Grand Fir Spiced Tea
Fir needles make a fragrant, citrus-scented tea when steeped in hot water, but this spiced version is little bit more special and rather festive. It’s refreshing and warming – perfect after a winter walk. Don’t be tempted to omit the sweetener: just a little will bring all of the flavours to life. For an additional note of spice, use our Wood Avens Syrup.
- 30g fresh green grand fir needles (about 3 teacups)
- 1 orange, unwaxed organic for preference
- 10g chunk root ginger
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 tablespoon green cardamom pods
- 1 tablespoon star anise (roughly broken for measuring)
- Wood avens syrup, maple syrup or honey, to sweeten
- Line a baking sheet and a roasting tin with parchment paper and preheat your oven to 75˚C.
- Rinse the fir needles while still on the branch, then shake dry and pick the needles to yield the specified quantity. Spread the needles out in the base of the roasting tin.
- Using a vegetable peeler, pare thin strips of zest from the orange, laying the strips on half of the the baking sheet. Then use the peeler to shave thin slices of ginger, laying them on the other half of the sheet.
- Put the baking sheet and roasting tin into the oven, and set a timer for 30 minutes. When the time is up, remove the baking sheet and check the orange zest – it should be dried and curled. Remove it to a rack and put the ginger back in the oven. Set the timer for another 30 minutes, and when the time is up, remove the ginger slices and put them on the rack too. Turn off the oven, leaving the fir needles inside, and leave them in there overnight to dry. Leave the orange zest and ginger slices in the air to dry overnight.
- The next day, put the cardamom pods and star anise into a pestle and mortar. Break up the cinnamon stick and add it to the mortar. Crush the spices lightly.
- Combine the fir needles, orange zest, ginger slices and crushed spices and mix well. Store in an airtight 350ml jar or tea caddy until needed. Stored in a cool, dark place the tea should keep for about 6 months.
- To prepare the tea, use one heaped tablespoon of the mix per mug. Infuse for 8 minutes, then strain and sweeten to taste.
Recipe and photos by Otherwise for Wild Food UK