homesteading: making homemade tea
Wow, what a great response to my “tea for two” post a few days ago. It seems as if there are a lot of tea lovers out there! I thought I’d share with you how I make my own tea blends so you can do. Just as with any cooking or baking project, tea blending is all about creativity, not perfection so don’t be afraid to try new (and safe) herbs, teas and spices.
For gift giving, travel, and quick mornings, I prefer tea bags. I have recently started purchasing my bags through Mountain Rose Herbs. Their bags are bleached naturally and free of toxins. They also sell free trade and organic teas if you don’t have access to those in bulk. You seal these bags with a warm iron.
So some tips for making your own tea blends:
- Dehydrate everything you want to add to your tea bag. I do not like the way dried mint tastes so I prefer to add fres mint after I brew my tea. I do like other herbs like chamomile so I dry those then add to my base tea (always green for me!). If you don’t dehydrate things well, everything in the tea bag will spoil.
- Less is more. Let me say it again. Less is more. If you are using quality tea and aromatic herbs and spices, you do not have to fill the whole bag. Because I seal mine with an iron, I fill my bags a little under half way. Also, if you are using an iron, less heat is better. No steam, less heat.
- Some tea supply companies will suggest purchasing a small funnel or special spoon. Not necessary. I simply open the bag, get a couple of pinches and drop into the bag then seal shut.
- Make sure that all the herbs/spices you are using are clean and free from toxins. I prefer organic, but if that’s not an option, I make sure I wash things well (for example, orange peeling before grating).
- Some tools I find helpful: a mandoline slicer to get ingredients sliced finely (works well with ginger and orange peel), a zester if you want smaller pieces of citrus rind, and a small grater for nuts or hard spices like cinnamon.
- Store the tea bags in a dark, dry place in order to maintain flavor.
When you are done making your tea bags, don’t stop there. For gift giving, there are plenty of beautiful ideas for packaging. But don’t forget to save yourself a bit as well to enjoy as you plan your next recipe!