hawthorn blossom tea
Tea is a national institution. But how about swapping your morning brew of English Breakfast tea for something that truly warms the heart?
In late Spring, Hawthorn, which features in every hedge and verge across the land, comes into bloom and is covered in delicate white and blush buds and flowers that have a distinctly sweet aroma. Hawthorn is a bit of a wonder plant - you can forage it all and it is packed with health benefits. In the Autumn, collect the bright red berries to make syrup and jelly; in the Spring, collect the flowers, buds and young leaves as well to sprinkle in salads, on cakes, anywhere you wish...the buds in particular are a treat and have a pea-like taste.
Hawthorn blossom, leaves and berries have been used for centuries as a tonic for the heart, helping with irregular heart beats, tiredness associated with poor heart function, and lowering of blood pressure. They also aid the entire circulatory system. What's more Hawthorn can help emotional well-being, alleviating anxiety and installing a sense of calm. A real wonder plant.
But back to tea. The blossom itself can be made into a delicious and healthy tea in two ways - either fresh or dried. Fresh tea is easy to make and has a floral sweet Jasmine tea flavour. Dried tea takes on a stronger taste, more like Green tea. Both are refreshing and free so give them a go!
As with all foraging, please ensure you know what you are picking and consuming and only take small amounts from one area so there is plenty for all mother nature's creatures to feast upon.
for fresh tea...
Simply find your Hawthorn bush and carefully collect a few sprigs of the blossom, including a couple of leaves (watch out for the thorns). Then wash and put two or three sprigs into a tea pot, steep with boiling water and leave for a few minutes. The liquid will turn a pale golden colour and then it is ready to sip and enjoy!
for dried tea...
Take your sprigs of Hawthorn and lay them out on a dry tray or piece of parchment paper. Cover with another piece to protect the flowers and then leave out in a warm, well ventilated place for the sprigs to dry out. This may take a day or so. When they feel dry and slightly crisp to the touch they are ready. Use one spring straight away in a mug or teapot (you may need to strain) or store in a paper bag or jar and use another day. The tea leaves will last a long time dried, but the aroma will fade with time.
Let us know what you think!