If you’re a coffee fiend like me, you may find that you get carried away with the brown stuff, and find yourself sitting bolt upright in a caffeine-crazed trance by noon. Avoid that, and an over-enthusiastic and less than healthy heart-rate, by opting for herbal tea instead!
However, I’m not suggesting you fool around with tea bags full of dried, past-their-best herbs. I’m suggesting you grow and harvest your own fresh herbal teas. Grow some of the tastiest tea herbs on the windowsill or kitchen worktop. Then simply harvest them straight into your cup of steaming water!
Why opt for herbal teas?
Herbal teas aren’t just caffeine-free, but they also have a range of health-giving properties too. Not only that, they won’t leave you with that coffee-breath (or even worse, tea breath!) that makes you unpopular with colleagues and family.
Whether it’s a cold winter’s day and you need that warming beverage, or a summer afternoon where you need a refresh (don’t forget you can make herbal teas on ice too!), herbal tea is a great go-to drink.
A source of vitamins and minerals, not to mention hydrating, herbal teas are also full of medicinal qualities, and can be made from most parts of the herb plant. A herbal tea (also known as a tisane) can be made from the leaves, roots, bark or flowers from the plant.
The benefits of fresh herbs
Using fresh herbs, for any kitchen purpose, is far superior than dried. Fresh herbs are full of rich oils and their flavour much superior to dehydrated and dried herbs. Plus, of course, you’ll never run out, as the plant will keep on growing. Pinch out the tips when you harvest, in order to encourage multiple branches in it’s place.
How about a cocktail too?
If you’re looking for a way to enhance your after-dark drinks, then why not consider using your fresh herb sprigs to jazz up your cocktails and juices. Crushed herbs can add a flavour shot to drinks, or can be used whole as a fancy little garnish!
Easy to grow indoors or out
Herb plants grown on the windowsill or as an indoor plant usually stay compact, as you’ll be regularly picking the leaves, in effect pruning the plants. A constant supply of fresh, juicy herbs is simply divine.
Outdoors, your herbs will grow in a sunny spot, such as a patio pot, windowbox or in the ground. Most herbs are also winter hardy, so will come back each year. You may soon say goodbye to coffee completely…
A few herbs to experiment with
Lemon Balm (Melissa)
A gently lemon flavoured herb, which can jolt your body into action when drunk first thing in the morning. The lemony fragrance also works well on cupcakes or layered within lemon drizzle cake.
Mentha spicata ‘Spanish’
The ultimate refreshing herb, which is used in many different cultures. A mint tea with a touch of honey is a great caffeine alternative and can soothe stomach problems too. In the kitchen, mint is traditionally used to flavour lamb. However, it can also mix well with summer watermelon and feta salads!
A richer flavour than Lemon Balm, and with a spicy kick, Lemon Thyme makes a refreshing tea, which also has antiseptic qualities. The fresh sprigs are also great for flavouring meat dishes, and wrapping around BBQ’d meat.
Tea herbs delivered to your door
If you’ve never tried purchasing plants by mail before, now’s the time to start. The new ‘Gardians’ young plants are packed into special high tech packaging, which keeps the plants fresh whilst they’re in transit, and without needing any extra care. You can even keep the package in the refrigerator for up to a week before planting out.
Look out for the next availability of these herb plants.