Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Lemon Verbena and Rose Ice Tea

Since my last post, which was far too long ago, I have moved from the hustle and bustle of my Oakland neighborhood to an old farmhouse in Amherst Massachusetts. Here in New England the summer months bring heat and humidity and I have found hot tea to be low on my agenda. I have however been enjoying cooling and calming herbs as the centerpiece of iced tea. To be honest I never actually drink my tea “iced,” sometimes I chill it in the refrigerator, but even at room temperature a Verbena and Rose herbal infusion is the perfect summer treat. It is both relaxing and refreshing…for me, summer couldn’t get any better.

When using roses in tea the best are those that are aromatic and homegrown or grown organically (available dried at your local herb store or health food store). Never use commercially grown roses for anything other than aesthetic purposes. Roses and other flowers are grown with harsh and dangerous chemicals that should not be used internally or externally for medicine. That being said, if you do have access to home grown roses feel free to use them in your tea, the fresher the better! I have two beautiful rose bushes in front of my new house that are in full bloom right now, I have been using them in my tea and drying them to keep for later use.

2 parts lemon verbena
½ part rose petals

Mix the herbs together in a bowl and store in an airtight jar. To brew, use 1 Tbs. of your herbal tea mixture for every 8 oz. of boiling water. Place the herbs in a jar, pitcher or teapot; pour boiling water over the herbs and cover with a lid. Allow the herbs to steep until the liquid comes to room temperature, 6 to 8 hours. Then strain the herbs out and store in the refrigerator; tea should last 2 to 3 days. If you would like to sweeten your tea, add a bit of honey while still hot.

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