Monday, July 11, 2011

Herbal Teas (Tisanes)

I have been making the most of the bounty of my herb garden- chopped into salads, adorning desserts and being made into herbal iced teas.

But when I recently shared some of my iced herbal concoctions with a friend she reminded me that these are not really teas per se, but actually tisanes. Tisanes are infusions made from herbs and contain no tea (or caffeine) at all.

I remember being rather surprised when I ordered peppermint tea in a cafe in Paris and I received a hot pot filled with peppermint leaves (sans soggy tea bag). But really, why was I suprised? Especially in Paris! Ah, live and learn.

I love tisanes (but tea, I still adore thee!) and I have been making them non-stop this summer to keep up with the over-production of greenery in the herb garden. Lemon balm is one of my favourites but I also love peppermint and chamomile. They all have very unique properties and benefits and so I sip away...

Herbal Tisanes
Read up about the herb you want to use before consuming it in copious amounts, but peppermint and chamomile are pretty standard. Sweeten iced tisanes with a little cane sugar or honey for the ultimate summer refresher!

1. Bring a pot of water to boil.
2. Infuse rinsed herbs with boiling water and let stand 5-10 minutes. Sweeten if desired.

For a large cup of chamomile tea, a small handful of flowers and stems (approx. 2 tbsp) for 2 cups boiling water. Sweeten with honey if desired.
For a small pitcher of iced peppermint or lemon balm tea, boil 6 cups water for 1 cup packed leaves. Sweeten with cane sugar if desired. Serve over ice.