The summer solstice has finally arrived, lagging a few weeks behind the blazing heat this year. The good news is that the abundant sunshine and warmth have the garden in full bloom ahead of schedule. The small storage space where my water heater lives is doing double duty as an herb drying cabinet and is already full of fragrant bundles of chamomile, mint, rosemary, thyme, and sage.
To celebrate the official arrival of summer, I’ve brewed up a pitcher of fresh herbal iced tea. There’s something wonderfully magical about being able to walk through your own garden and pick fresh ingredients to suit your own tastes. Since I can’t share a glass with you, I can at least share my recipe. Have a blessed Solstice and wonderful summer!
1/4 cup fresh chamomile flowers
1 small sprig peppermint
3 leaves lemon balm
1 stevia leaf
Bring two cups of water to a boil. Rinse other ingredients in cold running water and place in a large mug or bowl. Cover with boiling water and let steep at least ten minutes. Strain the tea and dilute with additional cold water until desired taste is obtained. This tea will be light with lots of floral notes punctuated by the cool mint and a hint of citrus flavor.
A note on sweetness: You can add additional stevia leaves if you prefer a sweeter tea or use a stevia based sweetener. If you prefer cane sugar, you can add to taste while the tea is still hot (or use a simple syrup to sweeten). Honey can also be used.