GARDENING: Make your own tea with herbs

My previous posts talked at length about drying herbs for cooking. But what I forgot to mention is that you can grow herbs and flowers for steeping. If you are a tea drinker, this is a wonderful way to add color to your garden as well as have flavorful, organic tea throughout the year. I was first exposed to this when I was in Italy staying with my grandmother. In her bathroom, she had mason jars filled with dried, yellow flowers. I asked her what they were and she said they were chamomile flowers for tea. I grew up having chamomile in square tea bags, not thinking much of it. Chamomile is an Italian cure all for many things and is a staple in any Italian household. My grandmother showed me these little yellow flowers and she said that she would walk in the mountains and harvest them wild when she would do her pilgrimages to the churches up there. She opened a jar and had me smell, and let me tell you. The aroma was so strong, it blew our little white, sterile tea bags out of the water!
I tend to grow chamomile for tea throughout the year. I grow them in window boxes and they are a sweet little flower to look at. They smell earthy and sweet at the same time. I clip them biweekly, and dry them as I do my herbs. I keep the flowers in a labeled jar and when I wish to brew tea, I put a teaspoon in a tea sieve and brew a cup. I imagine you can do the same with mint, lemon balm, spearmint, etc. Here are a few links...
http://www.io.com/~wilsone/teatime.htm
http://www.bestdryingrack.com/Drying_herbs_for_tea.html

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