Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Meadow Tea Recipe...

What is better on a hot, humid summer day, after working outside, than a cool, refreshing drink of Meadow Tea...or maybe you call it Garden Tea, or something else entirely! 

Almost every summer, there is a friendly debate on facebook among some of my friends over the name for this summertime drink!  Apparently, according to what part of Pennsylvania you hail from, the name is different! 

We call it Meadow Tea, I guess, because it is often found growing wild along the edge of the meadow.   While I do have some "wild" tea, the leaves that I use come from plants that I purchased at a local greenhouse and planted where I wanted it.  There are lots of varieties available to choose from.  ( I think mine was actually called Chocolate Mint)  I now have enough tea to feed the entire neighborhood...it spreads that quickly.  But my family loves it, and I'm hesitant to say just how quickly a gallon is consumed!


This is the recipe that I use most often...

Fresh Meadow Tea
(makes 1 gallon)

Bring to a boil:

     2 cups sugar ( I skimp on the sugar! )
     4 cups water

Pour over:
     2 cups mint leaves, packed (and thoroughly washed!)
     2 sliced lemons

Let stand overnight.  Strain off concentrate and store in the refrigerator.  When ready to serve, pour into a gallon container and fill with water and ice.

*This freezes well!  I usually cut all of my tea at once, and make several batches.  I store the concentrate in quart sized containers, and they each make one gallon of delicious Meadow Tea!


So...what do you call this delicious drink?

Just and update to the recipe...I learned another way to make this from a friend, which I personally like even better!  Here it is...

*Bring 6 cups of water to a boil 
*Add a large handful of tea leaves, rinsed
*Let them steep for about 30 minutes
*Remove leaves and drain the "tea"
*Add 1/2 cup sugar and stir until dissolved
*This makes enough concentrate for 1 gallon of tea

This recipe is much quicker to make, the tea is much lighter in color, and it's not nearly so sweet!

33 comments:

  1. Yummy! When I planted my mint, I thought I was very smart planting it in buried five gallon buckets with the bottoms removed. It couldn't spread and become invasive that way. One of my buckets cracked, and now I have apple mint everywhere!

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  2. Thank you so much for posting this. I just dried two varieties of mint to make a tea with. I'm going to sweeten it with some of our bees honey.

    God Bless

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  3. Well that sounds delicious. I don't have any growing maybe I can find some. B

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  4. Lovely! :) I don't have any mint growing. But I have bee balm I like to make tea with. I wonder if it would be good cold too... :) Thanks for sharing. The Lord Jesus bless!

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  5. Love your "mint tea" recipe. I will keep this for future reference. Thanks for sharing it.

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  6. When I was a young girl I would go to the neighbors' meadow and pick mint tea leaves. I was scared of cows and didn't like watching for cow pies, so I pulled some plants up by the roots and planted by our barnyard. my patch was quite large and healthy due to location by the barnyard. my mother made tea by the gallons and this was soooo good after working outside on the farm. she filled a big kettle with water, brought it to a boil, steeped a healthy bunch of tea leaves and stems in the water for about 30min, removed the leaves and then added sugar to taste. we liked it sweet, and cold. 2nd refrig in the mud room was filled with meadow tea and homemade root beer in the summer. I planted my own mint, and keep available to drink throughout the summer at my house.

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  7. mmmm. Sounds like I better be planting some mint soon.

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  8. Oh my I am glad I found your blog!!! I've seen meadow tea in passing at stores but never paid any attention to it really. I was at Shady Maple and saw "meadow tea" in loose bunches and thought the leaves looked very similar to mint. I couldn't figure out why mint was listed as tea? (I have chocolate mint growing like weeds in my garden). I came home and googled meadow tea and found your page. I cut a huge bunch and took the stems off. It will make about 3 gallons, but I must admit.... I doubt this will last me a week! I am glad to have found your blog. I love your stories and insight.

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  9. So glad I came across this! I made the mistake of planting a small sprig of mint in my garden (my father gave to me from his garden because it never did very well). Now I have it everywhere and I cannot get rid of it! Now maybe I can put it to some use :)

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  10. I have recently moved to Florida. I didn't want to leave my meadow tea back in Pennsylvania so I brought a small clipping with me. It was dormant when I brought it and when I got to Florida I put it in a very large pot and it just took off. I now have enough to make my first batch of tea.

