Sometimes harvesting a delicious treat from your garden is too easy. If you have even a single chamomile plant, you can make yourself a tasty cup of tea with little time or skill required.
When your chamomile plant is in full blossom, pick some of the flower heads including the white petals. Pluck them during the day when the blossoms are open and the dew has evaporated. Make sure to pick them right at the flower head, with little or no stem. There are various techniques, but I find pinching them off at the base the easiest.
Inspect your blossoms and brush off any bugs. Do not rinse your harvest because doing so will make drying hard and possibly cause mildewing in the process. Try to leave several blooms behind for the bees – you need only 1 or 2 teaspoons of chamomile to make a cup of tea, so unless you are storing a good deal, a cup or two of flowers should suffice.
The easiest way to dry chamomile blossoms is in a food dehydrator at the lowest heat for 24 hours. Take them out and feel them for moisture, and if necessary leave them in the dehydrator for another hour or two.
If you do not have a food dehydrator you can easily air dry chamomile. Remove any stems or leaves from what you’ve picked and lay them out flat on a screen. Set them in a dry place and leave for 5-7 days. Again, you can inspect them after drying and leave them for another day or two if they don’t seem fully dry. You can store dried chamomile leaves in an airtight container for about a year, provided they do not get wet.
If you want to make a cup of tea from your freshly dried chamomile blossoms, prepare 1 1/2 teaspoons of dried flowers in a tea strainer. Steep them in hot water for 5-10 minutes. If you would like a stronger chamomile flavor, add more flowers to the tea. You can prepare your tea to your preference: I find that a spoon full of honey perfectly compliments the chamomile flavor.
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