Growing Conditions: Temperate
Flavor Profile: sweet with a tart note while the leaf is astringent
Part: Leaves and berries
Use: Medicinal, Culinary
Best Combination: Other fruity herbs, sweet herbs, and the flowery herbs
Preparation: Dried leaves and fresh or dried berries
What’s sweeter than red raspberry tea? Very little herbal teas come close to the sweet and beautiful look of fresh raspberry steeped in water. Every early Fall I’d find red raspberries growing along my fence. Just as the nearby parsley and rosemary was on its last blooms and ready for me to preserve them so I would pick the raspberry leaves for preserving, too. I could always tell the shrubs covered in evergreen-color leaves and purple berries turning quickly into bright red raspberries (rubus idaeus L.). The berries are quite a treat when fresh and make for good tea!
You’ll probably find the leaves more often than the berries in raspberry herbal tea though due to the leaves medicinal properties. Though the berries make for a flavorful tea because of their high water content keeping their flavor whether fresh or dried. In the early Fall I would pick off half a dozen of the small red berries from the fence shrub and place them in a cup (and also pick a few leaves for drying) then take them inside to be frozen. But I always left aside a little of the berries and steeped them in boiling water for the best fruit tea I’ve ever had.
You’ll also love raspberry tea for its versatility in herbal blends. Think other berries, hibiscus, citrus, lemongrass, and green tea. The leaves with their more astringent quality can add a spike to the flowery herbs like hibiscus and passionflower. And perhaps the real reason for loving raspberry is that it goes well in any tea!
How do you prepare and brew raspberry tea?
Why red raspberry instead of black, golden, or purple raspberries? Actually, the latter three do taste as sweet as red raspberry and can be used in the same way. Enjoy brewing black raspberries (differentiated from blackberry by a hollow inside) the same as you would red raspberry!
How can you brew raspberry for maximum sweetness? I usually use the fresh or frozen red raspberries and measure out 1 or 2 tablespoons. Then place the berries at the bottom of a cup for pouring boiled water over them. I simply add half a cup of ice and leave it to stand for 10 minutes. The flavor is a notable sweetness with a tart note. A true fruit flavor without any mellowness. The water should be a brightly pretty red when it’s finished steeping.
Raspberry is so commonly found in grocery stores and yards that it’s appearance has become mundane. But this member of the Rose family is not so mundane or simple. The hollow berries come in what looks like a cluster of smaller berries and whos size makes them versatile. I use this versatility to my advantage when preparing the raspberries for use in tea by keeping them in whole form or pulverizing them in the blender to be refreeze. Why pulverize and refreeze? This way they can be placed in an ice cube tray or small cups (old egg cartons, yogurt cups, or plastic cups in poor condition). Add them back to another raspberry or fruit tea for some added flavor.
When freeze-dried the berries keep their pretty look with a consistency not unlike baked kale chips (their seriously good-tasting). Blend them with lemongrass and orange peel to bring out the color even more. The red color gives steeped tea the same color. While the leaves are a lightly silver, curled texture when dried and are easily utilized in tea by themselves or with the berries.
Whats the best blends for raspberry tea?
The best blend I’ve ever had was hibiscus, raspberry, lemongrass, orange peel, and rosehips. Okay, take out all but the hibiscus and raspberry and it would still be good. Though the possibilities are limitless when you blend the fruit with the other herbs in the fruity, sweet, flowery, and even smooth category.
It’s a fruit so it should go with the complementary flowers of hibiscus and passionflower. Add in the sweet herbs like licorice, rooibos, or stevia and you’ll have quite the drink in your teacup.
Your sure to enjoy the versatility of raspberry tea just like I did when I first made my own. Though you can find plenty of high-quality, organic berries on the market and probably won’t need to make your own. Still raspberry is one of the easiest herbs to brew with it’s high water content and can be enjoyed in different blends so be sure to try them.