Move over leafy greens, the Vegepod has gone all high tea! I’m calling it the TEAPOD (a play on words with regards to the coffee pods). But hey, at least there are no landfill issues with this type of cuppa and pod.
We all love our fresh greens, vegetables and herbs but have you thought about growing your own cuppa?
Growing your own cuppa is a great way to reduce waste by eliminating packaging, grow something fresh, organic and even a bit unusual.
Claire’s Tea Chest of Herbs to Showcase:
1. Chamomile: This flowering annual herb produces the most delightful small white daisy-like flowers. It is these flowers that are picked, dried and used to make the very popular chamomile tea.
2. Lemon & Lime Balm: These soft leafed perennial herbs that have a strong delightful lemon or lime flavour. The bees love it too when in its flower, hence the common name ‘bee balm’.
3. Mint: Australian native, peppermint, Egyptian, spearmint, Moroccan, ginger, chocolate, garden. All the Mentha species can be used to make a tea. They are reputedly great for relieving nausea. Keep plants in check, as they can spread and take over an area very quickly, squeezing out other plants growing alongside them.
4. Pineapple Sage: The Pineapple sage is a perennial edible salvia that has the most delicious pineapple flavoured foliage. The striking red flowers are also edible.
5. Lemon and Lime Verbena: This tough woody perennial grows to around 1m but can be easily kept down in height via pruning. The foliage has a strong lemon/lime flavour. The delicate sprays of white flowers are also edible.
6. Lemongrass: Perennial lemon flavoured grass. Cut right back each season to encourage fresh new growth. All parts can be used for tea.
7. Lemon and Aniseed Myrtle: Get your bush tucker on with these two Australian native beauties. The foliage of these two will give either a lemon or aniseed flavour depending on choice.
8. Parsley: Parsley may very well be great as a garnish, in tabouli and added to scrambled eggs, but it also makes a refreshing tea, which is reputedly good for digestion and muscle spasms. All parts of the plant can be used for tea.
9. Thyme: Lemon thyme is the most popular for tea making and adding a dash of honey makes it a delight to drink hot or cold.
10. Feverfew: It is the flowers of this herb that are often used to make a therapeutic tea reputedly good for reducing the symptoms of headaches and more.
11. Nettle: The foliage although quite painful to touch (wear gloves when handling) loses all stinging capacity once steeped in boiling water.
More Herby Choices:
Yarrow, sage, meadowsweet, strawberry leaf, brahmi herb, jasmine, rose, bergamot, cinnamon, liquorice root, hibiscus, Echinacea, elderberry, raspberry leaf, dandelion root the list goes on. Ginger and turmeric can also be grown. In the Pod, the rhizomes and tubers are safe from gnawing rats and mice.
* Note: The true tea plant is Camellia sinensis and really is a shrub and maybe a bit large for the Vegepod but it can be pruned down to size.
** You may want to pretty up your Pod by adding a few edible flowers, which will also look nice accompanying your cup of tea and or added to the teas and biscuits and cakes.
When consuming any herbal teas and plants for medicinal purposes, keep in mind it is a must to check in with your doctor beforehand.
How to harvest and use your herbs as a tea
You can either use your tea plants fresh or dry them on a drying rack or in the oven, to utilise them at a later date. Whether using your herbs fresh or dried you can use a tea ball to get your tea plants flavours infusing throughout your boiling water. Use in a teacup or add to a teapot for more than one cuppa. It’s that simple.
A huge thanks to Claire Bickle from claire-bickle.com for writing this guest blog on herb growing! Also, keep an eye out - next week Claire is publishing Vegepod's guest blog on her site - 'How to Start a Community Garden With Vegepod'. Happy Podding!