Homemade Echinacea Tea: How To Harvest and Dry It
Echinacea tea is a staple in our home. My mom used to make it for me, and now I make it for my family when anyone is feeling under the weather. I originally wouldn’t have thought to make it from scratch, growing the echinacea myself, but bought some purple cone flowers to be the prime pollinators in my garden. They’re gorgeous and edible, and absolutely draw in all the bees and butterflies - a trifecta!
Making echinacea tea at home is so easy, although the only tip I’ve heard that can be a bit cumbersome is to wait until the plants are at least two years old. I didn’t do that, because I can barely wait two minutes let alone two years for anything. So, here is the basic gist for making your tea, harvesting the flowers, and drying them.
Homemade echinacea tea:
The first step is to harvest your plant. Harvesting echinacea for tea is simple. You can use the ENTIRE echinacea plant for optimal anti-oxidant power, as the roots hold a lot of nutrients. Otherwise, you can just harvest the flower and leaves and still reap get-well benefits.
If you cut JUST the flower, cut right below the first set of top leaves.
If you are harvesting for leaves as well, cut just above the first set of leaves at the bottom (so, leave one set of leaves near the soil).
Dry your plants by either hanging the whole plant, OR removing the petals and leaves and then laying them flat to dry in a cool dark place.
Once dry, gather the petals and leaves and gently cut or crush into minced-size pieces.
Assemble in a tea infuser and then add hot water when ready.
A note on making tea:
Apparently there is a right way to make tea. If the tea is white or green, like echinacea is (the leaves are green), a very gently method is best. Barely boil the water, and then only let your tea steep for about three minutes.
The hotter the water and the longer the tea sits in the water, the more bitter it will become. Tea should be gentle and light in your mouth, requiring little to no sweetener if brewed properly.