Home' The Backwoodsman Magazine : march-april 2017 Contents are unaware of the differences of
these fruits, here is a quick tip.
When you pick the fruit and the
white core goes with the fruit then
this is the blackberry family. If the
fruit comes off like a small cup,
leaving the white core with the plant
then this is of the raspberry variety.
For this tea, you use about 10 fresh
leaves and if the fruit is ripe, drop-
ping in a few crushed berries is a
Wild Mint Tea
There are dozens of different
mint plants growing wild in nature.
Learn the ones common to your area.
Some around me include - lemon
mint, cat mint, spearmint and bee
balm (also often called bergamot,
horsemint or monarda). One great
thing about a
mint plant is that
it has the tell-tale
square stem for
tion. Mint teas
have the widest
based on what
you find. Many
are very mild
while others are
strong and potent.
Some, like the lemon balm, have
calming effects and are nice in the
evening. Others are of the eye-
opening, ‘good morning’ type like
bergamot. When using mint for tea,
the leaves carry the most flavor. For
some with a decent-sized flower,
like bee balm, the fresh large flower
head is nice for a slightly different
Some other common wild teas
you may wish to research and try
include - Nettle Tea, Willow Bark tea,
Rose Hip tea, Staghorn Sumac tea,
Birch leaf tea and Red Clover tea.
Making The Tea
Preparation for a wild tea is much
like that if you made a regular
black/orange tea at home.
One key item to note when making
any tea is to prepare the
Do NOT boil the water
with the tea medium in it.
This basically cooks the
tea/leaf and very poor
results will occur (usually
a bitter taste or other
Best is to boil your
water separately, remove
it from the heat source
then pour it over the
tea/leaf medium to steep.
Five minutes of steeping for a cup
of tea is about normal or you can go
more/less depending on the strength
you wish to brew. As it steeps,
you’ll see the plant material change
from its glossy color to a duller,
Amount to use? Typically a
small palm full of the fresh ingredi-
ents is needed for a nice cup of tea.
This could be 5-6 flower heads or
6-10 leaves depending on the size.
Experiment with it a few times to get
the quantity that suits you best.
Some Final Thoughts
Here are some other wild tea
making lessons I have learned over
the years (sometimes I found out the
- Use a metal cup of steel, titanium
or enameled but avoid aluminum.
Some wild tea, when prepared in an
aluminum cup, will have some
strange flavors. I figure this is due to
the tea’s acidic nature interacting
with this particular metal.
- Always use fresh picked or dried
ingredients for the tea. Do not use
wilted or semi-dry, limp stuff. If it
has already noticeably wilted since
you picked it then re-pick some fresh
for your cup of tea and let the wilted
items dry completely.
If you find one or two that you
like then pick a few extra for drying
at home. It’s nice to have some loose
wild tea available during the months
you can’t pick it fresh. Once dried,
keep them in a marked, air-tight con-
tainer. To brew the dried medium,
use a generous tablespoon amount of
the dried whole or crumbled in a tea
ball or other filtering device. Or, if
you can hack it, simply pour the hot
water over the loose, dried tea...
cowboy style. While steeping the
leaves will fall to the bottom.
For a change-up, try mixing
some of your own blends. Mix-n -
match a few varieties. Most mints
do well when blended with other
teas. Mix stronger flavors with floral
or fruit ones. There are endless pos-
sibilities so have fun crafting your
Too hot outside and don’t want
a hot tea? Ok, just brew up a hot tea
then place the container in the shade
or cool stream and you’ll have a nice
refreshing ‘almost iced’ tea that helps
cools you down.
I drink almost all wild tea
straight-up with no cream or sugar.
Try it this way first a few times.
I hope you take some time to
research, find and brew-up some
wild teas soon. I would love to hear
from other BWM readers as to what
other wild teas they like.
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