The blossoms of the lime or linden tree are used to make a fragrant, calming tea which can be quite expensive to buy in the shops. If you happen to have lime trees growing nearby and can keep watch for when the blossoms open (they flower within a two-week window) you can make the tea for free. The soothing, sweet-scented infusion is said to aid relaxation and digestion and to have a range of health benefits and therapeutic properties.
For best results, gather the flowers when they have just opened. Harvest them during a dry spell or at least 24 hours after the last rainfall, in the morning if possible. Pick the flowers by pinching off the stems just above the lobed, pale green bracts, which are also used. Use the flowers fresh or dry them (see note below).
- Small handful of lime flowers
- Honey, agave nectar or sugar to taste
- Put the flowers into a mug. Pour over boiling water and cover the cup to stop the aromatic oils evaporating. Leave to infuse for at least 5 minutes.
- Add honey or sugar to taste – sometimes the flowers are sweet enough without – and drink.
To dry your harvest of lime flowers, lay a clean tea towel over a wire cooling rack. Set the rack in a well-ventilated area but out of direct sun, and spread out the flowers and leave them to dry. They should by dry enough within 3 days. Store in a sterilised airtight glass jar.
Recipe by Wild Food UK, photos and recipe development by Otherwise for Wild Food UK