Blackberry bushes are a perennial plant that grows abundantly and wild in many regions. Their lush fruit is low in sodium and in calories, though packed full of Vitamin C, Vitamin K, antioxidants, and fiber. But, there is much more to this bush than its appetizing berries. Blackberry leaves have high levels of tannins and vitamin C, and have proven over many centuries to have medical and therapeutic benefits. So, drying their leaves for tea, can prove to be a sensible, no cost addition to your food storage, that serves as a relaxing brew, with health benefits should the need arise.
I am blessed to have an abundance of these bushes. However, if you do not, a blackberry bush can easily be planted as a shrub around your house or yard. One or two bushes will more than likely not satisfy your craving for blackberry cobbler, but it will provide you with an ample amount of tea leaves. Remember, to carefully think out their location, since these bushes can easily over take an area.
In researching the drying of blackberry leaves, I have found like most things, there are many ways to perform the task. I personally was looking to find a method that could be used in a survival situation, where limited supplies would have to work.
This is how I do it:
• Wear gloves to protect your hands and arms from unwanted scratches.
• Pick the greenest leaves, trying to avoid ones that have been damaged by insects. You will usually have an abundance of leaves, so being selective should not be a problem.
• Use scissors or a knife to remove the stems and any damaged areas.
• Lay leaves out in a thin layer and allow to ferment for around three days, until the leaves develop a “rose-like” smell
• Lay leaves in a single layer, not in direct sun light, and allow to dry for an additional three to four days
• Congrats! You now have blackberry tea leaves.
• An infuser can be used easily with the smaller pieces
• Brew the leaves, in boiling water, to the desired strength
• The roots of these bushes can also be boiled for tea, with the same health benefits, in the off season
I enjoy the mild taste of this tea and the peace of mind of knowing the nutritional and medical benefits that come along with it. I hope you do as well.