Christmas Giving On My Mind!
The Lemonbalm and Fennel tea mix is the ninth item that is ready for the Christmas gift baskets. (Check out this hub for more details about the Backers dozen gift baskets. I’ve also added the links at the bottom of the hub)
This herbal tea blend is best suited as an after dinner or evening tea, especially when you don’t have anywhere to go as it can act as a calming, mild sedative.
Lemon balm, fennel, peppermint and lavender have been used widely for thousands of years for a great number of reasons. The combination of these four herbs together in a tea have a tremendous wealth of benefits. These are very safe herbs and there are no known or substantiated adverse reactions. It’s a very pleasant tasting blend and great to use when the body is achy and a little feverish from cold or flu.
- The Lemon balm has a lemony-mint smell and taste.
- Fennel tastes a combination of anise and licorice.
- Peppermint obviously tastes like mint.
- Lavender taste like it smells, pleasant, kind of a floral and spicy mixture.
I grow all the herbs in the garden and because they are so easy to grow always have an abundance every year.
I use this tea blend as an after dinner tea. With the heavy meals of the holidays soon upon us once again it can relieve that uncomfortable full feeling, it can relieve the pain and discomfort of indigestion, as well as gas and bloating.
Other benefits of this herbal tea, it can help relieve stress headaches and migraines nervousness and mild insomnia. It’s very calming aroma acts like a mild tranquilizer putting the body at ease. Because it reduces stress it can also help to lower high blood pressure. Each of the herbs also has potent anti-viral properties which don’t just reduce cold and flu symptoms but they actually can eliminates the virus causing the symptoms and are known for their abilities to boost the metabolism
In addition, herbal tea is caffeine free.
- 4 cups Lemon Balm dried and crushed
- 3 cups of fennel green dried
- 1 cup of fennel seed ground
- 1/2 cup peppermint leaves dried and crushed
- 1/2 cup lavender leaves dried and crushed
- 1/2 cup lavender blooms
- 1/2 cup ginger (optional)
Mix all ingredients together gently you do not want to powder-ize the herbs too much (because then you get the dregs between your teeth and that’s yuk)
I use a tablespoon’s worth of tea-blend in my infuser per cup. (I own quite a few different styles of infusers but my favorite is the little screen basket its called ‘swissgold TF200’ there is one showing in the amazon ad) 3.5 tablespoons of the tea-blend is enough in my 4 cup teapot. The tea needs to steep for at least 5-6 minutes but then I do not like my tea too strong.
This recipe will make about 10 cups of dried tea-blend. I filled in 22 pretty jars of almost 1/2 cup each which will be a nice addition to the Christmas baskets. I also made self-sticking labels with the ingredients and the amount needed per cup and teapot.
Extra tips for harvesting, drying and storing herbs!
~The best time to harvest herbs (leaves and blooms) is shortly after the sun has dried off the morning dew but before it gets really hot. The oils are traveling into the leaves and blooms at that time and their aromas at their most potent power then too. Seed pods and seeds should be collected when they’re brittle and turn dark brown or black.
~Try not to pick leaves when the conditions are rainy or really humid because the oils in the plants are not at their top quality. (logical=>too much water is sucked into the plants which in turn dilutes the essence or oils of the plants)
~Large quantities of drying is best done on racks, on screen windows or hung upside down by their stems. The place for drying your herbs should be well ventilated with plenty of dry air circulation away from direct sun light. You need to turn your herbs every couple of days. (I built a frame out of 2×4’s with "shelves" at 14" intervals and use some old storm window frames with nylon screening to dry all my herbs. I have the "drying frame" it set-up in the corner of my screened in porch and as it’s always windy here it has plenty of air movement. The last batches of fall herbs and such in the fall usually need a bit of help drying then I set up a small heater with fan under neath the rack on a low-low setting. As mentioned before the air circulation in between the drying herbs is the most important issue.)
~For smaller batches another alternative to drying is to use the microwave by laying the herbs out on absorbent paper toweling and using the lowest possible cooking setting in one minute intervals. Flipping them each time until totally brittle and dry. Careful not to over cook and thus burn the herbs. 3-4 minutes should do it with most microwaves.
~A dehydrator is also another obvious option. However they do not come large enough to do big batches.
A time saving tip:
To dry big bunches of leafed herbs tie three stems together then when the bunch feels totally dry the brittle leaves can be crumbled off and the stems can be thrown into the composter.
Storing Herbs and Specialty Teas:
~Store herbs in small glass or plastic airtight containers and away from the sunlight in a cool, dark place. Keeping your dry herbs in humid conditions and excessive light will result in them losing their flavor more quickly.
~Keeping the herbs in the kitchen in the cupboard above where the coffee is brewed and the kettle are being boiled daily is a no-no. The damp could result in the herbs getting moldy.
~If stored properly, dried herbs will retain their flavors for a year. (you can still use them but you will have to add more to have the same taste and benefit results)
~Larger quantities of herbs can be stored in tightly sealed containers in the freezer. (the containers should be as full as possible with the least amount of airspace to keep at their ultimate)