My sister Jamie used to bring us home a bag of mint tea from the café she worked at in Burlington. All it consists of is dried peppermint leaves, but when brewed in a big pot of boiling water, chilled and served over ice, it was the most refreshing drink you could imagine. Like jumping in an ice cold lake. A blast of minty ice water to the face. A drink to your health, for sure.
Mom planted (spear)mint near the garden several years back and it has completely taken over, covering and scenting a large corner of the yard. The last bag of dried leaves we had from Jamie was getting low, and while wandering about the garden in my bare feet during one of my long, lazy days of summer, I saw the overwhelming patch of mint and thought, why don’t we make our own tea? How silly of us to not have done this before, huh?
So we did. I clipped several bunches of stems, researched ‘how to dry herbs’ and got to it. It’s really very simple; all that’s needed is patience.
Your very own mint tea:
Step 1: Grow mint (I recommend peppermint, but spearmint will work and is what we used). If your soil is anything like mom’s, it will thrive, even without any loving care. Three to four stems of leaves cut about 1-ft long make a good bunch to dry (cut them before they flower). I dried about six bunches just to try it out. Tie each bunch together with a piece of string. Snip a small hole in the bottom of a paper bag (lunch bag sized) and put the bunch in the bag, poking the end of the stems through the hole. Tape or secure the bags / end of the string to the underside of a table, cabinet, shelf, etc., and let hang for 1-2 weeks. Make sure this is in a dark, warm, well-ventilated area. Once you are sure the leaves are completely dry, strip them from the stems, crush, and store in an airtight container (not plastic) in a cool place.
Make the tea: boil desired amount of water, take it off the heat and add 1 spoonful of crushed mint leaves per cup of water. Let steep for 5 minutes. Strain into heat-proof container, let cool, and chill in the fridge. When you’re ready for a whole-body refresher, pour into a glass over ice, take a sip and let out a sigh. A sigh of relaxing, comforting, renewed bliss. And might I add that there are zero calories, zero ingredients other than what you grew from your own soil? :]