How To Drink Your Garden: Water Infusions
By Laura Killingbeck
For a while I was in charge of making herbal teas on the farm. One day I was in a rush, so instead of boiling up a tea blend I just grabbed a handful of mint and stuffed it into a gallon jar of water. Turns out, everybody loved this water more than my teas! And I remembered, oh yeah: delicious things can be just this simple.
Any edible herb, spice, or fruit can be used to flavor water. Add a little or a lot, depending on your palate. Experimentation is what makes it magical. I usually add a handful of this or that to a gallon jug of water, squeeze the herbs and fruits lightly with my hand, and immediately pour myself a glass. But the longer you let the mixture sit, the more flavorful it becomes. These infusions taste great after spending a few hours in the fridge.
When I’m hiking or bikepacking sometimes I’ll add wild edible berries or plants into my water bottle. Flavor profiles range from sweet, sour, bitter, or floral. I drink straight from the bottle and use my teeth to filter out the plant parts. It’s a great way to get added nutrition and medicinal benefits on the fly.
Here are a few of my favorite infusions here at Round the Bend Farm:
Any edible flower can be added to Flower Power water. In this mix, I used chamomile, St. John’s Wort, and tulsi flower. Whenever I make this, I imagine the medicinal qualities of the blossoms infusing into the water, giving it the “power” of the flower. For this blend chamomile adds the power of calm; tulsi adds the power of balance; and St. John’s Wort lifts the spirit.
Blackberries add color and tartness to this lovely mix. Blackberries are also high in potassium, which gives you a great little zing of electrolytes. Sage is often used to treat inflammation, sore throats, and coughs.
Fennel is one of my favorite herbs. All parts of the plant are edible. For water infusions I just snip off some of the fronds or flower umbels. Fennel is an excellent digestive aid.
There’s nothing quite like a cool glass of cucumber water on a hot day. Add some mint, and wow! Mint can also alleviate queasy stomachs and soothe the body.