Summer tea from the garden: raspberry leaf and mint
This might not count as foraging the way cooking with wildflowers or garden weeds is, but making tea from overgrown herbs and the leaves of berry bushes is a way to enjoy and utilize often overlooked pieces of the garden.
Raspberry Leaf Tea
Depending on your plants, the height of raspberry season may have just ended or begun. I’ve been gleefully picking buckets of the juicy red jewels for the past few weeks, and am very sorry to see them go. However the raspberry plant still has a lot to give–its leaves, for example!
To be fair, Raspberry Leaf Tea tastes very little like raspberries. It tastes a lot like black tea, just without the caffeine. But it’s free if you make it at home, and it has a myriad of rumored health benefits.
Drinks made from raspberry leaves have been used as a cure-all for pregnancy ailments for centuries in Europe, Asia, and the Americas. The plant is high in calcium, iron, and B vitamins; things humans benefit from every day, but especially so during pregnancy. It’s often reported to make childbirth labor easier and make recovery after birth quicker.
Making the tea couldn’t be easier. Simply harvest the leaves from your raspberry plants, dry them for a few days in the sun, and steep with hot water for 5-10 minutes. Adding honey makes it even more pleasant.
To keep the leaves from blowing away, try drying the leaves between screens or window panes (making sure air can circulate)!
Fresh Mint Tea
For a quick pick-me-up that requires little effort beyond harvesting some mint from an exploding patch, make some cold brewed iced mint tea. In a large jar add one handful of mint per two cups of water until the jar is full. Screw on the top and leave it on the porch for 6-24 hours. Pour yourself a glass, add a squeeze of lemon, and drink up!
For more immediate results, boil water and add to fresh mint leaves/stems, and steep to your preferred flavor.
Tags: north country recipes, raspberry leaf tea, summer recipes