The farm where I’m working in Hawaii grows many different kinds of fruits and vegetables, including a number of herbs that can be made into tea. The most plentiful and identifiable, at least for me, are definitely the mint plants that grow in and among the beds in the vegetable garden.
On this farm, they act as a cover plant, which means they take up space where unwanted weeds might otherwise grow. The mint is not explicitly tended to, in part because this variety of mint grows without much encouragement (it grew beside the driveway of my childhood home), but it’s presence is useful and appreciated.
As I was walking by today, I plucked some mint with designs to make Moroccan Mint Tea. I mentioned this tea in my last post because I drank some in a Moroccan restaurant in Copenhagen, and I suppose it has been on my mind since then. I first encountered it when I studied abroad in Barcelona, and then drank multiple cups a day when I was actually in Morocco.
Moroccan Mint Tea is delicious and a little addictive. Luckily, it’s also an easy herbal tea to make yourself, and, as an added incentive, even non-tea-drinkers have been known to enjoy it because it’s loaded with sugar. You can, of course, make this tea without sugar, but the Moroccans will laugh at you. The three ingredients in my recipe are fresh mint, green tea, and sugar. You can easily buy fresh mint at the grocery store if you don’t happen to have your own organic farm close at hand.
I had the farm’s kitchen to myself, which was nice because it meant that I could unapologetically photograph my process without having to explain what I was doing.
I put the kettle on and rinsed off my mint leaves, then I searched the kitchen for some green tea and came up with the bag you see pictured. At home, I generally use loose leaf so that I can easily control the amount of green tea flavor. I use about half a teaspoon of leaves, which is less than I would use if I wanted a cup of pure green tea (the general rule is one teaspoon of leaves per cup, and, if you’re making a pot, then an extra teaspoon for the pot). I include green tea because I want a more robust base for my mint leaves than plain water. In the end, I only stirred in about half the amount of sugar pictured because I couldn’t bring myself to drink that entire dish.
I sat back to admire my handiwork and wait for my tea to cool.
This is the point in the story when I noticed that one of the mint leaves toward the top of my glass seemed limp and withered. I took a closer look to decide if I should remove this dead leaf before enjoying my tea, when I realized that wrapped in the leaf was a white cocoon of some sort — possibly an egg sack?
For a moment I considered drinking my tea anyway…
But then I tossed the whole thing, too disgusted to consider heading back to the garden to make more.
Sometimes I wonder if I’m cut out for farm life.