Drinks from the Garden in Summer
Summer is a thirsty time of year: and the budget can really be blown out by drinks. For something that is different, classy, and will save you money as well: try growing your own drinks. Whether it be something as simple as a sprig of mint in a jug of water; or something more involved such as home-made lemonade: you really can’t beat a home made beverage on a hot day.
All kinds of fruit are suitable for making fresh fruit juices. You can make them in a juicer, a blender or in the case of citrus fruits, by simply squeezing the fruit. Add sugar or honey to bitter juices and dilute strong tastes by adding water.
A herb tea is basically made by mixing boiling water with a herb to extract the flavour or essence of the herb into the hot water. Herb teas can be drunk hot or cold (partly dependant on the herb being used). Herb teas can be made by using fresh or dried herbs (once again, partly dependant upon the herb being used).
Herb teas may be a mixture of different types of herbs.
Herb teas may be used for medicinal purposes, or purely culinary purposes.
Serving the tea the correct way is (in some places) considered an art itself. The flavour of a tea can vary according to the way you prepare it....
- Whether the teapot is warm or cold.
- How long the tea is left to draw before serving.
- How quickly after serving the cup is drunk.
- How much herb material is used in the pot.
- The stage of growth of the herb material when it is harvested.
- The quality of water used.
- Whether herb material is fresh or dried.
Connoisseurs usually follow the rules below:
Warm the teapot first.
One teaspoon of tea per person, and one for the pot.
Stand for 3 minutes, then serve.
Use fresh (unchlorinated) water
Never allow tea to stand very long before drinking
Never use milk as this can affect the pure flavour of the tea.
There are many recipes that make lemonade.
Here is a simple popular one –
- Dissolve 250g of white sugar into 1 litre of water.
- Add the juice and zest of 2 lemons to the syrup. Leave to infuse for 3 hours.
- Strain through a fine strainer.
- A siphon of soda water or fresh water can be added to the lemonade.
- Serve cold and put a slice of lemon in each glass.
PLANT YOUR DRINK GARDEN NOW FOR NEXT SUMMER
For the southern half of Australia
- Common mint
- Meyer Lemon
- Nectarines and Peaches –ripen in the middle of summer…
For the northern half of Aust
- Apple Mint
- Lemon Scented Myrtle (Backhousia citriodora)
- Tropical Lime
MAKE A FRUIT SMOOTHY
It’s simple…chop up any combination of sweet, juicy fruits: put in a tall jug: fill bottom 25% with either water, mint tea or juice; whiz up with a hand held blender.
Serve with a sprig of mint floating on the top.
If you really want to be wicked, add a swig of gin or fruit liqueur to the mix.
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