Northeast Wisconsin
  • Northeast Wisconsin
  • July 2017
Written by 

Refreshing herbal teas for summer!

Beat the summer heat with vibrant, vivid herbal teas and refreshments! You can keep cool all summer long using fresh or dried herbs and water. Many delicious combinations can easily be made in the home kitchen. Growing a few of your favorite herbs and edible flowers will make these recipes super simple to make at any time throughout the summer months.

Herbal teas are easy to make and are delicious, although, technically not tea. Tea is used to describe the tea plant, camellia sinensis. Herbal teas are more appropriately called tisanes, a fancy word for an herbal infusion. Commonly used parts of the plant to infuse into water are leaves, flowers and berries. To make a tisane, add 1-3 tablespoons of dried herbal material, or up to a handful of fresh herbs to a steeping vessel. Boil 8 ounces of water and pour over the herbs. Steep 15 minutes, strain herb material and sweeten to taste.

The easiest way to enjoy fresh herbs is by adding a few sprigs to water along with cucumber or slices of fruit. Mint is a favorite herb used this way along with fresh citrus. There are several varieties of mint to grow, including: peppermint, spearmint, chocolate mint, mojito mint, etc. Pick your favorite and add it to ice water with lemon, lime, or orange slices, watermelon, or infuse alone in water. Lemon balm is another herb in the mint family that pairs perfectly with ice water, imparting a subtle lemon flavor.

Check out some of these refreshing herbal recipes.

Hibiscus Mint Cooler

Hibiscus is a beautiful summer flower that makes the most delightful, bright red tea. Children and adults alike will love this red herbal ‘Kool-Aid’ replacement. Peach leaf is a great addition to summer teas as it is cooling to the body.

  • ½ cup hibiscus, dried
  • ¼ cup rose hips, dried
  • ¼ cup lemongrass, dried
  • ½ cup spearmint, dried
  • 3 tablespoons peach leaf, dried
  • Raw honey, to taste

Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil and steep, covered for 30 minutes. Strain and add enough cold water and ice cubes to equal 1 gallon. Pour into your favorite cocktail glass and drink through a stainless-steel straw!

Herbal Flower Ice Cubes

Any herbal tisane recipe can be frozen and made into ice cubes or popsicles. Add sliced fruit or edible flowers, such as borage, calendula, nasturtium, rose, violet, pansy or bee balm for a lovely touch!

Place one or more edible flowers in each square of an ice cube tray. Fill with filtered water and freeze. Enjoy in tea, lemonade or punch!

Strawberry Mint Sorbet

Any of the mints listed above can also be made into an extract and blended with fresh strawberries to make a sorbet that is out of this world. To make the mint extract, simply add fresh or dried mint to fill a glass jar half full. Add vodka or brandy to fill the jar and leave about one inch of headspace. Let sit four to six weeks and strain. Use to flavor baked goods, mixed drinks or ice cream. Yum!

  • 4 cups fresh strawberries
  • 1 teaspoon mint extract
  • ½ cup honey

Puree until smooth, run in an ice cream maker for 15 minutes. Serve immediately or freeze for later use.

Blueberry Maple Syrup Switchel

Switchels, commonly referred to as haymaker’s punch in years past, are an invigorating vinegar and honey drink made to quench the thirst from a hard day’s work. Made with vinegar, honey, and herbs or fruit, there are endless variations to the recipe. Enjoy with fresh or frozen berries after a long summer day.

  • 1 quart of filtered water
  • ¼ cup of maple syrup or honey
  • ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1/3 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

Mix everything in a glass serving pitcher. Refrigerate overnight.

Be sure to keep notes of which recipes you make or you’ll be scratching your head later trying to remember what you put in that delicious drink. Enjoy any of these recipes all summer long. You’re sure to find a cooling herbal blend that suits your tastes and keeps you hydrated. 

Dana Schlies

Dana is a Certified Women’s Herbal Educator and Community Herbalist. She is passionate about educating women about the many botanical and alternative methods to bring the body into balance and create vibrant, healthy living. She utilizes a comprehensive approach including environment, nutrition, exercise, stress reduction and botanicals to bring support to the whole body. She is part of the team at Sweet Willow Naturals, and can be reached at 920-530-1188 or [email protected]

Website: www.sweetwillownaturals.com
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