Today I took inspiration from the Bakopoulos sisters’ (aka: The Three Greek Sisters) blog, and made some tea from dandelion leaves. Yes, the little yellow “weeds” that we all despise in the spring, are actually an extremely easy way to get a boost of nutrients – who knew?
At first, I was very skeptical about tasting these common garden weeds, but after infusing them as a tea, I discovered that they are actually quite tasty, and soothing to the throat. Apparently, dandelions have long been used for their medicinal properties, their aid in digestion, their vitamins and their healing properties. I had heard of dandelion tea, but really hadn’t thought of trying it, until today.
So, how does one go about making dandelion tea you ask? Well, it’s actually quite simple. First, you’ll need to get a handful of dandelion greens (not the huge leaves as they tend to be a little bitter, but the smaller new leaves work the best.) At this time of year, you shouldn’t have any trouble in sourcing them. Now, make sure the area from which you collect your greens is pesticide free – that is key, or you could wind up very sick indeed! Now, unless you like little bugs in your tea I suggest you wash the leaves very thoroughly. Boil some water (enough for the number of cups of tea you’d like) and add the leaves. Allow them to steam for about 10 minutes, then pour off the liquid into your tea cup, and add some honey if you find it to be bitter (I liked mine without just fine.)
Now, the sisters suggest that the dandelion greens make a nice addition to a meal, as steamed greens. I did try them, and despite *wanting* to like them, they were just too bitter for my liking. The tea however, will be a regular summer beverage in this household. My husband also gave it a thumbs up.
On a roll, and thoroughly chilled on this abysmal-weather day, I decided to grab some fresh mint from my herb garden, and make another tea from it. Equally as soul-warming, mint is another of the teas that aids in digestion. It settles and soothes the stomach, and has often been thought of as a cure for nausea. Some even believe that it has potential cancer-fighting capabilities – talk about a powerful plant!
I’m really trying to cut back on the amount of coffee I drink (I am a die-hard coffee drinker) I love the stuff, and commonly drink 3 or 4 per day. Herbal teas are a really great solution to the “hot bevvy” craving, and are actually quite healthy. And, you can get fresh herbs right from your own back yard!
So, perhaps the next time you want a “spot of tea,” opt for a backyard tea. In a household with four feline friends, we have a sizable catnip patch as well, and evidently this plant, which belongs to the mint family also makes a soothing infusion, which has calming properties – I’m not so sure that’s the effect it has on my cats, but sounds fun either way!