The days are getting shorter and there’s nothing like a cup of herb tea to warm the soul as well as the toes. I recently mixed this year’s batch. Every year it is different, depending on what I have been harvesting and drying all summer. This year’s mix is a bit short on the beebalm because my stand of monarda was much smaller this year.

And I tried something different. The chore of separating the leaves and blooms from the bunches of dried material always meant a sneezing bout and a rather big mess on the kitchen counter, as well as the floor below. So I moved the process outdoors on a sunny cool afternoon and can report that it went better than expected.

Here’s how it went: As I worked with each bunch I stripped off leaves and blooms into a big brown paper grocery sack. When all were in the bag, I folded the top over to seal it and shook it well to mix. This year’s combo consisted of:

Anise hyssop blooms
Beebalm blooms and leaves
Calendula blooms
Ladies’ mantle blooms
Lavender blooms and leaves
Lemon balm leaves
Lemon verbena leaves
Red clover blooms
Rose geranium leaves
Rugosa rose petals
Sweet fern

The mix can be used as is, or I like to add a tea-ball filled with the mix to a pot of black tea for extra flavor and herb benefits. Of course I would caution anyone preparing their own herb tea mixes to be sure to positively identify the plants they are using to avoid using any toxic plants. Not all herbs are suitable for all people. Again identify your herbs and know what their uses are.

Some years I like to add raspberry leaves that have been touched by frost which turns them a delicious red. Raspberry leaves are a traditional “women’s herb.” Whether you create a mix of a variety of herbs or  just one herb, herb teas are an easy way to enjoy the goodness of nature and making your own is an inexpensive way to do that.