Monday, September 21, 2009

Ceylon and Lavender Rose Tea

Last week I wrote about preserving fall's harvest, in particular making the most of an abundance of peaches and tomatoes.

At the end of the week, I shared my favorite trick for preserving herbs, and it's not drying; it's

I blend herbs with olive oil and then pour the mixture into small containers for short-term storage (a couple of weeks) in the fridge or into ice-cube containers for long-term storage (several months) in the freezer. Herbs blended with oil and frozen keep both their color and flavor.

This week I'm going to share a number of recipes for creating aromatic teas using green or black loose-leaf tea, fresh herbs, dried herbs, and dried spices.

These recipes come from my friend Cindy who has been brewing her tea concoctions for me for years. This past weekend I took pictures of her herb garden, and recorded Cindy as she listed the ingredients and method for making her top five teas.

This first recipe is one of my favorites because it's floral and sweet; and it calls for black tea with cream and honey, which I love.

The picture above and the two below are the herbs used in this tea growing in the garden. At the top is rosemary (with thyme to the left, though thyme isn't a part of this recipe). Below are roses and to the left of the roses is lavender.

To the left again is the quantity of rosemary, lavender, rose petals, loose-leaf tea, and honey used to create a single serve of tea. Cindy suggested Ceylon tea as the basis for this recipe.

Ceylon and Lavender Rose Tea

Into a tea pot (which has been warmed with hot water) place the following:
1) A sprig of fresh rosemary.
2) A teaspoon of lavender harvested from the stalk (or if you don't grow lavender, purchase it dried).
3) Several fresh rose petals, though again, if you don't have access to fresh roses, you can buy dried petals.
4) A teaspoon of loose-leaf Ceylon tea.
5) Pour a cup and half of boiling water over the tea and herbs and allow it to steep for about 3 mins.

To Serve: Into a cup pour half and half or cream or whole milk; using a tea strainer pour tea and then stir in a teaspoon of honey.

I'm actually sipping a cup of the above brew as I write. Because I prefer strong tea, I steeped the tea for more than 3 mins. However, this enhanced the rosemary flavor, which overpowered the lavender and rose flavors.

And I ended up adding more cream and hot water to dilute the strength of the Ceylon tea. Try playing around with the strength of flavors till you arrive at something that suits your palate!

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