Spring Teas – Spearmint
Thought to be the “mint” in the Bible, spearmint is a species of mint that grows throughout North America, Europe, Africa and parts of Asia. The natural hybrid formed from spearmint and water mint is peppermint. Like most mints, spearmint has a variety of culinary, medicinal and practical uses. The leaf, fresh or dried, is used to flavor beverages, most notably the mint julep cocktail and the sweet tea enjoyed in summer in the southern U.S. Spearmint is also tinctured and used to make a flavoring extract for baked goods and beverages. The dried leaf is also a common ingredient in tea blends and is used to season foods, especially Middle Eastern dishes. Powdered spearmint is used to make a variety of cosmetic preparations, as well as herbal toothpaste, tooth powder and mouthwash.
A Bit of History
The hot-blooded hibiscus tree is of the mallow family – a relative of the marshmallow plant. Hibiscus originated in lands close to the Equator where explorers discovered and brought it to Europe and other parts of the world. More than a beautiful flower, the hibiscus is high in Vitamin C and antioxidants and enjoyed for its medicinal qualities as well as its flavor. To make hibiscus tea, just add a few teaspoons to taste to a teapot, fill with boiling water, and let sit for four or five minutes. You can also use hibiscus in a variety of cold drinks and cocktails. It pairs well with spearmint and lemon, among other flavors. Have extra flowers? Why not use them in recipes and decorations?