Chamomile is a flowering herb that can be used in cooking and in tea. Chamomile flowers steeped in hot water make a very relaxing tea, perfect for sipping on a quiet evening or a rainy afternoon. This year, I decided to grow some chamomile in my own garden. Chamomile is a member of the daisy family, and its flowers look like miniature daisies. It’s a bright green, feathery annual that grows best in full sun. I planted the seeds outdoors after danger of frost, and within a couple of months, the flowers should appear. The best time to plant chamomile is in the spring from seeds or plants. Growing chamomile from seed is also relatively easy and grows best in cool conditions and should be planted in part shade, but will also grow in partly sunny area.
It usually takes about two months from the time the seeds are planted for chamomile to produce flowers. This should occur by early to mid-summer, or about two weeks after you’re transplanted indoor seedlings. Also if you decide to plant your seeds in your veggie garden to help pollinate your flowering veggies try planting near cucumbers, broccoli, onions, or green beans. When the flowers are at peak bloom, I snip them off and let them dry on a wire screen in a cool place. Tea can be brewed from fresh or dried flowers. When harvesting frequently, this gives the plant to continue to bloom.
- 3-4 Tbsp fresh chamomile flowers
- 1 small, fresh sprig of mint
- 8 oz boiling water
Once you’ve selected a pot, you’ll want to harvest your herbs. For the chamomile flowers, it’s ideal to use them the same day they are harvested, as the delicate petals have a short shelf life. Otherwise, they can last a couple of days in the refrigerator in a plastic bag with a lightly dampened paper towel. To prepare the chamomile for use, pop the head of the flower off the stem. They can even be harvested this way, so that they are immediately ready for use. For the mint, select a small sprig about the size of a quarter off the tender top of the plant. I selected a variety of mint called apple mint because fresh chamomile also has apple undertones, so they complement each other perfectly. Peppermint is also delicious.
- Fill up your tea kettle with 8 oz of water and begin heating. Place 3-4 Tbsp (4 Tbsp for a stronger tea) of chamomile and your mint sprig into your teapot or makeshift teabag of choice.
- Pour 8 oz of boiling water over the chamomile flowers and mint and then steep for 5 minutes. To serve, pour into a teacup, using a fine mesh strainer as needed.