As I stood amongst a misty, enchanting orchard the other day – watching my children wander under the leafy bower of springtime branches, drinking raindrop refreshment out of apple leaf cups – I wondered… Can you make herbal tea from Apple Leaves? Anyone who knows me well or has seen my Instagram feed will know that I’m quite conscious of putting to good use as much of a food source as we possibly can. “Waste Not – Want Not” was a mantra I was brought up with and it follows me into my home making years.
A quick bit of research and I was surprised to realise that Apple Leaf tea is in fact quite a thing. One permaculture forum I landed on had a thread where members were discussing a spring tea combining; apple, strawberry and blackberry leaves. I instantly loved the sound of this blend! Once the children were finished drinking their raindrop tea nestled in the cups of leaves, we set about picking a small bundle of soft, fresh, spring leaves from the trees. Who would have thought that these more permanent promises of warmer days who hang around to herald in those Summer hours, long after the fleeting moment of the blossom is done and dusted – would have such a great little treat to offer. I was surprised to realise that the apple leaves have cooling and astringent properties. I read that it is therapeutically used for stomach acid issues – heart burn, reflux and even all the way down to soothing digestive issues of the bowel such as diarrhoea. Outside of these internal uses with the leaves medicinal properties, apparently they are also great used topically for things like insect bites and stings as well as scratches or scrapes. A great bush walkers friend! Jim McDonald has some fantastic in-depth information about the therapeutic uses of apple leaves and bark on his herbal site.
::Spring Leaf Tea::
Recipe by Elke at Another Day
Cinnamon gives this mix a nice, subtle sweetness which blends well with the mild bitterness of these leaves. With the leaves having that bitterness, they’d be a nice addition to an After Dinner Tea blend to assist in digestion and nourishment of the stomach after the evening meal, or any other time when the stomach feels like it needs a little TeaLC! 😉
A touch of honey stirred into a hot cup would also be nice.
• A handful of mixed leaves from chemical free; apple trees, strawberry plants and blackberry brambles
• 1/2 cinnamon quill broken into pieces
• Infuse the above ingredients in boiled water for around 8 minutes. The longer steep time allowed the very delicate flavours of these leaves to develop fully. We use the Breville Tea Kettle for our tea making as it is easy to program for steep time, water temperature and other custom settings unique to individual brews. If you are using a Breville Tea Machine, then we used the herbal setting and increased the time to 8 minutes.
In Autumn, when our slinky machine is working overtime to slice and peel apples for drying, we also love to dry the snake lengths of peel to pop into our Autumn and Winter chai blends. I’d love to hear about the quirky little tea recipes you have that are not so commonly known about.