Noilly Prattle: Mint Tea

Friday, May 3, 2013

Mint Tea

    Mr. B. is still getting organized—and working on broken leg surgery rehabilitation. In the meantime let's talk tea—herb tea. We have an herb garden across the street from the front door. Like all gardens it is plagued with weeds. There are good weeds and weeds that are nothing but a nuisance. You can smoke and make delicious brownies with some kinds of weed, and you can make tea with others. One weed that is ubiquitous around these parts is mint, an aromatic and flavorful one; the smokable one is, unfortunately, highly illegal here and cause for imprisonment and deportation—a definitely unpleasant prospect. So, we have only mint in our herb garden.

        It wasn't always there, but it grows in abundance almost everywhere else around the place. While out walking in the neighborhood one day, I pulled half a dozen plants from the roots and stuck them in a hole in the garden. Lo and behold they caught and flourished. Other than used as a dessert garnish we didn't know what to do with all that mint, however. While living in Berlin last winter we had a wonderfully warming and refreshing mint tea concoction at a Vietnamese restaurant near our apartment. It had lemon grass and some other things as well as fresh mint leaves. Now we had an idea of what to use all our mint for.

         The first time we tried to brew the leaves, they tasted watery and flat. A quick online search yielded a website on brewing mint tea that made it clear where we had made a mistake. You have to rub the leaves between your hands to release the oils and then steep the leaves for a full five minutes. We tried following these instructions and the tea, using only mint leaves, tasted great. You can add a little honey if you like it sweeter, but I prefer it straight with no interference with the mint flavor itself. We haven't tried it yet, but you can probably brew up a big pot and put it in a pitcher and refrigerate it for a cooling refreshing hot summer drink.

Here are the steps for brewing mint tea:

1.      Pick about 10 or 12 branches of fresh mint leaves (vary according to size of pot).

2.      Wash them out in case of any pesticide residue or bugs.

3.       Rub each stem thoroughly between the palms of your hands
(your hands will smell wonderful for a long time afterwards).

4.       Put the leaves in your pot, add boiling water and steep for a full five minutes.

5.       Pour into your cup, add honey if you like, and viola, a nice pale yellow-- 
(yup, not pale green) cuppa aromatic mint tea.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

delightful musings…I, too, discovered the power of 'bruising' the mint leaves when I had, for the first time, a mint julep, in Charleston.

Live and learn.

You might, also, wish to dry some, and use it that way!

I had mint in a garden, once upon a time, and it was so invasive, that I pulled it out.

Perhaps, corralling it with some deep fencing, to keep the roots from spreading, is something to look into. -R