Alice says: ‘A tisane is a fresh tea, an infusion of fragrant herbs, or flowers or spices, in boiling water. It is a soothing a refreshing finish to a meal, is complementary to most desserts, and offers a mild alternative to coffee. Tisane can be made from such flavourings as lemon verbena, mint, lemon thyme, lemon balm, hyssop, chamomile, citrus rind and ginger – alone and in combination. The one I make most is a combination of mint and lemon verbena. It is very beautiful made in a glass teapot so you can see the brilliant green leaves… I like to use small clear tea glasses, as they do in Morocco, so the lovely pale green colour is visible.’
Melissa says, ‘this is my tea! The botanical name for lemon balm is Melissa Officinalis – Melissa means honeybee in Greek, and so lemon balm was thus named as its white flowers attracted bees.’ Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
Fresh from the garden: lemongrass, lemon balm
Recipe source: inspired by Alice Waters: The Art of Simple Food
Makes: 2 to 3 litres
- Tea glasses
- A bunch of lemongrass leaves
- Several branches of lemon balm
- 2 or 3 litres water
What to do:
- Fill the stockpot with water and set it on high to boil with the lid on.
- If you’re using lemongrass then take care as the leaves are sharp! Grab a bunch and tie together in a loop, then rinse the bunch well and shake dry.
- Wash the lemon balm in cold water and shale dry. Strip off the leaves & discard the stalks.
- Once the water is boiling, turn the pot off and carefully drop the herbs in.
- Let the tisane steep for several minutes and serve, ladling the tea carefully into each glass.
Notes: What else is tisane know as? What other herbs or spices could you use? What are aromatics?