As the weather is getting warmer, my husband and I have some favorite drinks to enjoy in the summer months. This morning’s adventure found me making mint tea for my husband. While I have never been a fan of this tea, my husband enjoys it very much so I thought it might be a nice surprise for him when he gets home after a long day of work.
It is rather simple to make, actually. I have a big…and I mean big…patch of tea by our garage. If you are familiar with mint tea, you know it spreads like mad! We purchased the house we currently live in about 3 years ago, and the previous owners already had this tea patch. We simply inherited it. And of course, my husband was thrilled!
To begin, snip some sprigs of mint. I usually snip about halfway down the stem. I do not think the leaves closer to the bottom of the plant are as nice as the younger ones near the top.
Once you have a nice big pile, you can start pulling the leaves off. Personally, I like to start at the bottom and work my way up. When you get to the top, do not worry about picking each small leaf off of the stem. Just pinch the entire top off and call it a day. That tiny bit of stem is not going to hurt anything!
As you are pulling leaves off stems, put the leaves into a quart storage bag. This is how I measure my leaves. Once you have a bag that is jammed full, you can dispose of your stems however you’d like.
Next, you are going to need to dig out a crock pot. Some people boil their tea leaves, and that is also a great method. I am a “set it and forget it” kind of girl, so using a slow cooker just suits me better. I put two quarts of water into my crock pot and then dumped the bag of leaves on top. If you want to rinse off your leaves in a strainer first, that is perfectly fine. I did not, because the tea is going to be strained before putting it in jars anyway.
Press the leaves into the water as best you can. Many of them are still going to be floating on top, and that is nothing to fret over. Turn your slow cooker to high and set the timer for two hours. You will want to stir the leaves around a little about every thirty minutes.
When the timer goes off, many of the leaves will be dark and wilted. Carefully fish the leaves out of the water. I used a wooden spoon and pressed the leaves up against the side to remove the excess water. You can then dispose of the leaves how you choose. We have buckets by the sink that get taken out to our compost bin each evening, so that’s where I placed mine.
Once all the leaves are removed, you will need a large bowl, strainer, a paper towel or coffee filter, and a ladle or measuring cup. Place the paper towel or coffee filter in the bottom of the strainer. (Either work fine. I use paper towels because we have a Keurig machine and do not use coffee filters.) Slowly pour your tea through the strainer, making sure that no liquid gets around the paper towel.
Once all of your liquid is strained into the large bowl, you can add sugar. I used a quarter cup of just plain white sugar, and that suits my husband’s taste buds. You can adjust this however you need. I would advise beginning with a smaller amount of sugar if you aren’t sure. You can always add more, but you can’t take any out! If you are feeling particularly adventurous, you could try different sweeteners, such as raw sugar, stevia, honey, or even real maple syrup!
The only thing left to do is leave it cool. I let the tea sit on the counter for as long as it takes until the tea is about room temperature.
I store mine in pint mason jars, simply because they fit better in our refrigerator and it is easy for my husband to just grab one when he wants a drink!
So there you have it! I hope you find this helpful! I would love to hear about your tea making experiences!