make your own: chamomile tea.

June 6, 2017

make your own chamomile tea | reading my tea leaves

We’ve been reading The Tale of Peter Rabbit on repeat for the past month. At bedtime, at lunchtime, at bath time, during bathroom visits where a bit more time and bit more relaxation is in order…. When James and I are otherwise occupied, Faye recites it to Silas herself. Mock exasperation with naughty rabbits, included. 

It’s no wonder then, that we’ve been scooping up bunches of chamomile flowers at the farmers’ market and bringing them home with us to make chamomile tea, a Mrs. Rabbit-approved remedy for soothing little ones (and grown-ups, too).make your own chamomile tea | reading my tea leaves

Known for its calming properties, chamomile tea can be brewed from dried flowers or fresh, and it’s mild enough for kids to enjoy. On early winter mornings when outdoor adventures aren’t in the cards, I’ll often occupy what might otherwise be an hour plagued by cabin fever, with a tea party and brew a pot of chamomile tea for Faye and I to share.

Now that chamomile season is upon us and the sweet little flowers are blooming in gardens and appearing at the farmers’ market, we’ve been enjoying pots made with fresh flowers and we’ve currently got a tray full of flowers drying in our closet for us to use this fall and winter.

In case you’re only accustomed to the bagged variety, here are a few tips for making chamomile tea yourself:make your own chamomile tea | reading my tea leaves

Starting chamomile from seed:
I’ve yet to grow chamomile flowers from seed myself, but I know what I’ll add to next year’s springtime pots. Look for  common chamomile seeds, also known as german chamomile, and plant in early spring!

Harvesting chamomile flowers:
+ Whether you’re plucking directly from an outdoor plant or removing blossoms from stems that are already cut, you can use your thumb and forefinger to pinch off the blossoms, or pull them between your fingers to pop the flower heads off your stems. Anyone who’s spent any time with toddlers in proximity to flowers knows that they’re experts at picking flowers with the world’s very smallest stems. Enlist your tiny experts to pull the heads off your chamomile. (Just expect that you might get more help than you’ve bargained for.) (If you’ve got a very large harvest, there’s always this guy;))

+ When harvesting, look for flowers with petals that are still splayed out in a circle. Flowers that have lost their petals, or whose petals are droopy can still be harvested, but they’re not as fresh and won’t be quite as sweet as the others.make your own chamomile tea | reading my tea leaves

Drying chamomile flowers:

+ Give fresh blossoms a little rinse in a colander to shake off any little critters or field dust.

+ Spread blossoms on a tray lined with a dishtowel (or over a drying screen if you have one) and place somewhere cool and dark to dry. (My tray is currently on a top shelf in our closet.) make your own chamomile tea | reading my tea leaves

Brewing chamomile tea:

+ To make a pot with fresh flowers, you’ll just need a bit more than double the amount of blossoms that you would if using dried flowers, so using a large infuser or tea pot with a built in infuser is preferable. I use ~3 tablespoons of fresh flowers (~1 tablespoon of dried) to make a pleasingly fragrant cup of tea. 

+ Cover blossoms with boiled water and allow to steep, covered, for ten minutes or so. Serve warm.make your own chamomile tea | reading my tea leaves

If you’d like your cup to look even prettier, add a little blossom post-brew. make your own chamomile tea | reading my tea leaves

Festooning with chamomile blossoms is also encouraged outside of tea drinking. Fresh chamomile flowers make a pretty edible addition to anything that might need an extra dose of whimsy: cakes, cocktails, fruit salads, et cetera. make your own chamomile tea | reading my tea leaves

Alternative brewing techniques also encouraged…

For the curious: 

These mugs, tiny and large, are from East Fork Pottery.

I bought my 12-ounce glass infuser tea pot several years ago in a local shop; here’s a similarly sized tumbler.

If you’re after a glass tea pot with an infuser, this larger one is also lovely looking.

Towels and napkins from Fog Linen and The Everyday Co.

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  • Reply Joanne June 6, 2017 at 11:49 am

    Hi Erin! I enjoy reading here. As a fellow Peter Rabbit fan, I want to recommend Beatrix Potter’s other children’s stories too. Peter Rabbit is the tip of the iceberg. These were some of my favorites to read with my kids! Best wishes.

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE June 6, 2017 at 11:55 am

      Yes! Same here!

  • Reply Heidi June 6, 2017 at 12:14 pm

    What pretty mugs!!

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE June 6, 2017 at 12:15 pm

      Aren’t they beautiful? Made in North Carolina!

  • Reply Ann June 6, 2017 at 12:23 pm

    Mugs, towels and chamomile tea is wonderful!

  • Reply Melodie June 6, 2017 at 1:30 pm

    I never even though of doing such a thing but that looks so easy actually! I love chamomile in the evening that’s definitely something i have to try! Thank you so much for the inspiration 🙂

  • Reply La Shell June 6, 2017 at 1:44 pm

    I LOVE tea but I just don’t like the flowery ones like chamomile. They always seem so interesting but I can’t develop a taste for them. I love love oolongs though.

  • Reply Jackie June 6, 2017 at 2:24 pm

    What a wonderful idea! I used to have a chamomile plant but haven’t had one since my little one came along. Maybe it’s not too late to add one to the “garden” on our stoop for this growing season. I’m sure my son will get a kick out of drinking flowers 🙂 I need to pick up a copy of Peter Rabbit for his library while we’re at it too…

  • Reply Lynn June 6, 2017 at 3:02 pm

    For some reason, I thought chamomile looked more like poppies. I had no idea they were daisies!

  • Reply MissEm June 6, 2017 at 11:03 pm

    Yes yes, don’t do Roman Chamomile – looks the same, but is soooo disappointing and awful. Learned that the hard way after growing them last year only to discover they were the wrong ones! Those were some disappointed little rabbits. But this is so pretty – and Martha Stewart has a recipe for vanilla ice cream with honey caramel sauce and chamomile whipped cream – amazing.

    • Reply stacy June 7, 2017 at 7:36 am

      missem, what type of Chamomile is the right kind? I think i planted german. my grandson pulled all my garden name sticks out of my garden. now i have no idea what i have.

      • Reply ERIN BOYLE June 7, 2017 at 9:29 am


  • Reply Cathlyn June 7, 2017 at 7:47 am

    Very nice post! Love the mugs 🙂 I have a small spot in my backyard, where chamomile grows free and wild and unrestrained. I’ve used to drink black tea, and very few times had some herb tea for a change. I’ll definitely try to dry some of the chamomile flowers according to your tips, and also will try making a tea from fresh flowers. Thanks for sharing 🙂

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