Tea is good for you. That’s been established a long time ago, ancient China long to be a bit more precise. It’s quite baffling why not everyone drinks it regularly. Those who appreciate it, probably has a lot of tea in their pantry. That’s a good thing really. In fact, tea is one of those things you should have in your prepper pantry as it has a pretty long shelf life. Plus, the health benefits are through the roof. And in case your stock runs out, don’t worry too much. You can always make homemade herbal tea blends to satisfy your craving.
By knowing the basics on how to make your own herbal tea blends, you can have tea anytime you want. As long as you have hot water, a tea pot, and fresh herbs and other plants then you’re good to go. You can even experiment on different combinations to make your own unique blend.
But as they say, too much of a good thing is bad for you. Like everything else, too much tea can have side effects.
What is too much tea, you ask? According to Healthline, more than three to four cups of iced tea a day may be bad for some people. Until further scientific proof is presented, just drink two to three cups each day to be on the safe side.
Don’t be like the Little Rock, Arkansas man who almost died in 2014 after downing 16 cups daily of iced black tea he brewed at home. The then 56-year-old had more than four times the normal level of creatinine in his system and needed to undergo dialysis for kidney failure.
Don’t let what happened to him keep you from making homemade herbal tea blends, though. Just be smart. And besides, the good far outweighs the bad.
How to Make Homemade Herbal Tea Blends
As mentioned, you can try any herb you want but if you have no to little idea what you’re doing, you could learn a thing or two from Spruce Eats.
Dry Your Herbs
It’s perfectly okay to use fresh herbs to make your tea blends. However, the amount of herbs is two or three times more than if you use dried ones. Using fresh herbs is easy and quick. Plus, you can steep your herbs anytime you want. If you want to store your tea, though, it’s better to dry the herbs first.
There are four main ways to dry your herbs. The first and most common method is to hang and dry them indoors in a dry area. This works well for chamomile, lavender, thyme and other plants that have little moisture content. You want less moisture and proper airflow to avoid mold to develop, which is why you should bundle them too thick.
Use twine or hemp rope to tie small bundles of herbs at the end of their stems. Hang them in an open space or near a window to get a bit of sun. The herbs will dry up in a few days or weeks depending on where you hang them and how thick you made them.
Screw some hooks on to your hanging cabinet or shelf or what-have-yous then hang the herb bundles using twine. If you want something more appealing to the eyes, use something like the decorative wooden herb dryer from Nord Eagle. The 16 x 8-inch plaque comes with 5 hooks for your herbs and another two on top for securing it to your wall. Forty inches of gardener’s twine are included in each purchase.
The herbs are ready for your homemade tea blends if they look and feel dry. That means there are no more dark spots and they crumble when touched. If you see white spots, throw them out and start over. These are molds and you don’t want them in your tea.
Another popular way of drying herbs is to dry them under the sun. Simply place the herbs on drying racks like the one pictured above by Casolly. The herb drying rack is made of steel wire rings and nylon mesh to allow airflow. This one measures three feet high and comes with four layers.
Each layer has its own zipper that is designed in a way that you don’t bother the contents that much when you need to do some adjustments. When not in use, the mesh rack can be easily folded for storing. It also comes with a pair of garden scissors.
You can hang the rack indoors or outdoors. The drying process is faster if you choose to hang your rack under the sun. Some herbs like thyme and oregano can be dried completely in just one day as long as you keep them under direct sunlight.
If you have an oven at home, you can also use it to dry your herbs. This process is also relatively easy. All you have to do is to clean your herbs and place them on a rack or cookie sheet then place inside your oven.
Leave the oven door a bit open as you bake the herbs at the lowest setting, which is ideally lower than 190 degrees Fahrenheit. Check the herbs regularly to make sure they don’t get burned. They may need to be flipped.
Using A Dehydrator
The other option is to use a dehydrator. If you’re too eager to try your homemade tea blends, this is the drying method for you. A dehydrator is also useful if you have too much herbs to harvest that you can’t dry everything indoors for lack of space.
The Hamilton Beach Weston Pro Series Dehydrator is a single zone dehydrator with a 160-liter capacity. That’s 24 trays in all, which is a good thing if you love drying your food. In fact, this is something all preppers should have as it helps them stock food for the long run.
This dehydrator is made of steel alloy and comes with rear wall LED lights. The digital temperature control and timer both has automatic shut off features.
First, wash your herbs with water then pat them dry. Arrange them in a single layer on the rack before putting it inside your dehydrator. Make sure to remove the larger leaves and flowers heads from the stems first.
Set the dehydrator to low, which should be somewhere between 95 and 125 degrees Fahrenheit. Check the herbs regularly.
Storing the Dried Herbs
Once you’re done with the drying process, you’ll likely have plenty of dried herbs. It’s unlikely that you’ll use up everything in just a day or two (and also unsafe). You have to store them properly for future use.
Glass jars are the best containers for your dried herbs. Don’t use plastic jars as much as possible as they may affect the taste of your tea. Mother Earth News suggests using Mason jars with plastic lids. Mason jars are readily available. In fact, the popular Ball Mason Jars are sold individually or by set over at Amazon. They even have sets that include the BPA-free plastic lids.
The Kitchn prefers ceramic or tin containers to keep the light out. The ceramic food storage jar from 77L is perfect for storing different dried foods, including dried herbs for your favorite tea. The ceramic body keeps the light out while the bamboo lid is airtight.
