Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Herb Season Tea
I've been in need of a little comfort of late. Fortunately it's herb season. Proper herbs from the field, I mean, with character and ugly bits and signs of having made it through a late frost or two. These herbs have weathered the storm that is early spring in these parts, and so, particularly in recent weeks, I feel a certain affinity with them.
During herb season, I keep bouquets of them in glasses on the kitchen counter. I use them for flavoring our food, of course, but I also prize them for making teas far more earthy and mellow than those we drink from store-bought blends the rest of the year. I especially turn to Maureen and Bridget Boland, those dowager empresses of comfort and Gardeners' Lore and all other things wise, for inspiration.
Above I show a simple tea made with some remarkably sturdy organic mint from Keith's Farm. Mint, prized for it's ability to soothe the nerves and refresh the body (yes please) is also touted by the Boland sisters as an addition to bath water for athletes. They hasten to urge that any Olympic competitors first ask permission of the "Committee" before indulging in the sinew-stregthening soak. That must have been some serious mint they were growing.
Other favorites I've gleaned from the series include borage steeped in wine, which they tell us "drives away all sadness and dullness." And on closer inspection I see that basil drunk in wine is recommended too - good to know my instincts are at least occasionally in line - for it's stimulating effect on the nerves and calming effect on the stomach. Tincture of chervil root should be given for courage, lavender soaked in hot water comforts the heart, and a tea made with marjoram "easeth such as are given to much sighing." Next on my list to try? Meadowsweet boiled in wine "to make the heart merry." Hopefully my sense of humor will be back intact in no time.