This week I tackled the tea making on my own. I have to say it felt like much less of an adventure. The Sweet Goldenrod was easy to find in a field by my house. I made sure to thoroughly inspect the plant with my ID book before harvesting. Sweet Goldenrod has long, straight leaves that come to a point at the tip. It’s very important to identify this plant correctly before ingesting it. I also would err on the side of caution if you know you’re allergic to a similar species of Goldenrod or a plant in the Asteraceae family.
Harvesting was easy. Since only the leaves are used for this recipe, you can pick them off and leave the rest of the plant. I was feeling overheated, so I took the entire plant in attempt to save my fair skin from the blistering July sun.
The recipe I used was Jonathan M. Forester’s recipe from Slashfood.com entitled Backyard Teas: Sweet Goldenrod Tea. This site doesn’t have a recipe so much as a paragraph describing the plant and how to make tea from it. I followed the author’s preference and dried my tealeaves. According to Forester drying the leaves makes the tea less delicate with an agreeable bitterness.
In between sneezes I plucked the leaves from their stems, placed them on a cooking sheet, and baked them in the oven on low until they were golden. You simply have to watch them to get the timing right. Cook time varies from day to day because of the moisture the plant transpired. Once cooled, I placed about a teaspoon of leaves in a mug and poured boiling water over them. After seeping for 5-10 minutes the tea was cool and strong enough to drink.
The flavor was abrasive- herbal, yet bitter. I decided for fun I’d use the leftover leaves to make iced tea. Something about the change in temperature cut the bitterness and made it much more enjoyable. Considering Sweet Goldenrod’s season, it only makes sense to make it a cold drink anyways.