Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Put the kettle on

Hi there. By now Aldrum has given you a rather thorough tour of the garden and you must be parched!

How about a cuppa?

Something both refreshing and relaxing - peppermint tea should do the trick. It just kinda makes everything right in the world.

I've found the flavour of organic peppermint tea to be so different to ordinary peppermint tea bags, far more mellow, it made me wonder what they actually do to the non-organic stuff. But of course they sell organic tea by the gram and it costs a fortune.

So how hard could it be to make my own? Not very, I discovered, now I have free, fresh and organic peppermint tea whenever I like!

We picked up a peppermint plant at St Andrews market.

Several months later it has taken off and every few weeks I'm able to borrow a few of its bright green shoots to make some tea.

Here's what I do:

  • Snip off a couple of handfuls of shoots and remove leaves from the stems.

  • Wash really well in a salad spinner and spin off as much water as possible.
  • Set in the sun for a few hours to dry some more.

  • Place leaves in a paper bag, loosely closed and put bag in a warm place (mine is next to our hot water system in the laundry).
  • After about a week the leaves should be dry and brittle to the touch (like Autumn leaves).
  • You can either grind these up manually - with your hands or in a mortar and pestle - or, to get a more even leaf size, blend them in the bowl of a stab mixer.

  • Store tea in a dry, airtight container.
  • Put a teaspoon of the leaves in an infuser and steep in boiled water for five minutes to enjoy!

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