Beyond Instant: Grow Your Own Iced Tea

teafeature1Lemon balm is a perennial herb that you can find growing naturally in nature, buy at a store, and grow at home. A lot of the time, it grows so quickly that you’ll soon have more lemon balm than you know what to do with. This homemade iced tea recipe will help you put it to good use!

Ingredients:
4 handfuls lemon balm leaves
6 cups of water
honey, to taste
ice
lemon slices for garnish

Directions:
1. Pick your lemon balm leaves from your plant. (If you are collecting leaves from the wild, make sure you get them from an area that wasn’t sprayed with pesticides.)

2. Clean your lemon balm in the sink, and roughly chop the leaves.

3. Bring 6 cups of water to a boil. Once it is boiling, turn off the heat, and add your leaves.

4. Let the tea steep for a minimum of 30 minutes. The longer the leaves steep, the more flavorful the tea becomes.

5. Once you have finished letting your tea leaves steep, strain your tea into a pitcher to get rid of the leaves. If the tea still seems too warm, refrigerate until it is cool. Then pour yourself a glass, add honey, top with ice, and enjoy!

Tips:
You can dry your lemon balm leaves to use in hot tea during the cooler months. Just cut the stalks of the plant, wash them, tie them together, and hang them upside down. Once they are completely dry, you can pick off the leaves, and store them in an airtight container until you are ready to use them. If you want to add some more flavor and color to your tea, you can put 1 or 2 green tea bags in your tea for 5 minutes while the leaves are steeping. Prefer mint tea instead? Just follow this recipe, but cut the amount of lemon balm leaves to 2 handfuls, and add 2 handfuls of mint leaves.