Today is National Tea Day so I was privileged to be asked to review the Book Practical Herbs 1 written by herbalist Henriette Kress. There are so many beneficial and healing herbal recipes that I had to read the book twice over to decide which ones to make. Seeing as though I am especially partial to freshly made teas I decided to go with a rose petal tea. A lot of Henriette’s recipes are very simple to make with as little as two or three ingredients. She goes into great depth starting with the basics for picking and drying herbs, instructions even the beginner herbalist will be able to follow. She gives great insight into harvesting and processing your own herbs as well as inspiring yet simple recipes for making and using herbal teas, herbal oils and salves, tinctures, vinegars and syrups. She outlines different uses for each as well as the do’s and dont’s.
The book is very easily laid out and all her instructions are very easy to follow. I found the three different ways in making tea from boiling water to cold infusions very helpful. I always used to over brew my tea and this is my most successful petal tea to date. If you over brew it the tea can taste bitter so after a simple 10 minutes you have the most perfect tea.
When I think of spring I think of the smell of sweet flowers so rose petal tea was an ideal choice, with a couple of variations. Rose petals are mood enhancing and calming with it’s perfume taste as well as being good for the stomach. Rose petals can be used in teas, pictures, syrups, elixirs, honeys as well as a lovely flower essence to add aroma to your house. Henriette also mentions rose petal use for menstrual irritability. A simple cup of rose tea or rose bath can help no end!
You can make this tea with fresh or dried Rose petals. However when using fresh petals, they must come from the plants free of pesticides. So please don’t use petals from a florist as these are usually sprayed with pesticides and fertilisers. When buying from a garden centre please check that they haven’t sprayed the roses as some garden centres use them to enhance growth. The best way is to plant them yourself and use the petals when flowering. I recommend making this tea with fresh petals as it enhances the flavour. Even though I dry my own fresh petals it still gives the rose petal tea a more natural fresh flavour then bought ones.
To dry the petals I use my dehydrator. If, like me, you like natural dried fruits and petals then a dehydrator is invaluable. When drying fruits to add to your granola you know there is no added sugar and the fruits taste true to the fruity taste. And the same with petals. You can taste the fragrance in the tea compared to bought dried petals and the satisfaction you get from drinking the petals you have grown and dried yourself makes it all worthwhile.
Henriette goes into great detail the different ways of drying herbs. You can flat dry the petals on racks at 40ºC over a number of days or place them in your drying cabinet to speed up the drying process. You can also dry them in the oven at 50ºC for 2-4 hours, however with an older oven the petals may burn so this is not ideal for older ovens. But to me the quickest and simplest way is a dehydrator set to low.
When making the tea crush the petals to release the perfume. Add to your cup or teapot and leave to infuse in boiling water for no more than 10 minutes. Then strain the liquid before drinking. I like to serve mine with some floating petals to add to the occasion. For a variation on rose petal tea add some crushed mint leaves to add some zing. Or for a more flowery version add some crushed hibiscus flowers.
Don’t throw away your remaining petals as there are several other great rose petal recipes in this book: rose petal vinegar, rose petal vodka (love the sound of that!) and rose honey paste. Then when your day is done, you can have a de-stressing rose petal bath. And, relax.
Rose Petal Tea
- 1 teaspoon dried rose petals or 2 teaspoons crushed fresh petals
- 1 cup/250ml boiling water
- If drying fresh petals, use heavily scented petals. Place in a dehydrator or oven at 50ºC for 3-4 hours until dry. Crush the petals and store in an airtight container until required.
- Pour boiling water over the petals and steep for 10 minutes.
- Strain the liquid into a teacup. Drink up to 3 cups per day.
Variations: For refreshing rose mint tea add ½ teaspoon dried mint. For hibiscus rose tea add ½ teaspoon dried crushed hibiscus flowers.