Making your own tea blend.

We are at the prime time of year for gathering young fresh spring time leaves for drying and creating our own tea blends.

The following is a simple but effective way of processing nettle leaves to make your own nutritious and tasty green tea dry store – collected on mass now this can see you through to the following spring without having to resort to a single Tetley’s …nice as they are.

The same method can be used to make any number of safe edible leaves into tea blends; bramble, raspberry and ground ivy to name just a few of the commonly available woodland species. Once you have a dry store of ingredients you can have ‘fun’ mixing them up to customise your own perfect blend!

First its time to go get stung. Collect as many of the youngest, freshest nettle tops you can locate. A couple of carrier bags will dry and crumble down to give you roughly 2 swing top Kilner jars of tea. Give the nettles or other leaves a good wash in cold water and then drain through a colander.

1Washing leaves is essential to ensure minimum possible contaminants .

Lay the leaves out on a towel to soak up the excess water over night. Replace the towel the following morning with a dry one and leave them another 24 hours. You can build your own special herb drying racks if needed at very little expense.

2Nettle leaves top, Lesser celandine bottom left and Hedge garlic bottom right.

The leaves should be dry to the touch by now but still contain a lot of moisture which needs to be removed. Either lay them out on paper in an airing cupboard or if time is tight you can force dry the leaves in a pan on a radiator. You could of course force dry them in an oven set low or even use a dehydrator if you have one.

3Nettle leaves being force dried in a pan over a heater set low.

Once your leaves can literally be crunched and crumbled between your fingers transfer them to a sieve and work them through aggressively with your fingers – no stings by now.

4Dry nettles being crumbled through sieve to remove any fibrous parts.

Keep crumbling the leaves collecting all the fine bits that escape the sieve and discarding the stringy, fibrous stems.

5Dried nettle leaf separated from tougher fibrous stems and stalks.

Transfer your collected dried nettle leaf tea into an air tight container and use within a year!

6Nettle leaf loose tea stored in air tight Kilner jar

There are many woodland teas and coffees to be enjoyed each with their own preparation methods, unique flavours and heath benefits so get out there and get them while the getting is good!

7Wild teas: nettle, hawthorn, yarrow flower, mint and acorn coffee left to right.

As usual feel free to share your experiences on our Facebook page where we continually add recipes, articles and blogs on a huge range of bushcraft and outdoor/ wilderness living skills!

Adam Logan.

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