Linden flowers, leaves, and bracts are perfect ingredients for herbal tea. They have such a unique delightful flavor that you can not replicate with any other ingredients. Linden can be brewed alone or with other herbs or tea. If you want to preserve the benefits and aroma of linden flowers throughout the winter, they should be properly harvested and dried.
How to harvest linden flowers
Linden flowers are the most common part of the tree that is harvested for herbal tea. However, you can also gather leaves, bracts, and even bark. You should definitely follow several key principles (I would even call them rules); to make the best out of your harvest:
- Linden is harvested during active flowering when more than half of the flowers have blossomed. The right time is late June, early July. You must catch a period of no more than 15 days to get the best result.
- The best time of the day to pick linden flowers is at noon. You will see that at this hour all the flowers are open.
- Make sure that there was no rain for 24 hours at least before the day that you decided to harvest the flowers. Also, make sure that the morning dew has evaporated.
- You can pick linden flowers by hand. However, it would be better if you used special scissors or pruning shears. You should cut off flowers together with bracts, small leaves near the peduncle.
- Do not pick damaged linden with dark spots, yellowed bracts, affected by pests. Unnatural color, leaf rust, parasites make linden blossom unsuitable for storage.
- Stay away from linden trees that grow near highways or working plants.
- The final one, may come as a surprise but be careful and respectful to the trees. Try not to damage or harm, and, please, do not break branches. Let everybody else enjoy the magnificence of the linden tree aroma.
In general, one kilogram of raw flowers and leaves can give you about 300 g of dry linden, which will keep you stacked with enough linden tea up to the next season.
How to dry linden flowers and leaves
To enjoy aromatic linden tea on cold winter evenings, you need not only to harvest them in the right way but also to dry and store them in a proper way. Linden takes 4 to 10 days to dry. You are forbidden to dry it in direct sunlight. With this method, the linden blossom will lose all the flavor, the flowers will become dark, and the tea will not taste good when brewed. Let`s see how you can dry harvested linden flowers:
- Sort out the flowers. Get rid of all the unnecessary grass, leaves, and rubbish. In no case should they be washed, otherwise they may simply rot during drying. Do not cut them or chop them before drying. Let them dry intact, together with the pedicels and bract.
- Line any large horizontal surface with a clean cloth or paper (I like to use parchment paper). Large sieves or serving plates, baking trays, or cutting boards are among your common options.
- Spread flowers over the lined tray in a thin layer, so that they dry faster.
- Place flowers in a well-ventilated room. This can be an attic, a balcony, a gazebo, a shed, or any other room but good ventilation.
- Cover a tray with flowers with a loose-woven, gauze-like cotton cloth to protect it from insects. However, ensure that the air reaches the flowers through it.
- Stir the drying flowers once or twice during the day.
Well-dried linden is yellowish or off-yellow in color. It almost does not smell when dry, brittle, and rather fragile to the touch. Separate your harvest into several small parts. You can store dried linden in glass jars, paper bags, ceramic pots, hessian jute bags for storing products. Make sure to keep them away from sunlight in a dry room at room temperature.
How to make tea from linden flowers
Though linden flowers are considered to be the best part to use for making, I highly recommend you to try adding leaves and bract to the pot with flowers. As a result, you will get the most delightful hot beverage with a distinct pleasant aroma.
To make tea with only linden blossom and leaves, you need to take 1 tablespoon of dry linden and 2 cups of water, around 500 ml. Take a mash basket and fill it with dried linden flowers and leaves. Put the mash basket into the pot, pour boiling water and close the lid of the pot. Cover your pot with a cloth to prevent the temperature from lowering. Let the linden steep in hot water for 10 to 15 minutes before serving. Add sweetener to your taste.
And here is the recipe for my favorite tea that I like to make on special occasions:
Linden Tea Recipe
- 1 tsp. dried linden flowers, leaves
- 1 tsp. dried apple mint
- 2 tsp. large leaf black tea
- 500 ml boiling water
- honey and grated ginger to your taste
- Steep all the dried herbs for 5 to 10 minutes in boiling water.
- Add grated ginger and honey to your cup and pour brewed tea over them.
As always, I would highly appreciate your feedback on whether the information in my post was helpful and you found everything you were looking for or whether you still have any questions left. Feel free to ask them in the comment section.