Seasonal: Grow your own chamomile tea
Many claims have been made for chamomile tea, from fighting colds, banishing menstrual cramps to helping to control diabetes.
Above all chamomile tea is great for relaxation. And home grown and dried flowers are so much flavoursome than supermarket teabags.
There are two species that are used medicinally, Roman Chamomile and German Chamomile – both have virtually identical properties.
Camomile is a cinch to grow and it with its daisy like flowers looks really pretty in your garden or window box.
Sow the seeds in spring. They like a nice sunny position.
Scatter the seeds over well-prepared soil that is free from weeds. Lightly rake over and water well.
The seedlings should sprout within a couple of weeks. Thin the plants with 15 cm between each one to allow them the space to grow to their full size.
Harvest the flowers throughout the summer and dry quickly so as not to lose flavour.
Collect the flowers in a colander and rinse them very lightly under a gently running tap. Take great care not to disturb the flower petals.
Place the colander in the sun for approx three days (bring in at night).
If you want to dry them quickly you can use the oven. Heat the oven to 200 degrees, spread out the flowers on parchment paper. Turn the oven off and put the flowers in, leaving the door open a crack. Leave them in the oven for approx 4 hours.
Once your chamomile is dry store in an airtight jar ready for when you fancy a cuppa.
Add a few flowers to a teapot or tea infuser.
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