Friday, May 27, 2011

An experiment in drying chamomile for tea

Flattered by what the neighbor had to say about the volunteer chamomile, I took a better look at HIS plant and was shocked to see that he had anthemis nobilis or roman chamomile in his planter. Ours was from another country if you could consider it that, because we've got matricaria chamomilla or german chamomile. I should've made a closer inspection of the leaves earlier on, because now it's back to square one and how that chammy got into the garden. Who knows? At this point the next obvious step was drying flowers for tea.

Chamomile blossomsSoaking chamomile blossoms

I tried both sun and oven-drying methods. After soaking a handful of flowers in cold water for a few minutes (it didn't matter to me if a few tiny bugs still hung on), I drained and left them to blot on a paper towel. For the sun-dried blossoms, I flipped a sieve over and set them in a sunny spot from 10am-6pm.

Solar drying chamomile flowersSun-dried chamomile

In the 2nd experiment, I placed a baking pan in the oven and set the temperature to the lowest setting (250°F). When the oven was preheated, I turned off the heat, put the blossoms on baking parchment and slipped them onto the hot pan. I kept the oven door propped open and left the flowers in for 20 minutes.

The results for both were satisfactory in respect to getting the job done, but I like the economical and environmentally-friendly aspect of solar drying. The dried blossoms amounted to a loosely-packed tablespoon either way, but I have to say that the tea did not taste as strong as commerical brands. Steeped for 15 minutes, covered, the color was a pale golden hue and the aroma was definitely chamomile but the flavor was very weak. I'll stick with tea from the store.

Chamomile to oven-dryOven-dried chamomile

3 comments:

  1. Well it was a fun experiment at least right? :)

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  2. glad you got to try though :)

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  3. perennial, Kat - now I can say, "been there, done that!" ^-^

    ReplyDelete

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