Do you want to make your own loose leaf tea? You can grow your own herbs or gather it on the nearest meadow for your daily enjoyment and as a cure. Buying tea is fast and easy but making your own can be quite exciting.
I gather herbs for almost 10 years now. It all started when I had first menstrual pain. I took my health problem seriously and decided to help myself (as doctors didn’t help much). The whole process from picking herbs to preparing tea calms me and gives the energy that helps me through good and bad days. If you are a nature lover and love to pick plants; then you should read this article.
Making your own tea isn’t hard. You just need to know some rules regarding the process so herbs will maintain the most active substances. There are many benefits of making your tea at home. You can educate yourself which plant you want to have for the tea, what are its benefits, and when to drink it.
With proper knowledge, you will be ready to go outside and get your favorite plant that you will enjoy throughout the year. Picking herbs can be a great hobby, adventure, and a big helper when you seek natural remedies for diseases and health symptoms, so let’s get into it.
How do I make loose leaf tea at home?
Before going in nature and picking plants you should know what herb you want and why. People have different purposes for picking tea.
Use my tips to find the herb and gather information. Learn what its benefits are, how it looks, tastes, how to use it and what are its side-effects. With the proper knowledge, you are ready to go for the next step – picking herbs for the tea.
How do you harvest herbs?
First, I would like to tell you about a few rules for picking plants. Be a conscious herb gatherer so you and nature will benefit both.
The rules for the harvesting herbs
These are a few basic rules for gathering tea.
- Learn to recognize herbs
- Never gather protected and rare plants. These drugs can be bought at the pharmacy store
- Gather only those parts that you need. Be cautious and don’t damage the whole plant
- Gather just as many plants as you urgently need
- Always gather herbs in dry and nice weather before noon (avoid morning dew)
- Gather ones that grow in the unpolluted environment. Avoid roads and train rails, factories, pesticide fields, and walking trails. Many healing plants can be also successfully grown in the home garden or on the window sill.
When should I harvest my herbs?
You can gather medicinal plants throughout the year depending on the species and the part of the plant that you intend to gather.
Consider the weather conditions and time of the day
Harvest them only in dry weather, never in the morning when the dew is still on the grass. The best gathering time is around noon.
The plant’s healing power is reduced in the evening because of the circulation of juices during the day and in the evening or at night. If it rained, wait for at least 3 days before gathering them.
Consider the moon
You can also consider the moon when the days are suitable for picking flowers, leaves, roots, and fruit. This way, active substances of healing plants will be more persistent and will have a greater effect.
Harvesting tea herbs process
Here are useful tips for harvesting herbs so you will preserve the active ingredients in tea and also protect nature’s balance.
For gathering herbs for tea use the same tools as in gardening: shovel, hoe for digging up roots and other underground parts, scissors for cutting twigs and woody parts, strong knife and gloves. It is the best that you store harvested crops in the basket or rarely woven bag. Thus you protect them from damage.
Pick healthy parts only
It is for the best that you gather only one plant or separate individual plants from each other. Be careful during harvesting so you won’t damage other plants and the surrounding area. Always pick the healthiest ones and don’t pick all, so you won’t destroy the nature’s balance.
You should never pick up the whole plant if you don’t need it. If you just need a flower, tear the flower and don’t cut any twigs. When you gather roots, leave some roots in the ground.
When do you pick the whole plant?
We pick the whole plant and leaves usually just before flowering or during flowering when the number of active ingredients in the plant is the highest.
Cut it from 5-10 inches above the ground to facilitate her recovery. If it has several peaks; cut just one or two.
Never pull the whole plant with roots from the ground. If herbs are gentle (as Thyme); we gather all of their above-ground parts. Remove the stem and thicker twigs in case of a higher plant because it usually contains less active ingredients. If you are gathering leaves; collect only healthy grounded and middle leaves that aren’t eaten from insects and attacked by rust.
Pick flowers and inflorescence soon as they open, because they will have more active substances. Never gather half-withered blooms. Some flowers open at night or in extreme heat so pick them when they are open.
How to dry herbs for tea?
We usually store herbs that are dry. You should dry them as soon as possible, don’t wait. First, see what you have gathered. Discard everything that is damaged in any way without feeling guilty. Clean them from soil, dust, and bugs before drying.
Where to dry them?
You should dry herbs in a dry, clean and airy place, preferably in the attic. If you dry them outside; put them on the sun so they will be dry as soon as possible. This way, they will maintain a beautiful color, pleasant scent, and many active ingredients while they still capture the power of the sun.
Most of the plants are dried in the sun in one day. Don’t let them outside through the night or when it rains (avoid any moisture). Look for the unhealthy and damaged parts and remove them during the drying process.
Spread plants in a thin layer on a clean surface, wrapping paper for example. The drying process should be quick. Turn drying herbs or even replace the damp ground during drying. If your plants are properly dried, they shouldn’t have different colors from the fresh ones.
You can use vegetable boxes for drying them which can be placed one on another. You can also prepare boxes with mesh bottoms.
You should thoroughly wash roots before drying them but don’t soak them in water. Then cut them into slices and gather them on a string.
Hang the plant
Join whole plants in bunches and dry them hanging on strings with flowers facing down. Drying time depends on the climate and weather, and also varies from plant to plant. Properly dried plants can break nicely but do not disintegrate into dust.
Drying herbs in the stove or dryer
Plants can be dried with artificial heat too. You can dry them in the stove. They may also be dried in an oven at the lowest temperature stage with the open door. A microwave oven can be used but in this case, drying time is measured in minutes. They will maintain a distinct color if you follow this advice.
You can buy smaller dryers for fruits, vegetables, and herbs in the store. Carefully monitor the temperature when you use artificial heat. The temperature shouldn’t exceed 36° C when drying herbs. Roots and bark are dried at a temperature between 50 to 60° C.
What is the best way to store tea?
Store it in tea containers that are tightly closed and protected from light. The most suitable are colorful glass containers in green. You can store it in the closed cardboard and wooden (unpainted) box. Put them in a dry and dark place. Glue label on the container with the name and year of harvested plants.
Ungrounded stored herbs will prevent rapid evaporation or oxidation. Each drug is stored separately. Crush them and prepare tea mixtures in a small amount so it won’t get old.
How long is loose leaf tea good for?
You should use tea in one year from storing it. When a new season of herbs come you will gather fresh ones. It will lose its active substances after one year so it isn’t appropriate for drinking anymore. But you can use it in the bath or as a compress.
Save money and enjoy in nature
You have all the information to know how to make your own loose leaf tea that you can use a whole year for different purposes. Follow my simple rules from gathering, drying and storing herbs and you will drink the most quality home-made tea.
Nevertheless, you are picking plants as a cure or for enjoyment; you should always know what you are doing. Some of them are poisonous and harmful so be sure that you picked the right herb.
Are you not sure about picking the right herb? Contact me and I will help you.
Making your own loose leaf tea can be fun. You can learn about specific plants, enjoy nature, release stress and much more. You can also engage your kids in the process and have the most beautiful trip ever.
Did you ever ask yourself how much money you can save this way instead of buying tea throughout the year?