This year the garden is booming and my plan to forage and harvest medicinal plants on the property is proving worth it.
My first medicinal plant to harvest was raspberry leaves. We have an abundance growing all over the farm so I spent the better part of one sunny day in May collecting long stems of new leaves just before they went to flower.
I collected 12 bunches of about 8-10 stems each, tied them together and hung them in the hay barn to dry for 2 weeks.
After they were dried and brittle to the touch, I gathered my biggest jars and went to work on processing the dried leaves for storage. I did this entire process outside on the first week of June. It can get a bit messy and I was able to discard all my empty stems directly into the compost.
I dismantled all my bunches one by one and started to pull the leaves off and into my jars. After a few stems and a some thorny finger pricks later, I got in a rhythm. Grabbing a bunch of leaves between my fingers and pulling along the stem seemed to work best. I learned quickly that you only really want the leaves so make sure to not include any stems. After filling my jars half way, I would stick my hand in to break down some of the leaves for more space.
It took me just over an hour to fill 2 half gallon jars and another larger jar that I’m unsure of the size. Not too bad for 12 large bunches of stems.
Now it was time to taste the rewards of my hard work. Tea time!!!
And I wasn’t just going to use my hard earned raspberry leaves. I made it with my rain water and our very own honey from last year.
I steeped the leaves in my loose leaf pot but you can also throw them in a tea ball or re-usable tea bag. I just wanted to use my pot that had been stored looking pretty for way too long.
I boiled the water and let it cool a tad before adding the leaves so as not to loose any medicinal properties from the plant. I then let it steep in the pot for about 5 minutes, added it to my mug with a dollop of honey and sat on the back porch over looking the farm to thoroughly enjoy the moment.
What a treat! Raspberry leaf tea made with our own plants, honey and even water!
It has a green tea taste which I don’t mind at all and was delicious!
Side note * I will also be sharing some of these leaves with our pet rabbits. They too can now enjoy raspberry leaves in the dead of winter.