Homemade apple rhubarb herbal tea blend.
Winter is when I get to play with all the goodies I’ve foraged, grown and dried all year long. Dried veggies and herbs find their way into soup mixes while hot peppers, onions and herbs get turned into custom spices and seasoning blends. And now, I’m working on mixing dried fruits, wild edibles and homegrown herbs into homemade tea blends.
When making tea blends I am motivated by taste and the sheer enjoyment of a nice cup of herbal tea. I am not trying to create age defying elixirs or healing tonics that must be taken daily. I drink my tea blends when I want a warm cup of something and I’ve maxed out my coffee consumption for the day. My blends do not include black tea or any other caffeinated teas. For the most part I like to rely on things I’ve grown, gathered or harvested locally, with the exception of a bit of cinnamon, ginger or citrus.
Today, I’m sipping an apple rhubarb tea made with apples picked with Fruit Share and rhubarb and lemon verbena grown in my back yard. It also includes a bit of cinnamon because, well let’s face it, apples and rhubarb always taste better with a little cinnamon.
The only tricky part about blending your own teas is figuring how much of each item to add. It’s mostly trial and error and personal preferences. Here’s what I came up with for this apple rhubarb blend.
On occasion, I will make a few sachets of tea (great for camping) but mostly I leave the loose tea in jars and use a tea infuser when I want to enjoy a cup at home.
- 3 parts dried apple
- 1 part dried rhubarb
- 1 part dried lemon thyme
- 1/2 part dried lime or lemon balm
- 1/4 part dried lemon grass
- 1 stick cinnamon
- Mix all ingredients well, crumbling herbs well.
- Transfer to a glass jar with a tight fitting lid.
- Store for up 6 months to a year. Of course, as long as it remains completely dry, this blend can be safely stored indefinitely; however, the flavor will start to deteriorate significantly after 6 months to a year.
- Brewing Instructions
- Use 1 to 2 tsp of tea mix per cup of boiling water.
- Allow to steep, covered for 5 minutes or longer for stronger flavor.
- This tea blend does not turn bitter if you steep it longer, so if you want more intense flavor, just let it steep longer - no worries!
If you’re not as obsessed about gathering and drying edibles as I am (yes, I’m pretty sure it’s a psychological condition!) you could just go to a bulk store or local herb shop to purchase the necessary ingredients. I’m sure you’ll find other ingredients that will inspire you to create your own custom blend.
If you’re interested in growing herbs to use in your own tea blends, take a look at this article on How to Grow Your Own Tea Garden.
Getty Stewart is an engaging speaker and writer providing tasty recipes, time-saving tips, and helpful kitchen ideas to make home cooking easy and enjoyable. She is a Professional Home Economist, author of Manitoba’s best-selling Prairie Fruit Cookbook, Founder of Fruit Share, mom and veggie gardener.