Thursday, June 20, 2013
Today I did something I felt was actually blog worthy, at least in the homesteading world. I made Strawberry Leaf Tea. A project that made me just a little bit nervous.
Strawberry tea, like other berry teas has many reported health benefits, high in vitamin C, it is used to calm upset stomachs and digestive issues. As a nurse I know that many of the modern medicines used today began as herbal remedies so I am always interested in learning about alternatives from nature.
When I moved from my old house I carefully dug up all of my strawberry plants that were just beginning to bloom and moved them to the new raised beds I had set up in my new location and hoped that they would survive the transplant. They did amazingly well and produced a decent crop of berries. Here in Florida the dog days of summer are just beginning to set in and I believe the plants are done producing any more fruit but the leaves were still green and thriving so I decided to try something I came across somewhere along the way, making tea from the leaves of the plant. Before I started I tried to find information online about how best to proceed but there was surprisingly little out there but just enough to get me through the process.
I picked the leaves and washed them carefully removing all of the stems. I made sure to pull out any that looked to be wilting or damaged as I had read that as the leaves begin to decompose they become toxic to humans and can cause nausea and cramping, the part that worried me.
Then I set them on my dehydrator racks to dry out. I have an old Excalibur Dehydrator that I bought at a yard sale over 20 years ago that is still going strong.
Anxious to see how the tea might turn out I decided to dry and handful of leaves in the microwave. Since I
do not have a tea infuser I improvised by tying the leaves up in a thin cotton dish towel ( I use these for cheese and yogurt making too) and pouring boiling water from the tea kettle over to create and infusion.
Nothing I found online told me how long to leave the leaves infusing so I used my best judgement and decided that this pale green color was just about right. I worried that the tea might be very bitter but it was surprisingly pleasant almost citrus like. I sweetened it with a little honey and enjoyed the whole cup. It has been a little over one half hour since I drank it and I am experiencing no bad side effects so I suppose I will live and will definitely be drinking more of this unique tea blend.