9.29.11 T is for Tisane

Verbena in the garden 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife
In yesterday's post, I mentioned the wonderful tisane, or herbal infusion, that concluded my meal at Stone Barns. It inspired me to go out and snip some herbs from my garden to make one at home. (And it didn't cost $15!) I experimented with fresh mint, lavender, Spanish sage and hyssop, all of which made delightfully aromatic brews. As per the restaurant's directions, I did not mix up the various herbs, but savored them separately so as not to muddy the flavors. With cooler weather on its way (eventually), I decided to cut many of these declining plants and dry the leaves so that I can enjoy tisanes all winter long and be reminded of the lush greenery of my summer garden. I recommend you try this, even if you can only get your hands on mint. It's a fun process, and the tisanes are very relaxing and therapeutic. Many of these herbs are restorative, aid in digestion and help calm the spirit.
Drying verbena 1 790 xxx
lay the herbs out on a tray lined with parchment paper
It's best if you can procure your herbs from an organic source so you don't have to wash the leaves. If you do feel like you need to, then be sure to spread them out in a single layer to dry. Leave them, lightly covered with a tea towel or paper towel, in a cool airy place for several days, until completely dry.
Drying verbena 2 790 xxx
as they dry, the verbena leaves give off a heavenly lemony scent
Dried verbena 790 xxx
once dry, they shrink and the color becomes a bit more muted
Bagged verbena 790 xxx
store the dried leaves in a tin or airtight container of any sort
Unlike tea, these dried herbs do not become bitter the longer they are brewed, but instead give up more intense flavors and colors. In addition to tisanes, you can use them to infuse simple syrups for cocktails or to drizzle over panna cotta, ice cream or pound cake. You can also stuff them into little muslin bags and place these in your drawers or in your pillowcase to enjoy their sweet fragrances. Don't laugh at me. These are simple little things you can do to really enhance the quality of your existence. And that's what it means to be a glutton for life.
Verbena tisane 790 xxx
lemon verbena tisane

Lemon Verbena Tisane (Infusion)

makes one serving
  • purified/filtered water
  • — 1 heaping tablespoon dried lemon verbena leaves
  • wildflower honey, optional

Bring water to a full boil.

Place dried verbena in a cup or mug and pour the water over.

Allow to steep for 5-7 minutes, or longer as you desire. I like to strain the leaves out before drinking.

Add a teaspoon of honey if you like and enjoy.

Download recipe  Download Recipe


Verbena is one of the loveliest aromas around. You can also make a tisane with linden blossoms, which look like tiny flowers and papery leaves - served as "tilleul" in France (we have Linden trees on our NYC street but alas, air quality concerns have kept me from harvesting the flowers).
claiborne on September 29, 2011 at 1:41 pm —
Claiborne, yes, linden is lovely! It's also known as basswood, and the blossoms make delicious honey. Too bad about those city fumes...
laura on September 29, 2011 at 3:45 pm —