Linda Russell a local herbalist gave a talk this weekend at the Herbal Community of Central Massachusetts on what to do with the abundant overgrowth of herbs in the garden. Make a big batch of End of the Season Herbal Tea. There are many ways to process herbs for later use, dehydrate, air dry, tincture, but she suggested a new one. Linda learned this from one of her teachers. She has shared it, and following in tradition I will share it with you.
It is the time of year in New England when gardens need to transition. All summer the garden is a thriving source of veggies and herbs. Now the light is less and the nights are colder. Some hardy herbs and greens are doing okay, but for other plants you can see the end of their growing season.
My garden is a little wild and overgrown by this time of year (MILD UNDERSTATEMENT). Tender annual herbs like basil are just about done. Picked up a storm for the last few weeks to make herb infused coconut fat and dried herbs. The dehydrator fan is a steady background hum. It drones on to dry herbs for use all winter into spring.
Stronger plants, like mint, oregano and sage are threatening to take over the space. I know I need to get out there and spend some quality time cutting back perennial herbs for winter hibernation. This really makes getting started in the spring way better. The End of the Season tea is a lovely way to enjoy the fruits of this labor. Make a End of Season Herbal Tea with everything but the garden sink.
Make your own End of Season Herbal Tea
Rather than just throwing out the herbs you cut, bring them in and make a tea. Make the tea to your taste. Add less of the really strong flavors and more of the gentle ones. Look to add plants with the medicinal qualities you want and need to balance the effects of the change of season. Here is an example of the Tea we put together last weekend.
End of Season Herbal Tea
We added, lemon grass, lemon verbena, Russian tarragon, Sage, Artichoke leaves, Dandelion leaves, mint, nasturtium and passion flower leaves . Our mixture was light on the artichoke, mint and dandelion so they didn’t overpower everything. Here is the process we followed.
- Bring in the cuttings
- Strip the leaves, without the stems
- Compost the stems and branches into a bowl or onto a clean surface.
- Dispose of any leaves that are bug eaten or moldy,
- Do not add them to your tea.
- Get a wooden bowl
- Cut the herbs into the bowl. You can use an herb scissors or regular kitchen shears.
- Use proportions of the different herbs that work for your taste
- Mix gently.
- You can have the tea as a fresh infusion
- Or dehydrate or gently stir it multiple times each day over a couple of days and allow it to air dry.
- Place it in an air tight jar and enjoy this fall.
Nice way to use up herbs. Nothing like a cup of herb tea on a cool fall night.
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