Saturday, December 8, 2012

Teaberry (Wintergreen) Muffins and Tea

I spent a couple hours yesterday tromping around the woods gathering teaberry berries and leaves with the intent of making muffins and tea. 

At first, I had my plan that I would gather the required 1 cup of berries on my way out into the woods, then I would gather leaves on my way back. After I had gathered about 3/4 cup of berries, I realized, I really should be gathering the greens at the same time!

So.. I have determined the most efficient way of gathering teaberry.  Basically, when you see a berry (which is relatively few and far between compared to the vast landscape of greenery).. just pull the whole thing up!  These plants will definitely NOT suffer a loss if they are pulled up by the root. I originally just tried to pull the leaves along with the berry, but inevitably the whole plant would come up most of the time. I found that if I just put the plant stem between my cupped fingers and pulled up, I could strip off the green along with the berry. This turned out to be quite efficient and I was able to gather enough leaves and berries to make a large batch of tea and muffins. 

My page on teaberry will help you to identify the plant and give you information about the benefits if you want to attempt these adventures yourself. 

In order to make a medicinal tea:

Fresh leaves have to be fermented in water to develop the wintergreen in them. Pack a jar loosely with fresh leaves and cover it, set it in a warm place for several days until the water is bubbly. Warm the tea by setting it in a pan of hot water. This will be a strong, good-tasting minty tea. The leaves can be strained out and dried in order to use for a tea that won't be so strong. I will be putting them into the dehydrator to make a nice supply!

The muffin recipe I ended up with is:

  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 1 cup quinoa flour (you can create both of these yourself. I use my grain mill, but you could use a food processor or a coffee grinder)
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1 cup vanilla almond milk (you can use your preferred milk whether it be cow, soy, etc)
  • 3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup washed teaberry berries
Mix flours, baking powder, sugar and salt. In separate bowl mix egg, milk and oil. Add dry ingredients to wet and mix well. (if you use quinoa flour I suggest letting it sit a bit to give the quinoa a chance to soften up a bit) Fold in berries. 
Fill greased muffin tins 3/4 full and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. 

Oh wait, that's Stephen King. I saw him live last night in Lowell :)
.. He doesn't have anything to do with teaberry.. it's just cool!

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