Having a vegetable garden at home is great, as we can use organic ingredients we know the origin of to use in preparing food. For teas, even having their own garden helps when preparing drinks in the most natural and nutritious way. However, for the correct preparation it is necessary that the herbs are dried properly according to the type of infusion to be prepared.

drying herbs for tea

Choose the herbs to be harvested according to their harvest season. Use scissors or a suitable knife to cut the herbs to leave a long piece of stem in them. Once harvested, clean well because of the soil, spraying with water and gently drying with a paper towel. From then on, it will be possible to follow some drying methods.

If the herbs have long stems you can use the natural drying method by tying the stems (maximum of 10) to a hanging bunch of herbs to dry. Place the branch in a dry, warm, but not humid, dark, ventilated place where it can rest for a long time without human interference.

The herbs should rest until completely dry for about a week or three, checking every now and then to follow the process. If you don’t find a dark place in your house, put the branches in brown paper bags with ventilation holes. To check if they are dry, rub a sheet between your fingers and if they fall apart, they are ready to be used – remembering to remove all materials that may have stuck to it, such as webs, pieces of firewood or hair.

If the option of natural drying is not viable, it is possible to use the conventional oven or microwave to do it, but it is noteworthy that these methods cannot keep all the nutrients and volatile oils contained in the leaves in natura. To dry in a conventional oven, place the herbs on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 100 °C to dry.

Constantly check until leaves are brittle – signaling they are ready. If you prefer to use the microwave, wrap the herbs in paper towels and take them to the appliance together with a glass of water. Try putting every minute on high power and check the consistency of the sheets.

Camellia sinensis

The teas themselves are fruits of the leaves of the herb Camellia sinensis, which from different oxidations gives rise to white, green, black and oolong teas. Check out how to make the herb suitable for teas:

White tea

Choose the closed shoots of the herb, which should be pale and with whitish hair. Dry the sprouts for about a minute by steaming in a non-reactive strainer in a pan of boiling water. More delicate, this type of tea is not fermented and must be prepared carefully. Wait for the buds to dry before using as tea.

Green tea

The most popular tea that comes from camellia sinensis is also simple to prepare. Choose small, young shoots and leaves from the top of the bush for the drying process. Put the leaves and shoots to dry by steaming in a non-reactive strainer in a pan of boiling water for about a minute.

When the leaves are softened, they will need to be rolled tightly so that they dry curled. Then spread the leaves and sprouts on a baking sheet and let it air dry. After this step, bake at 122°C for 20 minutes until completely dry. Store in an airtight container that should be kept in a dark, dry place.

Black tea

Stronger, black tea requires the leaves to be damaged before drying. To do this, rub the fresh leaves between your fingers so that the color changes from green to brown or reddish-brown. After this step, place them on a baking sheet to ferment and dry naturally, which can take two to three a day. After completing the process, heat them in the oven at 122°C for approximately 20 minutes, taking care not to burn. The storage mode is the same as for green tea.