Take advantage of Ibiza’s wonderful climate by growing plants you can turn into delicious teas and infusions. Hot tea is a terrific autumn and winter warmer, and fresh herbs from your garden make a far nicer cup than shop-bought infusions. Here are five to try.
You want to have your plants close at hand, so starting from seed in small pots or rectangular trays is a good idea. This eliminates problems with weeds and makes it easy to move them into the sun as needed. Buy a small spray bottle for watering and a pair of kitchen scissors to snip the leaves!
If you decide to plant outdoors, build a small raised bed (find out how here) or separate a section of a larger one. This makes it easier to weed and care for your young plants, and ensures you know what you’re getting when it is time to harvest!
What to plant
This grows into a tall shrub, so you might want to put it outside. Lemon verbena is packed with antioxidants and boosts the immune system. Try drinking it after exercise, or when you are feeling under the weather.
The Spanish call spearmint hierbabuena – the good herb – and it lives up to its name. It is best known for its calming effect on the digestive system, as it eases stomach pains and heaviness. The fresh scent is also soothing for the nerves and good for sore throats and coughs.
Its slightly bitter taste is a hint: thyme is good medicine. It has antiviral and antibacterial properties, making it a great choice for warding off winter colds and flu. It also eases stomach cramps and bloating.
You can start rosemary from wild cuttings, making it easy to add to your herb garden. It has an invigorating effect on a circulation, so sip a cup on chilly mornings to get your blood flowing. It is also beneficial for digestion.
This herb grows wild all over Ibiza, but it’s worth cultivating your own patch for its excellent effects on digestion. It eases heaviness and bloating, and stops nausea, vomiting, and abdominal spasms. Enjoy a cup after dinner for restful sleep.
Experts suggest making infusions by the liter rather than making individual cups. The herb-to-water ratio varies depending on the herbs, whether they are fresh or dried (use twice as much fresh herb in a recipe), and how strong you want the finished tea. As a rule, use one to three tablespoons of herbs for each cup of water, or four to eight tablespoons of herbs per litre of water, depending on the herb. Store the infusion in a glass jar or pitcher. It will keep in the fridge for up to three days.