From common weed to luxuriously calming, caffeine free black tea in 10 simple steps

Fireweed, or Willowherb (Chamaenerion angustifolium) can be fermented into a soothing black tea in 10 simple steps. It grows between May/June until Sept/October. It flourishes on damp ground, such as wet grasslands, ditches, riversides and woodland clearings. 

  1. Pick the young top leaves of the deep pink flowering plant. aim for 5-10 good handfuls of them.
  2. Put those into a paper bag into the freezer overnight, which will start the fermentation process.
  3. Once you take the leaves out of the freezer, take a handful and crush them in your hands – crush and roll the leaves, to the enzymes can break down nicely. This will create a little ball of leaves. Keep rolling those balls until all the leaves are rolled up into little bundles.
  4. Put those little bundles into a ceramic vessel or a bowl, and cover it with a damn piece of cloth. Sit them in a warm spot on the window sill , where fermentation will take place over the next 24hours.
  5. After 24hrs the initially grassy scent should have turned into a sweet scent. This is the sign that fermentation was successful.
  6. At this point, unravel your little bundles on to an oven tray and put them into the oven for 1 hour at 80 degrees. The drying out process will darken the dark green into brown and even black.
  7. Once it has all dried out properly, crush the tea into smaller pieces, and store in a jar with a tight lid.
  8. Your tea is ready for brewing – you can steep the tea a few times without it losing its benefits or taste!
The fermented black tea with the dried pink flowers

Benefits of this so-called Ivan tea are:

It balances the digestive health,

It promotes relaxation,

It builds immunity,

It improves mood, and

it strengthens circulation.

Interesting fact: The seeds of the plant in autumn are the best fire starter for a bonfire – come and learn how to light it with just a fire flint at WanderWomen experiences. Book now at Wander-women.co.uk/events

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