If you are like me, you’ve been dreaming of autumn breezes, soft light, and pumpkin dishes galore for at least a month now as the temperatures outside flirt with the 100s. Or maybe that’s just me and I’m a weirdo. Actually yes, I’m a weirdo and proud of it. As I’m on vacation this week somewhere that is significantly cooler than Houston, I decided I should help you out if you are stuck somewhere hot or muggy or both.
I came up with this cooling summer tisane/herbal tea to help cool me from the inside out. All of the herbs and spices have cooling properties for the body once they are ingested. And, the majority of them have the added plus of being beneficial for your digestive system. Also, they smell friggin’ amazing. Three cheers for these magical and mystical plants!
If you feel like following my vacation adventures, I’ll be posting lots of photos and stories over on instagram.
Cooling Summer Tisane
notes: Mint and lemongrass favor heavily here as I have a lot of each growing in my backyard. If you don’t have access to fresh versions of either of these, feel free to use dried ones. Though I recommend steeping the infusion for 4 hours in the recipe below, the longer it steeps, the more the flavors will intensify. You can check the flavor every hour if you like and strain it once it gets to your liking. And lastly, if you can’t find lavender leaves, a tsp of dried lavender buds will work just fine. Or, omit it if you like.
3 stalks lemongrass, sliced into rounds
1 1/2 tsp whole green cardamom pods (about 18-20)
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 cup gently packed fresh mint
1 tbsp fresh lavender leaves
2-inch piece of ginger, sliced into coins
a clean quart jar
With a mortar and pestle (or the butt end of a kitchen knife and a bowl or cutting board), gently bruise/crush the lemongrass, cardamom, and fennel seeds. Add them to the quart jar along with the remaining ingredients. Pour just enough hot water (not boiling water) in the jar to cover the herbs and spices. Let the mixture steep for 3-5 minutes, then fill the remaining space in the jar with cool water. Cover, then park the jar in the fridge to steep for at least 4 hours. Strain before serving. Makes about 3 1/2 cups.
Honey has warming properties in the body so if you’d like to add sweetener to the infusion, use maple syrup or raw cane sugar. Lemon is also warming once ingested so use lime if you’d like to add a bit of brightness. I find I don’t need to sweeten this because the fennel seeds adds just the lightest touch of natural sweetness. Though this is best served chilled, you can gently warm it as well 🙂