Herbs for tea
Once you've started making your own herbal teas, you'll be spoilt for tasteless teabags forever. Fresh herbal tea doesn't take any longer to make than a bag in a cup: just pick yourself a generous sprig from the herbs growing just outside the back door, dunk in a mug of boiling water and leave there for five minutes. And that's it: instant, delicious, refreshing and health-giving tea.
There are dozens of herbal teas and tisanes you can make from herbs you'll find in our Donaghadee, Bushmills, Ballymena and Ballyclare garden centre, with beneficial effects from helping digestion to aiding memory. Here are the best of the home-grown teas we love to drink:
- Peppermint: The herb of choice for an invigorating, refreshing tea that also helps soothe indigestion and clear colds. There are several different mints so try a few for their different flavours: spearmint is the one to go for if you like your tea really minty.
Rosemary: There are those who swear that the secret to their good memory is a cup of rosemary tea every morning for breakfast. Whether or not you believe them, rosemary tea is also great for relieving headaches and kick-starting your day.
- Lemon verbena: This beautiful and fragrant herb makes a fragrant yellow-green tea with a wonderful flavour like lemon sherbet. Soak three leaves in a mug and drink just before bedtime to send you off to sleep relaxed and soothed.
Chamomile: You'll need flowers for this one (dry some for winter use). About a tablespoon of flowers steeped in a cup of boiling water gives you a green tea that's both anti-inflammatory, so great if you've got a sore back, and also mildly sedative, helping you get to sleep.
- Fennel: A great winter tea, the seeds of tall, stately fennel taste like aniseed. Pop a teaspoonful in your mug and then strain them off like tealeaves for a really refreshing drink that will freshen your breath. It's also said to relieve hunger pangs – great if you're on a diet.
Please ask the staff in our garden centre in Donaghadee, Bushmills, Ballymena and Ballyclare for more information and advice about using herbs in teas and tisanes.