I’m having a little trouble getting myself to try the clover tea I’m preparing from my yard. Why does drinking clover blooms steeped in hot water gross me out more than eating greens from my yard? Maybe it feels too much like drinking dirty water. That’s a hurdle I will need to … hurdle if I’m going to try clover tea.
According to Bradford Angier’s book, Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants, “Clover tea is a wholesome and reputed medicinally valuable tea.” Livestrong.com says that the benefits of drinking red clover tea are many, including “detoxification, decongestion and reducing inflammation…(and) also considered a rich source of isoflavones, an antioxidant associated in some studies with combating certain types of cancer, including breast cancer and prostate cancer. The isoflavones in red clover have also been found beneficial in reducing bone loss and menopausal symptoms in healthy women.”
Which is really cool, except I have white clover growing my yard, not red. Unfortunately, white clover doesn’t have the same potential. But, it is edible and contains vitamins and minerals, so it’s not a complete waste. And besides, none of the claims for red clover have FDA approval for medical treatment, anyway. Not to say they aren’t true, just saying there are a lot of people out there making a lot of claims. Be wise.
And now, kind sirs and kind ladies, it’s time for tea.
Step One: Gather
This is easy. Go outside and pick clover blossoms. (Be sure not to pick any clover that has been treated with pesticides or herbicides.)
Step Two: Dry them out
Lay the clover blossoms in the sun on a paper towel. I let mine dry outside for about five hours, turning them occasionally. This is a good time for the little black ants that were in your clover to wander away and find a new home. The little tiny caterpillars, too. And the spiders.
Step Three: Storage
Before you store your dried clover blossoms, you should remove any stems. Then rub the blossoms vigorously between your hands to make them come apart. I would probably skip this step next time. What does it matter if they are crumpled or not crumpled? Does crumpling improve the flavor? Maybe, but I doubt it.
Place your dried blossoms in a jar or other airtight container until tea time.
Confession: I didn’t do that. I did the crumpling part, but then I wrapped them back up in a paper towel and forgot about them over the weekend. It may affect the results. But I won’t know for sure until I do it again the “right” way. (update to follow sometime soon).
Step Four: Bottoms up!
It’s time for tea! Are you ready? Am I ready? I have the dried blossoms awaiting the boiling of water. I have the honey patiently waiting as well. I also have a loose leaf tea strainer so I won’t have bits of flower in my teeth. Well, I guess there’s no time like the present. So off I go. (Be right back!)
Meanwhile, the recipe:
1/2 cup dried clover blossoms, 1 cup boiling water, teaspoon of honey. Let the blossoms steep in boiling water for 5 minutes. Remove blossoms and add honey.
My first sip had me imagining myself licking a fresh lawn mower blade. The second sip, kissing a cow. I added a mint leaf which made it feel more like tea and less like cow breath. But I have to say, I’m not a fan. It’s bouquet is entirely too grassy for me.
I will try it again, for science’s sake, with uncrushed white clover (stored correctly), and I hope with red clover if I can find a neighbor willing to part with some. I’ll let you know what I think. But I admit I’m not looking forward to it. The lawn mowers and cows can have it. Along with the ants and caterpillars and spiders …