Peppermint is taking over my garden and it makes me very happy. I purposefully planted the mint in a bare spot that I wanted to fill in and it reliably covered all of the open space. It has established itself as the ruler of its domain, effectively blocking all weeds. It is bordered by a stone path and stone wall, so I’m pretty confident that I can control it. (Somebody may want to check on me next summer, just in case mint has fully encased my house and trapped me inside like an old horror film.)
For now, I’m happy because it has been hot this week. Super hot, and I can’t think of many drinks that are more refreshing than ice-cold fresh peppermint tea.
Peppermint contains high levels of menthol that makes it very cooling and refreshing. Mint also helps to relieve headaches, reduce fatigue, improve concentration, helps with digestion, and a myriad of other benefits.
I planted lemon balm this year and it is starting to thrive, soon to establish its own empire in the quest for domination of my garden. It is a member of the mint family, after all, so it’s a spreader.
Lemon balm, also called Melissa, has a bright lemony flavor that is a great companion to mint. It is cooling and calming, relieves stress, and can soothe an upset stomach. It is also used as a sleep aide and makes a nice addition to a nighttime tea.
Mint and lemon balm leaves are both rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, so this tea is refreshing AND healthy. It will be my thirst quencher of choice this summer.
A recipe hardly seems necessary here because making an herbal tea is so simple and flexible, so consider these to be guidelines. The ratio of peppermint to lemon balm is up to you and amounts are approximate. Here I used more mint than lemon balm because I have so much mint, but I could just as easily use equal amounts or any other ratio depending on how minty or lemony I want my tea to be.
Peppermint and Lemon Balm Tea
1 cup of peppermint leaves
1/2 cup of lemon balm leaves
3 cups of water (preferably filtered)
honey or sugar to taste (optional)
1. Harvest mint and lemon balm, preferably in the morning before the sun heats up for the best flavor.
2. Pull leaves from the stems and rinse well to remove any stowaway critters.
3. Roughly tear the leaves by hand and put into a jar or pitcher. I find that a french press coffee pot is perfect for making herb infusions.
4. Bring water to a boil, remove from heat, and pour over the leaves.
5. Steep for 10 minutes, or longer for stronger flavor.
6. Strain the tea and sweeten with honey or sugar to taste if desired. Drink hot or chilled.