Teas from wild plants

WIoutdoorguy
Registered User
WIoutdoorguy
Registered User
Joined: September 27th, 2009, 5:21 pm

August 5th, 2018, 1:43 am #1

I am kind of new to wild plant uses and was wondering if anyone has any good tea recipes for wild burgamot. I love the smell of it and would think it could be used as an ingredient for tea, I just don't know what to use it with. Thank you in advance for any advice.
Robbie
Quote
Like
Share

WIoutdoorguy
Registered User
WIoutdoorguy
Registered User
Joined: September 27th, 2009, 5:21 pm

August 13th, 2018, 2:15 am #2

I thought someone here may have tried this for tea before but I guess not. Anyway, I have a couple sisters that are getting into the wild herbs/weeds use. I dried some flowers and leaves and mailed them to them. My one sister used it for tea and describes it as having a spicy, sweet, earthy flavor. So I tried some fresh picked leaves, steeped them in almost boiling water for 10 minutes, removed the leaves and drank the tea. I thought it was very good. Will have to work on the amount of leaves per cup to tune it in so it's not so strong. A little goes a long way in my opinion. As a side note my sister commented that it helped settle her stomach. After doing some research on the internet I found some info that it does help with nausea.
Quote
Like
Share

DuxDawg
Registered User
DuxDawg
Registered User
Joined: December 1st, 2013, 9:12 pm

August 13th, 2018, 3:40 pm #3

Great work! 
By the way, I purposely make things strong, then just add a lil water to taste. 
Last edited by DuxDawg on August 13th, 2018, 11:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Quote
Like
Share

VirginiaKnapper
Registered User
VirginiaKnapper
Registered User
Joined: March 13th, 2018, 4:32 pm

August 13th, 2018, 8:39 pm #4

I definitely feel the same DuxDawg. When it comes to subjects such as tea, better too little water than too much.

Sent from my SM-J327V using Tapatalk

"It's about what you learn, not what you make" - Erret Callahan
"Win some, lose some, and sometimes ran out" - Kenny Roberts
Quote
Like
Share

DuxDawg
Registered User
DuxDawg
Registered User
Joined: December 1st, 2013, 9:12 pm

August 13th, 2018, 11:42 pm #5

Just reading today about a lady who cold steeps Bergamot leaves and/or flowers with her cones of Sumac drupes when making Sumac-Ade (think pink lemonade). She noted that the leaves are much stronger tasting than the flowers. 

Plenty of both hereabouts... sounds worth a try! 

Wild Bergamot aka Bee Balm aka Monarda fistulosa:
https://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=MOFI

Staghorn Sumac aka Rhus typhina: 
https://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=RHTY
Quote
Like
Share

WIoutdoorguy
Registered User
WIoutdoorguy
Registered User
Joined: September 27th, 2009, 5:21 pm

August 14th, 2018, 2:01 am #6

Cool! Thanks for the tip Dux. I have yet to try sumac. Will give it a try for sure. Have plenty of it growing in my neighborhood.
Quote
Like
Share

DuxDawg
Registered User
DuxDawg
Registered User
Joined: December 1st, 2013, 9:12 pm

August 14th, 2018, 7:34 pm #7

More about Sumac and Sumac-Ade can be found in these threads:  

summer-greens-t66468.html#p621792

sumac-cones-t65624.html#p65270
Quote
Like
Share

WIoutdoorguy
Registered User
WIoutdoorguy
Registered User
Joined: September 27th, 2009, 5:21 pm

August 15th, 2018, 10:19 pm #8

Hey Dux, was there a ratio of sumac cones to wild bergamot for sumac-ade? I'm curious because I just picked a bunch of sumac cones and some wild bergamot and would like some sort of guideline to start with. If there isn't I'll just do them separately and mix to taste. I appreciate any advice anyone can give as I'm pretty new to this.
Quote
Like
Share

WIoutdoorguy
Registered User
WIoutdoorguy
Registered User
Joined: September 27th, 2009, 5:21 pm

August 15th, 2018, 10:31 pm #9

I'm figuring the wild bergamot is past prime but it still has a pleasant flavor. I think the sumac cones are just right. Sour as all get out!
IMG_20180815_172620906.jpg
IMG_20180815_163538154.jpg
IMG_20180815_162507746_HDR.jpg
Quote
Like
Share

DuxDawg
Registered User
DuxDawg
Registered User
Joined: December 1st, 2013, 9:12 pm

August 16th, 2018, 12:14 am #10

Gorgeous pics!! 

