We drink a lot of tea. It is our primary refreshment besides milk and in the winter hot chocolate. Mint tea is wonderful hot in the winter and cold in the summer. Properly made it is silky smooth and a delight to the tongue. We get our mint free from our land, one of the many edible plants that grow wild. This evening went for a walk to visit some of the wet areas where the mint grows so well and picked three bags full.
It is best to take just the upper portion of the stem. That gives the best leaves. It also gives the plant a chance to branch below the cut at the base of a lower pair of leaves thus producing another crop of leaves. This way we can get two or three cuttings per plant per year without over stressing the mint plants. This evening we tied the stems together and hung them in the attic to dry. After about two weeks they’ll be ready to go into glass jars. If you do this, strip the leaves off the stem. The thicker woody stems make the tea bitter. We’ll put up about three gallons packed with leaves for ourselves for the year plus some smaller jars for gifts.
There are different kinds of mint, each with its own flavor. We have two kinds that grow on our land. At first glance they look very similar but when you smell the freshly crushed leaves you know the difference.
Winter tea: boil water and add a few leaves per cup. Let steep to color. Remove leaves if you like. If you use a tea ball it is easiest. You can make several cups of tea per tea ball filled with leaves.
Summer tea: boil two cups of water, add about 1/8th cup of packed leaves and let steep for ten minutes. Pour into a one gallon serving container or a gallon glass pickling jar for storage (swish around jar to sanitize). Add one half to one cup sugar to taste. Variations: 3 table spoons of lemon juice or 1 cup cranberry juice or 1 cup grape juice. Add ice or Refrigerate. Send out with a child to whom ever is working in the hot sun.