My maternal grandparents were all about food as medicine. They ate all sorts of things that were good for them. My grandpa had prostate cancer. As part of his rehabilitation, he used to eat the kernels from apricots. They look a lot like almonds, and because they had an almond tree, I mistakenly picked one up one day. Heavens, it tasted AWFUL! They are incredibly bitter. But that bitterness you see, is what is so important about them. Apricot kernels contain the tiniest amounts of arsenic, which is believed to be helpful in fighting cancer. Apricot kernels or not, my grandpa beat that cancer and it never came back. They used to have wheat germ on their breakfast cereal (a habit I came to appreciate, in fact, for flavour) and I remember when my grandma introduced seaweed into their diets, decades before Japanese food became popular in Australia. She introduced me to herbal tea and used to make fresh herbal teas too. I remember, one day when I was very young, she made a pot of violet tea, with fresh violet leaves from the garden. I liked it immensely. The flavour you get in a fresh herbal tea is far superior to anything you could get from a teabag. Being home ill, I’ve been drinking a lot of tea, and increasing my herbal intake to makes sure I’m not overdoing the diuretics. Well I have run through most of my herbals, and feel bad buying cartons of peppermint tea, packaged several times over, grown in some place far away, and shipped via some other distant place. So I had been drawn to the idea of drying bulk locally grown peppermint and infusing it as is in a mug of hot water. But I bought a lovely bunch of chocolate mint from Windellama Organics at the market last week. It provided the perfect opportunity to merely make tea from the fresh herb. To give the drink a little more sophistication, it’s nice to use a couple of different herbs. I used the same principle for a lemon tea, too.
Fresh peppermint tea
Chocolate mint is delicious (also great in a range of desserts) but you can use another kind, whatever you have available. This would work particularly well with apple mint, lemon mint, or even the Australian native, round mint.
|4-6||leaves on the stalk||mint|
|4-6||leaves on the stalk||chocolate mint|
Place the leaves in your favourite tea cup, pour over boiling water and infuse till cool enough to drink. Enjoy. You should be able to use the leaves again for a few more cups, just add more water.
Fresh lemon tea
Sometimes I like to have a slice of lemon in hot water, it feels very detoxifying. I grow lemon verbena on my windowsill, but it struggles in the cold. I found a lovely bunch at the market a few weeks ago that I made lots of tea with. Sadly, I haven’t seen it since. This is a great way to use the tough tips of fresh lemongrass that you can’t cook with. I have three ingredients down for this tea, but if you can grab fresh lemon myrtle leaves, one or two of those would make a lovely addition too.
|5||centimetre length||tips of lemongrass|
|4||leaves on the stem||lemon balm|
Place ingredients in your favourite mug. Fill with boiled water and infuse till cool enough to drink.