If you planted a garden this year and are overflowing with herbal and floral goodness, here’s how to make fresh iced teas
So many herbs on their own, or paired with the right fruits and vegetables, can have an incredible cooling effect on the body, while also bringing that crisp, fresh taste to your glass without the excess plastic, sugar and preservatives that sodas can have. So let’s see how to blend and infuse our herbs and flowers to achieve that perfectly refreshing summer drink.
Tips and tricks for using fresh herbs for tea
- Gently rub the fresh herbs to release their essential oils, but don’t press too hard otherwise they’ll have a bitter taste.
- Place the herbs in a glass jar or large tea steeping container and pour hot water over them to help extract the flavour. Place the lid on top and steep for about 15 minutes.
- Strain the herbs and add your desired sweetener like simple syrup, cane sugar, stevia, honey, agave or maple syrup. You could also leave your herbs to continue infusing in the container.
- Add in any fruit, lemon juice or other foods or flowers once the mixture has cooled down.
- Fill with cold or room temperature water, add ice, and enjoy fresh or leave in the fridge for 3 to 4 days to sip on slowly.
- Bonus tip: almost all of these teas are made even more delicious by mixing them with sparkling water or kombucha.
- All recipes listed are meant for a quart jar of water/tea infusion.
Soothing chamomile tea with lemon
We know chamomile for its calming benefits (and putting us to sleep), but did you know that it is also excellent at cooling down the body, soothing heat rash, and aiding in alleviating the effect of sunburn? This tea is for those who just need to beat the heat this summer.
- 2 tbsp fresh chamomile flowers
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 4 to 5 mint leaves
- Sweetener to taste
Adaptogenic tulsi tea with ginger and honey
Tulsi, or sacred/holy basil, is known as an adaptogenic herb, which means it’s one of those plants that can help the body and mind deal with stress. It’s also known for boosting your energy better than coffee (without the anxious buzz) and can help you tackle that summer to-do list without the burnout.
- 4 to 6 sprigs of fresh tulsi or 1 tbsp of dry (for fresh, allow it to wild on the counter for one day before using)
- 1 to 2 tsp grated ginger
- 2 tsp honey
Hydrating fennel, apple and mint tea
Fennel isn’t always everyone’s cup of tea (ahem), but you might want to get on the bandwagon if you want to hydrate your skin, relieve your body of a little heat, and get a little dose of vitamin C. All of the benefits of licorice-flavoured fennel seed, plus the sweetness of apple and refreshing mint, makes this one a favourite poolside summer-sipper.
- 1 to 2 tsp of fennel seeds
- 5 to 6 mint leaves
- 1 small apple, chopped
- Sweetener to taste
Floral calendula, elderflower and yarrow tea
Why not pack all of the delicious and nutritious flowers into one magnificent tea? Calendula brings a vibrant orange colour to the mix, while also helping to prevent any skin damage from sun exposure; elderflower packs an aroma of passionfruit, citrus and vanilla to the tea and has anti-inflammatory properties; and finally yarrow (a common weed) soothes any nervousness and settles stomach upset. This is an all around herbal powerhouse tea.
- 5 to 6 calendula flowers
- 2 to 3 elderflower heads
- 3 to 4 yarrow flowers
Cool as a cucumber tea with lemon balm and sage
Cucumber in water may not be a revolutionary thing, but we forget that we can throw it into our herbal concoctions too. Pair it with lemon balm, a herb that’s in the mint family and known for its same cooling and soothing properties. On hot days, lemon balm can help reduce your body heat and any symptoms that come with overheating, like nausea and dizziness. The sage adds a little oomph of flavour, and if you really want to get fancy, this is the perfect one to mix with a little original kombucha.
- 1 large sliced cucumber
- 4 sprigs lemon balm
- 2 to 3 sage leaves or flowers
These teas should keep you nice and refreshed for the summer weather ahead, while also encouraging you to experiment with some of your garden flowers and herbs. Enjoy!