She says she has a feel for their taste, so she just throws in whatever size handful of Bergamot leaves or flowers she feels like that day. 

Your idea of steeping separately then mixing is pure brilliance! 
That's what I'll try. (I better hurry on the Bergamot. Noticed while hiking with my dog today that their flower petals are dropping fast. Man! Cottonwoods are rapidly dropping their leaves, Sumac leaves are beginning to turn red, Burdock leaves are yellow and brown, etc. Starting to look like autumn already!) 
Last edited by DuxDawg on August 16th, 2018, 1:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
Quote
Like
Share

WIoutdoorguy
Registered User
WIoutdoorguy
Registered User
Joined: September 27th, 2009, 5:21 pm

August 16th, 2018, 1:40 am #11

Dux, about steeping separately and mixing after, I wouldn't consider it brilliant seeing that I thought of it from you and Virginia knapper saying that you brew strong then dilute. Kind of on the same line. Forgot to add to my prior post that if needed I will sweeten with fresh, home harvested honey.
Quote
Like
Share

WIoutdoorguy
Registered User
WIoutdoorguy
Registered User
Joined: September 27th, 2009, 5:21 pm

August 16th, 2018, 1:42 am #12

Forgot to add thanks for the compliment on the pics.
Quote
Like
Share

WIoutdoorguy
Registered User
WIoutdoorguy
Registered User
Joined: September 27th, 2009, 5:21 pm

August 17th, 2018, 12:26 am #13

Alright, last night I put 5 large sumac cones in a gallon pitcher, added a little water, beat them up a little with a wood spoon, filled the pitcher the rest of the way with water and let soak for almost 24 hours. Tonight I filtered it and was disappointed in the flavor. Kind of has what I think of as a tannin flavor, not sour at all. When I pop a fresh seed in my mouth it is super sour. So tonight I'm going to fill the pitcher with cones and only soak for 12 hours. Hopefully soaking for a shorter duration will help with the tannin flavor. I also put a handful of wild bergamot in a quart jar, filled it with water, and left it sit for close to 24 hours. Turned out very good! In the pic the sumac-ade is on the left, burgamot tea on the right.
IMG_20180816_190041560.jpg
Quote
Like
Share

DuxDawg
Registered User
DuxDawg
Registered User
Joined: December 1st, 2013, 9:12 pm

August 17th, 2018, 9:01 pm #14

I put as many sumac cones as I can fit in the particular container being used that time. Then fill water to the top. After steeping, strain through a handkerchief or such. As mentioned earlier, we can always add a little water if too strong. Alas, nothing we can do when too weak.

Somewhere between 8-12 hours is the maximum flavor. I've done three days of steeping with no noticeable increase in flavor. Tried six hours of steeping and I could tell it was weaker than my usual 12-24 hour steep.

Doesn't hurt to let it steep a long time, other than the chance of mold.  Be careful how many days you let it sit. I have had mold grow in my Sumac-Ade on rare occasions. (Even when refrigerated.) When making large batches I freeze what won't be used inside a week.

As to the sourness vs tannins, that is somewhat of a mystery to me as yet. There does seem to be some correlation between rain washing off the sourness. Also the white "bloom" can indicate sourness. Yet it seems to me that the plants or the weather are the biggest factors. Some cones I harvested in **March** were still very sour. Others harvested in September were bitter. Weird.

I have had the best success by making a batch as soon as they were dark and ripe in a particular stand, then harvesting a lot from that stand if it was good. (Sumac-Ade tastes great throughout the year.)

I am not concerned about over harvesting because sumac is very abundant hereabouts and, more importantly, because I always spread their seeds after steeping.

