Midsummer Garden…In a Tea!

DSCN9071

 

Somewhere around January, we started to work on a new herbal tea recipe. We were craving sunshine, flowers, and long days in the garden. We initially had a working mantra of “Summer Dreaming” since that is exactly what we were doing: dreaming of Summer. We think we’ve created a winner–a midsummer day in a nice cup of tea!

This blend includes a whole garden of organic herbs: lemon balm, spearmint, ginkgo leaf, chamomile flowers, catnip, lemon verbena, lemongrass, peppermint, lavender flowers, orange peel, wild cherry bark, and red rose petals. While this tea has plenty of calming herbs and is caffeine free, it is so tasty with a little zip of peppermint and ginkgo leaf as to be invigorating too.

You can find this loose leaf tea with our other blends in the Raggedy Hen Farm shop–we’ve named it Midsummer Garden! 

Tea for Two (or Two New Teas)!

 

Life has been a bit hectic lately and this inspired us to create two new tea blends for Raggedy Hen Farm.  We realized that while we love Hilda’s Herbal Tea, we were craving something spicy and better suited to cool weather sipping; something that would be warming and a little festive.  We also wanted a calming, relaxing tea that was different than the simple minty-chamomile blends on the market–a tea not just for bedtime, but for anytime.  We think we’ve come up with a couple great blends that fit the bill perfectly…

DSCN7920Marilla’s Vanilla Spice~Named for our Plymouth Barred Rock, Marilla, this blend incorporates some wonderful respiratory health herbs like marshmallow and nettle root, with some delicious wintry spices and vitamin-packed fruits. We added organic elderberry and orange peel for extra cold & flu fighting, but this tea is so delicious with its subtle vanilla, ginger, and cinnamon goodness, you’d never know you were drinking something that was good for you! We also add a few gorgeous Star Anise pods to each bag for good measure.

DSCN7918Settle Down Herbal Tea~There are a lot of sleepy, dreamy, bedtime teas out there for the choosing, but sometimes, a person wants a calming, rejuvenating tea that isn’t just meant for sleep induction.  We had stress and tension in mind when we created this aromatic, soothing, and downright pretty blend of organic herbs.  Sure, it’s the perfect tea for your pre-bedtime ritual, but it is also great for a hectic morning or when you just need to regroup and remind yourself of all that is lovely in the world.  A combination of organic lavender flowers, rose buds, dried hops, catnip, spearmint, passionflower, chamomile and hibiscus create a calming way to settle down.

You can find these teas in our Raggedy Hen Farm shop (along with Hilda’s Herbal Tea too) and, as always, they are created using all organic herbs and spices (what we don’t grow ourselves, we source from Mountain Rose Herbs.)

Super Simple Syrups & Cordials

WP_20130929_001Making syrups is one of the most delicious ways to preserve some of nature’s tastiest and healthiest offerings.  By taking herbs, berries, roots, and spices and creating these concoctions of goodness, you can extract the wonderful properties, vitamins and health benefits and make very useful syrups.  These can be used for making cocktails and mixed drinks, sweetening tea, coffee and cocoa, drizzling over ice cream or even using in an icing or a pancake and waffle syrup.  Some even work well as medicines–soothing a sore throat or combating a cough.

To take the syrup up a notch, mixing it with alcohol like vodka, bourbon, whiskey, or rum helps to turn it into a cordial or liqueur–perfect for sipping as a sweet, after-dinner treat.  We’re going to share our basic recipe, along with some tips on how to customize and experiment to create your new favorites!

To start the process, you are basically making a very strong tea.  Add 1 cup herbs, berries, roots or whatever you want to decoct to 1 quart of water.  These can be fresh or dried.  Some of our favorites include: licorice root, dried rosehips, fresh mint leaves, fresh or dried rose petals, lavender petals, fresh basil leaves, and dried elderberries.  (We get most of our dried ingredients from Mountain Rose Herbs, we’ve included a link, but you can source from a place you trust.  We like knowing everything is organic!) Bring this mixture to a slow boil over medium high heat in a sauce pan with no lid; and then turn down and let simmer for 1/2 hour to 45 minutes.

Strain this mixture and compost the herbs, berries, etc. Pour the strained liquid back into the pan and add 1/2 cup raw, local honey or sugar for every pint of liquid. Stir until dissolved.  You shouldn’t need to cook this mixture any further unless you want a very thick syrup.  For honey, we prefer to NOT cook it since many of the beneficial enzymes can be destroyed by cooking.  If you are using sugar and want a thick syrup, you can bring the mixture back to simmer and cook until it is the consistency you want.  Once finished, you can decant to a jar or bottle.

For a cordial, you will basically just be adding alcohol to your syrup (or syrup to your alcohol).  Let the syrup cool completely (if you add alcohol to hot syrup, the alcohol could “cook” out of the mixture.) I like to add about 1/2 cup of vodka, whiskey, bourbon, or white rum per quart of syrup.  You can make it stronger or weaker depending on your tastes.  Combine this well; bottle and cap.  You can store cordials and syrups made with honey in a cool, dark place, but, they will last longer if you refrigerate them.

It is really that easy!  You can make combination syrups if you like (elderberry and wild cherry bark is one of our favorites for a medicinal syrup) and you can add spices, essential oils or extracts for added flavor.  There are so many possibilities and this is such a delicious way to preserve some of those herbs and fruit growing in your garden.  These make wonderful and gorgeous gifts as well. Happy sipping!

Celebration Giveaway!

DSCN7551

Enter to win some of our delicious Cranberry Oatmeal Cookie mix!

We have a lot to celebrate!  Raggedy Hen Farm has reached a couple big milestones and we invite you to party with us! We’ve reached over 100 “Likes” on Facebook AND we’ve been sharing our comfort foods, artisan soaps, recipes, and adventures with the world at large for exactly one month.  Since we are all about celebrations around here, we decided to give away a package of our Cranberry Oatmeal Cookie mix   and some of Hilda’s Herbal Tea Blend to one lucky friend to commemorate this accomplishment!

Who says eating healthy means giving up gooey, chewy cookies? We’ve taken Kori’s favorite Oatmeal cookies and given them a makeover and now they are more delicious than ever! Organic whole grain oats, meet up with organic whole wheat and organic cranberries; we add brown sugar and spices and all you need to do is ad an egg, water and a teaspoon of vanilla extract and you’ll soon be enjoying hearty, yummy cookies. Each package makes approx. 3.5 cups of mix or enough to make 2-3 dozen cookies.

Named after our maternal Buff Orpington, this tea blend is a caffeine free combination of some of the most tasty and refreshing organic herbs: red clover, oatstraw, spearmint, lemon grass, rosehips, blackberry leaf, hibiscus and rose petals. Delicious and soothing served hot or cold. Each package is 3 ounces or 3 cups; enough to brew approximately 20 servings.

There are 3 ways to enter and you can enter up to three times by doing all three!

It’s that easy!  We will choose a winner randomly on Saturday, September 14th and we will notify the winner via email.  We will then gather your mailing address and send out your cookies.  All you have to do is mix and bake and there is absolutely no purchase necessary to win.

Giveaway starts at 9:30 pm on Monday, September 9th and runs until 9:30 am on Saturday, September 14th. Each person is eligible to enter up to 3 times for a chance to win.