Despite my legendary caffeine addiction, sometimes itâ€™s necessary actually to consume a different type of beverage. After all, one canâ€™t just drink cup after cup of coffee all day long. (I know, Iâ€™ve tried. I had to give up when my hands got so jittery I threw silverware all over the kitchen trying to do the dishes, and we never, ever mention what happened when I tried to pet Pudding the Judgmental Cat.)
What to do when the delicious and potent hot beverage of your dreams simply canâ€™t be yet another muddy cup of super-caffeinated black gold because your head will probably explode? Of course, there are the ready-bagged teas in a variety of flavors, but I just wander out to the Fortress Garden and start grabbing handfuls of stuff. Whoever said tea had to be dried was, well, just wrong. Fresh herbs make fantastic teaâ€”Iâ€™d argue even better than the dried stuff.
One of my favorite concoctions is a mix of peppermint, pineapple mint and lemon balm in roughly equal portions. Add a couple of sprigs of stevia, pour boiling water overtop, and in 5 to 10 minutes, youâ€™ve got a pot of naturally sweetened, delicious hot tea. Steep it a little longer and pour it into a pitcher of ice, and itâ€™s a great cold beverage, as well. Really great. I mean, teenagers-drink-it-all-and-immediately-want-more great. Whenever I find something that the boy one and the girl one like that isnâ€™t a bright orange-powder-covered chip or a milky-looking drink with 75 grams of sugar, I do the happy dance and make a lot of it.
Because the kids liked the fresh peppermint/pineapple-mint/lemon-balm tea so much, they literally drank me out of supply last year. This spring, the peppermint and pineapple mint beds doubled in size (as is mintâ€™s wont; be careful where you plant this stuff), and I quadrupled the amount of stevia, which didnâ€™t overwinter very well. I figure even if I have way too much, I could also drag out the dehydrator for preserving the excess fresh supply. I added plantings of borage and lemon verbena for a twist, and got really crazy and planted a medicinal herb bed with elecampane, hyssop, Echinacea and chamomile â€¦ in case I decide to go into the witch-doctor business. I do so love that witch-doctor headgear.
Go for it. Mix and match whatever youâ€™ve got on hand and see what works. Lemon balm and basil? Orange rind and sage? Borage and pineapple mint?
I have even considered making up a supply of teabags, mainly because I like the meditative process of dipping the bag up and down in the cup while staring at a sinkful of dirty dishes, thoughtfully considering whether I can come up with a tea-based excuse for not doing them.
Even Pudding is slowly starting to trust me again.
Read more about herbs on HobbyFarms.com:
- 8 Healing Uses For Homegrown Herbs
- 5 Soil Amendments To Grow Better Herbs
- 5 Herbs Your Chickens Will Love
- 5 Herbal Teas You Can Grow At HomeÂ