My personal favorite tea to blend at home is rhubarb, which grows so abundantly where I live in Alaska. The fun with rhubarb is that you can add whatever other fruits you think might be interesting.
I follow an old New England stand-by recipe I found several years ago on the Heart of New England website. It grabbed my attention because it comes from Charlie Burke, an organic farmer who, along with his wife, Joanne, grow much of the produce they eat on their organic farm in Sanbornton, NH, and even have enough leftover to maintain a stall at the Sanbornton Farmers’ Market.
For two quarts of tea:
8 cups rhubarb, cut into one-inch pieces
8 cups water
Juice and grated rind of an orange or lemon
¾ cup of sugar
1 pint of fresh strawberries mashed – optional
I fill the bottom half of our crab cooker with filtered water and simmer the rhubarb for about a half hour. The recipe itself calls for only 20-25 minutes but I find the extra time gets more of the tangy juice out of the pulp. Then I strain it and press down on the rhubarb itself to get more of the juice out. I stir in the lemon or orange and toss the mashed strawberries on the top. While the recipe calls for sugar, I usually leave it out and allow my family and friends to sweeten as they wish.
To zip this recipe up, I’ve also added store-bought juice. But don’t tell Charlie.
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