tea. Most fruit however will make for a pleasant tea.
Before I get to making the tea I have to do a little bit of work to harvest and process the ingredients. There is no reason why you cannot simply take fresh mint and fruit to make the tea and Ill often do that during the summer. That said with the surplus summer crops I love to save them for winter.
Mint does take a little processing to get it ready for winter. Typically what I will do is remove the leaves from the stems prior to preserving them. The stems I have found add a bitter flavour to the tea that I am not fond of.
Preserving Mint for Making Tea
Freezing the fresh leaves is an option but I find dehydrating the leaves makes for a more flavourful tea. Dehydration can be as simple as hanging the mint to dry but in the summer in my area there is too much humidity for it to dry without molding. I use a cheaper dehydrator with a temperature control to dehydrate the leaves at lower temperatures.
Preserving Fruit for Tea
The fruit can either be frozen or dehydrated. I choose to dehydrate most of the fruit I have while the mint is in the machine. It is easier to store and does not cool off the tea as it steeps. Dehydrated fruit will also release more flavour as it re-hydrates making for a nicer tea overall.
Storage of Tea
Once the mint and fruit is completely dehydrated I store the mint and fruit in sealed containers in a dark location. As long as no moisture gets in the containers they should be good for months to come.
How to make the tea
I use tea cups that have a separate area for the lose tea that I can remove after the steeping. I start by adding a small number of dehydrated fruit to the bottom of the tea cup before placing the lose tea cup on top.
I then usually fill it about half way with mint leaves and poor boiling hot water until the cup is nearly filled.
I let it steep for 2-3 minutes before removing the mint. I find this gives the tea a good flavour without letting the mint overpower the fruit. I leave the fruit in the tea throughout snacking on them after having finished the tea.
Making Iced Fruit Tea
If you don’t feel like a hot drink you can use the same steeped tea and make it an iced fruit tea. Simply take the hot tea and put it in a glass filled with ice and let cool for a few minutes. This refreshing drink is one of my favorites after a hot day in the garden.
Why I love Fruit Tea
I love making fruit tea with home grown ingredients for a number of reasons. I find the tea soothing , bringing back memories of my summer garden, while being comforted that I know the tea was grown sustainably and that its organic.
When all is said and done you can take the used mint leaves and add them to your compost or mulch layer returning the nutrients to grow next years tea.
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