Another tip is I sometimes store the cones in the freezer for a month, just in case there are caterpillars or their eggs on the stems hidden by the clusters of drupes. Mostly, as with most herbs, they are simply kept in a paper bag in a cool, dry place.

Oh, speaking of, watch out for the caterpillars! Some years the cones in some stands are full of caterpillars (and caterpillar droppings. Man do they poop a ton! ). We rarely see anything from the outside. But... if you break the cone in half or give it a good shake: you'll instantly know!

As an experiment I have made Sumac-Ade with those infested cones and they tasted fine in the end. (All the crud strains out. No issues such as foul taste, diarrhea, etc.) Was hoping the caterpillars were leading me to the very best cones. But alas, they were no better than any others.

Interesting that in some years they are very abundant, yet in others there are very few of those caterpillars. A lifecycle  worth looking into some day.

Perhaps the caterpillars can be roasted and eaten?? Some variety of tent caterpillar by the look of them.  

Bon appétit!
Quote
Like
Share

WIoutdoorguy
Registered User
WIoutdoorguy
Registered User
Joined: September 27th, 2009, 5:21 pm

Yesterday, 5:22 pm #15

Ok, this time I filled the gallon pitcher with cones and pushed them down to fit as many as I could. Filled with water and let steep for about 12 hours. There was a noticable difference in tartness. The flavor is the same only a little stronger. I actually do not care for it. I can now say I've tried it but I don't think I'll be making it again. Thanks for the advice on making it. If I get a hankering for the sour I'll just pop a few seeds in my mouth.
Quote
Like
Share

Forager
Registered User
Forager
Registered User
Joined: October 22nd, 2010, 11:42 pm

Yesterday, 11:15 pm #16

WIoutdoorguy do not give up hope, you shouldn't be limited to fresh tastings nor discouraged from your culinary experiments.  Try drying them. This concentrates the flavor of fully ripe Sumac (and yours look beautiful), and is my chosen method of using them from storage.  Mine have never failed to induce a pucker from their marvelous tartness even after years in the jar.
Quote
Like
Share

WIoutdoorguy
Registered User
WIoutdoorguy
Registered User
Joined: September 27th, 2009, 5:21 pm

Today, 12:22 am #17

Forager, I haven't given up on the sumac I just don't care for the flavor of the tea made from them. I really do like the sour from the drupes. So I will take your advice and dry some to use raw. I read in the other thread that Dux recommended about drying and using as seasoning. I may try that too. Also with a little more research I have learned that what I have are smooth sumac. There are no "hairs" on the branches.
Rob
Quote
Like
Share

WIoutdoorguy
Registered User
WIoutdoorguy
Registered User
Joined: September 27th, 2009, 5:21 pm

Today, 12:24 am #18

I may also try stripping the drupes from the stem for tea and see if that makes a difference in flavor. I read today in one of my wild food books that the stems can give an "off flavor".
Quote
Like
Share

Forager
Registered User
Forager
Registered User
Joined: October 22nd, 2010, 11:42 pm

Today, 12:31 am #19

I've used the Smooth and the Staghorn versions interchangeably, I only need to strain the Staghorn through a coffee filter or cheesecloth to eliminate the fine hairs.

DuxDawg certainly knows his subjects and has enlightened and inspired me on several counts.  As to seasoning, in the Middle East the powder derived from the acidic covering of the drupes is a very common seasoning, which I learned from a Lebanese coworker many years ago.  He was delighted to observe my own use of this tree as if I were catching on to his deep tradition... and we were mutually pleased to recognise each others practice.

And yes, definitely strip off the fruits - no stems go into the process.
Quote
Like
Share

WIoutdoorguy
Registered User
WIoutdoorguy
Registered User
Joined: September 27th, 2009, 5:21 pm

Today, 1:01 am #20

Wow Forager, Food is definitely something that can bring people together and bridge the gap between cultures! I will give the tea another try without the stems as I have a plethora of sumac cones literally a stones trow from my house.
Rob
Quote
Like
Share