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  11. I've made mint/meadow tea for many years but never knew there was a recipe. I would just boil water, put the leaves in the boiling water & turn of the heat & let teas brew in water overnight, then I would add the sugar & my tea turned brown. Just recently I found the above recipe for meadow/mint tea & my tea doesn't turn brown. The trick is boiling sugar in the water, then add the leaves. I do have a question, does it matter if I remove leaves from the stems? Also, someone once told me not to cut more than 2 top leaves on the stem to make the tea. Has anyone out there heard of this? Joan A

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    1. I wish someone would answer you, Joan! Haha. I want to know how to PICK the tea. I have loads growing next to my garden ... it spreads so easily. I miss meadow tea and had it as a kid and needed to know how it was made. (Grew up in Lanaster, PA.) So, if anyone can answer me and Joan on how to pick it and which parts of it to boil, I would love that!

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    2. Sorry Joan and Kitty...somehow I missed this question!

      I usually cut the stem down pretty far, so that it doesn't get too tall and "leggy". However, I pick the leaves off the bottom part, and throw away the thick stem. The stems don't do anything for the tea. The top several inches, where the stem is thin and tender, I just throw the whole thing into the pot, leaves, stem and all. Hope this is helpful!

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  12. I love this page...I too have meadow tea growing and I use it all the time. I was wondering if there is a difference between meadow and mint? I was told there is but I am not so sure. I also want to relocate my mint any advice on how to do this? My patch seems to be thinning out, but mind you it has been in the same area for over 20 yrs.

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    1. Sharon,

      My husband thinks there is a different taste between the fuzzy tea that we call meadow tea, and the mint that I bought to plant. Maybe one is more spearmint flavored and the other more peppermint flavor? My advice about relocating a patch, would simply be to make sure it's either in a place that you don't care if it takes over, or plant it in a bucket with the bottom cut out, or somehow containerize the roots. I made a ring with landscape edging to keep the roots from spreading all over my garden.

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  13. Someone told me that the tea should be picked/used before the tea blossoms, I didn't ask why and now I wish I would have. Does anyone know if this is true or why?

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  14. Michelle, I always cut my tea before it blossoms...I've never cut it after...not sure what it might taste like, but maybe a little bitter, like lettuce after it "bolts"?!

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    1. Thank you so much! I grew up with my grandmother making meadow tea. My boyfriend was given 2 plants last year, chocolate mint and mint. I came across your recipe when searching to freeze it and everyone loves it, even myself. Thank you for sharing that, and your life and pictures with all of us. Nothing like country living, Have a wonderful day!

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  15. Thank you for both receipes. I just planted mint tea this year and finally picked some leaves. I am going to make this while on surgery leave...tonight actually. I have fond memories of my mom and grandmother making this every summer. I live in Lancaster County and there is Roots Market and Green Dragon that I go to and there are specific stands I go to just for this tea! It is addicting at least to me!

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  16. Hi Alica,
    I live in Lancaster Co. near Smoketown. I found your blog while searching "Meadow Tea". I am finishing up a painting called Meadow Tea. I noticed that you said you cut all your tea at one time. Can you tell me what month you cut it? Thanks.

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    1. Hi Mary, We're practically neighbors!! I actually cut it several times throughout the summer...but cut all of it (the whole patch) at once, and then make several gallons worth of concentrate. Then when it grows back, I do it again. Sorry about the confusion! :)

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  17. Hi...I just came across you blog...can't wait to read more about daily life on a dairy farm. I grew up on a ranch..just had one cow in my early life, but I still "feel" the country in my aging bones. We are now living in Texas and have wild mint along the creek...do you think this would work for Meadow Tea?
    Thanks

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    1. Nell...I'm sure it would! Give it a try!

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    2. What mints do you use for this tea?

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  18. There are wild mints that grow in meadows and along creek banks that work well. I usually, however, use mint that I purchased at a greenhouse. There are numerous varieties of flavors. If you know a friend who has some, they'd probably be more than happy to share, as it grows prolifically!

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  19. is there a way to can the concentrate? I try not to use my freezer.

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    1. That's a good question...unfortunately I don't know the answer! I would think maybe in a pressure canner, but I don't know for how long or at what pressure.

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  20. The mint tea sounds really good. Thanks for sharing the recipes.

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  21. Does anyone know if you can dry the meadow tea to steep and use later? I have so much and my girls love it I just wondered if there was a way we could use what we have. Thanks!

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    1. Yes, you can! I know of someone who does this every summer!

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  22. The meadow tea at a couple of t he drink stands in Ephrata is amazingly delicious. Last time I was there they were selling bunches of the leaves for $1.00. Took it home an dc made my own, delicious
    I add Splenda to mine. No Calories, Just As good. Growing my own mint in yard

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  23. I lived in Schaefferstown for about 10 years before moving to Florida. I am trying to make meadow tea here but no luck! I can't get fresh mint and when I try making it with dried peppermint or spearmint it's just isn't the same. Any ideas?

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I enjoy hearing what you have to say! Thanks for your comments!