Thursday, October 07, 2010

Tea from the wild – Chamomile

By Jess Hodges

The best I've ever really had to say about chamomile tea is that it's not bad. It's certainly calming, even more so with a drop of whisky added and it makes a nice addition to the recipe for other herbal teas. It's not exactly exciting. Still, having spent at least twenty minutes walking past plant after plant of it the other day I thought I might as well give the fresh version a chance to change my mind.

It might actually have managed it. My first attempt tasted god awful but I think that's mainly because I stuck an entire flower head in a very small tea cup, stem and all. Having thoroughly rinsed both the cup and my mouth I added three flower heads and tried again. Not bad at all.

It tastes, unsurprisingly, like chamomile tea but better. It's stronger and tastes fresh instead of woody like the dried stuff. It's quite aromatic and doesn't taste particularly relaxing though I'm sure a drop of whisky would still do it no harm. It's not as insipid as the dry version, it would work well with cinnamon, I might even add a few flowers next time I come to make mulled wine. All in all I'll probably pick it when I see it but obviously drying it would defeat the purpose so it'll have to be a seasonal treat.

Just a quick note and something I should have said earlier, if you're planning to follow my example and scurry about sticking half of the countryside into your cup then please take a decent identification key and make sure you really know what you're picking. If you wake up in hospital and have to tell the doctors that it was all in the pursuit of tea they will laugh at you.