Posted in Kafevend Blog

One of the effects of our warmer, more sustained summer this year would seem to be the advanced progress of  fruits and berries, both in our gardens and in the hedgerows. Most of us will at least have noticed ripening blackberries thanks to the doughty, not to mention prickly, bramble spreading through town and country alike. It's made us wonder whether we could use nature's bounty to make a brew.

Herbal or fruit teas are really tisanes, as they don't usually contain actual tea, i.e. the Camellia sinensis plant. Depending on the plant in question the leaves, fruit, flower or roots are used. In the case of blackberry tea it's the berries you'll be needing and we took a look at how to make it last autumn, knowing that this is an abundant fruit that most of us can go foraging for fairly readily. What about teas made from some other commonly found garden and hedgerow plants though?

Have you ever considered making rosehip tea? Rosehips appear at the end of the growing season, so if you can resist the urge to do some dead heading and leave the faded roses alone you'll have rosehips to use in due course. To make your tea, top and tail a few hips and cut them in half to remove the seeds. Then, simply steep them in a cup of boiling water for 10-15 minutes and add sugar or honey to taste. The infusion will be rich in vitamin C. Rosehips are also prized for their anti-inflammatory properties, which could benefit arthritis sufferers.

Another tisane to try is hawthorn tea. Also known as the May tree because that's the month in which it usually blossoms, the Hawthorn produces berries, or haws, in the autumn. People have been making and drinking hawthorn tea as a heart remedy for centuries. Depending on the time of year, the leaves, flowers or haws can be used for the drink. It's part of the rose family which accounts for the similarity between hips and haws and as with the rose hip tea, the simplest method is to steep some haws in boiling water. Obviously the longer they're left to steep, the stronger the brew and this one too has all the benefits associated with vitamin C.

If you're lucky enough to have apple trees in your garden, but your enthusiasm for apple crumble is beginning to wane, why not dice a couple up into a pan, add water, simmer for 10 minutes or so, then strain and add sugar as required for a delicious cup of apple tea. Alternatively, if you never ever tire of apple crumble you can just use left over apple peel from the next one you make; if your apples are rosy you'll end up with a delicate pink drink to boot. Apples work well with spices, so it's worth experimenting with the addition of cinnamon, cloves and ginger. As well as tasting good hot, it's also refreshing as an iced drink, should we be fortunate enough to experience an Indian summer.

Rhubarb tea is worth the consideration of anyone trying to work their way through a glut. Use 1 cup of rhubarb, sliced into 1 inch chunks, to 1 cup of water and enough sugar to counteract that tart taste. Then simmer for half an hour before straining.

We hope we've whetted your appetite for these healthy autumn inspired teas. Have fun foraging!

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