Friday, July 17, 2015

Homemade Herbal Infusion

I'm sure all of you have tried an herbal infusion from dried herbs (also known as herbal "tea").  But, did you know that you can make an infusion from fresh herbs, found right in your own yard?  I will demonstrate how to do this, and believe me, it is so easy you'll want to harvest a different herb every day to try it out!

Today, I harvested a few stalks of Wild Bee Balm.  I found a patch of it out near the aspen grove on the side of our house just the other day... it is an edible/ medicinal herb and has been used by Native American tribes to treat colds and the flu- it is also related to Thyme, so it is a spicy herb.  I ate a leaf raw and it was quite spicy on my tongue!  If you eat it raw, make sure you mix it with other greens in a salad.  This is definitely not an herb you want to eat a lot of by itself.  But, in an infusion, it is much more mild; very fragrant and delicious!

Wild Bee Balm, freshly harvested

To check out other pictures of Wild Bee Balm (or other edibles), check out this website!  Edible Wild Foods is a great place to start when choosing herbs to use in teas or recipes...  Lots of great information!!

Wild Bee Balm, ready to infuse

Since I am using only the leaves and flowers of Wild Bee Balm to make my infusion, I have stripped the stems of all infusible parts and washed them of any debris or creepy crawlies :)  Since I am only using the soft parts of the plant, I will do a quick 10-15 minute steep in boiling water.  Just heat your filtered water to boiling (less is better, so you can always dilute the finished infusion to your taste). Then, take the infusion pot off heat and add your herb.  Cover with a lid and let it sit, steeping, for 10-15 minutes.  (If I were using a "harder" part of the plant, like the root or bark, I would make a decoction by simmering the plant material for the allotted time- anywhere from 10-30 minutes, depending on the herb).

Wild Bee Balm

When your infusion is done steeping, just filter off the herb with a mesh strainer or cheesecloth and enjoy!  I sweetened my infusion with a bit of honey, since Wild Bee Balm is a bit spicy and it was delish!  If your infusion is a bit too strong for your taste, just dilute with hot water until it is to your liking.  

A cuppa homemade herbal infusion

Enjoy your homemade concoction and know that your body thanks you!

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