Top Tea to Harvest this Month – Strawberry - by Cassie LiversidgeMonday, July 7th 2014 @ 11:33 AM
The strawberry (Fragaria) has become a fruit that is available to buy year round. When you grow your own, you will taste why this should not be the case. There are hundreds of varieties of strawberries to grow, so choose one suitable to your location and climate. All these varieties originate from the tiny, but delicious, wild strawberry (Fragaira vesca).
Start off with small plants in the early spring as strawberry seeds can take a long time to germinate. Grow them in a sunny and sheltered position and water well, especially when the fruits are ripening. It is also beneficial to feed your strawberry plants with an organic fertilizer such as seaweed or bonemeal once a month.
Pick your fruits when they are bright, red, and firm. Also pick the fresh young leaves to use alongside the fruit. Slice the leaves and fruit thinly and use for a cup of fresh strawberry tea, or dry for later use. Place the thinly sliced fruit on a sieve or flat mesh and keep it somewhere warm and well ventilated. A dehydrator is a great way to dry fruit and they retain a brighter color when dried this way. Place four slices of strawberry fruit and a pinch of strawberry leaves and stems into a tea bag or teapot. Infuse in boiled water for three minutes.
On a hot summer day you can make a strawberry sun tea. Place some sliced strawberries and leaves in a mason jar and leave in the direct sunlight for about five hours. The warmth of the sun brings out the flavour of the fruit for a refreshing summer tea. Chill and serve with ice and more fruit. Find more information on strawberries, and all the other teas in my tea blog, in my book Homegrown Tea.
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CASSIE LIVERSIDGE was born in the UK and studied fine art at Plymouth University. She grew up on her parents’ plant nursery, where her love of gardening began. Her debut book, Pasta Sauce! Grow Your Own Ingredients, came from a desire to share her passion for eating homegrown food and living in a more sustainable way. She lives and works in London with her husband and two sons, but spends time in New York each year. Cassie is author of Homegrown Tea, released March 2014. Visit her website at cassieliversidge.com