Heat is here so think iced tea

The heat is now upon us. Working or playing outside brings out the sweat. We are cautioned to stay hydrated and need to drink liquids but it’s important to limit caffeine and alcohol intake.

What to do? Drink herb teas!

The teas are healthy and caffeine-free. Caffeine, adiuretic, can worsen dehydration and the stimulation can overwork what may

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already be a stressed cardio system. Please note that green tea, although saidto have healthful benefits, contains caffeine. Herb iced teas are refreshing.Serve with ice, a fresh herbal sprig or slice of fruit, sit back and take abreak.

Making herbal tea is easy. You can use purchased herbal tea or tea bags or use fresh herbs either purchased or home-grown. Fresh and dried herbs can be used singly or in blends that can include flowers, citrus peels and spices.

Heat is here

Easy to Make – Iced Tea

It is best to use non-metallic containers for making tea asmetal can affect the taste. Use cold water. Be careful if adding hot water to glass or ceramiccontainers. Add water with the container in the sink in case of breakage.

Make hot tea to use. For one cup with driedherbs, add boiling water to 1 Tablespoon of herbs. Dried herbs have a moreconcentrated taste than fresh. For fresh herbs, use 3 Tablespoonsof finely minced leaves. For iced tea, double the amount as the tea will be dilutedby the ice. To keep from diluting the tea, make ice cubes out of the left-overtea. For a pitcher, rinse the pitcherwith hot water. Make hot tea as above but add “one for the pot.” Let tea coolin the refrigerator. Strain and pour over ice. Serve with an herbal sprig orslice of fruit.

Use caution. Although using solar power to make sun tea is popular, brewing sun tea for long periods of time may encourage the growth of bacteria especially if using tap water. If you make herbal sun tea, make sure the container is clean (and clean between uses). Check the position of the container during brewing to make sure it remains in the sun. Refrigerate the tea as soon as steeped and use within 1-2 days.

Freedom or Liberty Teas In early American times, when the colonists refrained fromdrinking English teas in protest of taxes, they turned to teas made from nativebushes and herbs such as strawberry and raspberry leaves, mints, clover and beebalm.

Heat is here
Bee balm. Photo courtesy Carol Kagan.

Some Plants for Teas

  • Dill – Savory –
  • Blackberry –
  • Bee balm –
  • Sage  –
  • Lemongrass –
  • Mints –
  • Marjoram –
  • Lemon verbena
  • Rosemary –
  • Borage –
  • Lemon balm  –
  • Thyme –
  • Strawberry –
  • Chamomile

Winter – cold and stormy. But anyone shoveling snow can confirm that we still sweatin winter and we need to drink liquids. Follow the same directions as above tomake a cup or pot of hot tea, reducing the measurements to 1 Tablespoon ofdried herbs and 2 Tablespoons of fresh minced herbs for a cup of tea.

When planning your garden this year, include some tea herbs for both summer and winter enjoyment.

Heat is now
Carol Kagan

Carol Kagan is a master gardener and author who has been active in herbal organizations for over 35 years. She has designed and maintained herb gardens and provided docent services at historic properties. She is the author of  Herb Sampler. The book is a great resource for beginners who love herbs but aren’t quite sure how to get started; or have been unsuccessful in establishing a herb garden.

More Carol Kagan gardening columns

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