I’ve been making a lot of tea these days…
The CDC has been recommending drinking lots of liquids to relieve coronavirus symptoms, but let’s be honest, any reason is a good excuse to make tea!
My go-to right now is Ginger-Turmeric-Lemongrass tea. It takes a little bit of effort, but the end result is more than worth it! You can start ginger and turmeric plants from rhizomes purchased at the grocery store, and lemongrass from seed, cuttings, or division from a parent plant. All three grow well in hot humid climates.
To Make Ginger-Turmeric-Lemongrass Tea:
• Thinly slice or grate ginger and turmeric (about 1/2 a teaspoon of each per 2 cups of water)
• Rinse and roughly chop 2 or 3 lemongrass stalks
• Combine the ginger and turmeric with water in a saucepan
• Bring to a boil and gently simmer for 5 to 10 minutes
• Strain and serve (try adding honey and a wedge of lemon or orange)
For a quick cup of tea I reach for Holy Basil, Mint, Rosemary, and Thyme! There are numerous other herbs and flowers that can be used to make tea, but these are my favorites. Holy Basil prefers a sunny spot with moist, well drained soil. Mint grows well in hot and humid weather- it likes sun and some shade. Rosemary and Thyme both grow best in hot, dry conditions- give them sun and good-draining soil.
To Make Herbal Tea:
• Cut and rinse fresh leaves or a sprig from your herb(s) of choice
• Add boiling water to a mug with the fresh herb cutting
• Steep for 5 minutes
• Strain and serve (try adding honey and a wedge of citrus, or infusing cold tea with apple or peach slices)
I’d be remiss to not mention that there are imbibable plants and trees that are native to Florida that you may also want to give a try: redroot, sassafras, spicebush, and sumac! Check out this blog for more information: https://blogs.ifas.ufl.edu/seminoleco/2018/05/10/native-tea/
Happy gardening… and always make Thyme for tea!
By UF IFAS Extension Hernando County Master Gardener Augusta Salzman
Photos by Augusta Salzman