If you’re going with glass jars, store them in a drawer, dark cupboard, or any place that’s dry and will not be exposed to light. Keep it away from other foods or anything with odor so your homemade herbal tea blends will not absorb them.
Avoid crushing your dried herbs similar to how you get them from the store aisles. The herbs keep their taste better if you store the whole leaves in your airtight containers.
Homemade Herbal Tea Blends To Try
You can mix and match your dried herbs to make the best tasting homemade herbal tea blends you can ever drink. Or you can make a blend that’s not too, uhmm, tea-rrific. The exciting thing about DIY herbal teas is that you can let your imagination go wild. If you find a unique tea blend, you can market it yourself and earn from something you love doing… and drinking.
For now, we’ll show you some homemade herbal tea blends that we found and we think are worth your taste palette.
Peppermint Herbal Tea
People suffering from digestive issues or irritable bowel syndrome will want to sip peppermint herbal tea, courtesy of Eating Well, to soothe their stomachs. To make it, simply steep 1 teaspoon dried peppermint, 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, and 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds in 1 cup boiling water. Wait 15 minutes before straining. Use cheesecloth or muslin to separate the herbs from your drink.
Cheesecloth is pretty easy to find. They’re also affordable so you should have some in your pantry, especially if you plan on making your own cheese, yogurt and fruitcake. Survivalists also love cheesecloth as it has many alternative uses. It can be an emergency bandage for wounds, a dust mask, a water filter, or a coffee filter, among other things. Regency Wraps makes unbleached cheesecloth that’s 100% cotton. They’re perfect for straining herbal teas.
Muslin is another useful fabric. Aside from straining tea and coffee, it is also used in making cheese and jam, squeezing citrus, for cleaning, and for making clothes, of course. Like the Regency Wraps cheesecloth, muslin fabric from AK Trading Co. is unbleached and made of 100% cotton.
ImmuniTea Wellness Herbal Tea
Herbal teas are great for the body’s immune system, especially if you use the right herbs. For your Immunity-boosting tea, codenamed ImmuniTea and care of Real Life Outlaw, you’ll need equal amounts of the following organic ingredients:
Chamomile, an anti-inflammatory herb, is effective against bacterial infections, colds, and stomach issues. It’s also known for its calming effect. Elderberries for your antioxidants and vitamins A, B, and C fix. These are great against coughs, colds, and flu along with viral and bacterial infections.
Elderflowers are also needed if you want to be immune to allergies and fevers. It’s also great for keeping your sinuses clear. Astralagus, meanwhile, is another immune-boosting herb that works well against common colds.
Rose hips are high in vitamin A and C. In fact, it has 50% more of the latter than oranges. Finally, you’ll need Echinacea purpurea, also known as eastern purple coneflower or simply purple coneflower. This sunflower relative supposedly stimulates the immune system though further study is necessary before we jump into conclusions.
Mix all these ingredients in your airtight container and store properly. Every time you need a boost of immunity, simply steep 1 tablespoon of this homemade herbal tea blend in 1 cup of hot water for 20 minutes. Strain then add stevia or raw honey to sweeten the tea a bit and make it even healthier.
As mentioned, you can make herbal teas using fresh herbs. The same can be said with ginger. This herb has natural anti-inflammatory qualities, which is the main reason why it’s been a medicinal plant since the time of the ancient Chinese.
Ginger is effective in treating nausea, morning sickness, muscle pain, and osteoarthritis. It also helps keep blood sugar level low, improve brain function, treat infections, and prevent cancer.
To make this ginger tea blend by Mind Body Green, peel and grate a piece of ginger. Infuse the ginger with 2 cups of filtered water. You can play around with your ginger tea and add other ingredients. Some of the proven ones include chamomile flowers, fresh mint leaves, cayenne pepper, and a cinnamon stick. Finally, add 1 tablespoon of raw honey or pure maple syrup. You can also squeeze in 1/2 of a lemon.
Autumn Tonic Tea
The Autumn Tonic Tea blend by Natural Herbal Living combines eight different herbs to create one amazingly healthy herbal tea blend. The nutrient-rich ingredients in particular are four parts nettle leaves, which contain numerous vitamins and minerals, and 3 parts spearmint, an herb that’s great for the digestive system.
You also need 3 parts lemon balm (stress and anxiety), and two parts each of mullein leaf (colds, coughs, and respiratory issues), dandelion leaf and root and red clover blossoms (purifies blood).
Finally, add 1 part rose hips and 1 part ginger root. The latter needs to be dried, cut and sifted before adding to your homemade tea blend. After combining all your ingredients, store in a glass jar and place in a cool dry place.
To prepare your healthy drink, pour 4 cups of boiling water over the tea blend and let it steep for at least 15 minutes. It will taste even better if you steep it for up to 8 hours. Once done, strain, strain the herbs out using the aforementioned straining materials. You can also use the Finum Brewing Basket to make your tea.
The reusable brewing basket is made of stainless steel micro-mesh and a BPA-free frame that can withstand heat. It comes with lid to keep the contents warm as long as possible.
You can add raw honey to your homemade herbal tea to make it sweeter. Nature Nate’s 100% Pure Raw & Unfiltered Honey is a great addition to your prepper pantry as it adds sweetness to everything, particularly herbal teas.
Follow Gentleman Pirate Club for more yummy and healthy recipes. Read all the interesting features as you partake on your wonderful homemade herbal tea blends.