The weather outside is frightful, wouldn’t a piping hot cup of tea be delightful? Mother Nature is so fickle where I live. Last week, I was taking tea on the patio, admiring the lawn’s almost uncanny greenness and today, I’m huddled in front of the fireplace warming up and reenergizing to tackle the my holiday to-do list. In hand, regardless of weather, is my favorite homemade tea blend – Citrus Ginger Mint Tea! This tea is so delicious with fruity tones of orange and lemon, a little zing of ginger and an herbal boost of mint.
My mom stopped by for a visit and just couldn’t get enough of this special blend of goodness served in a great big mug. When she mentioned making a big batch for my traditional Christmas morning brunch, I had a light bulb moment – instead of merely offering guests a tea time at my house, why not also treat them to take-home tea bags as party favors they can steep and sip on at their whim, wherever they are!
And, so I came up with an easy, inexpensive and adorable way to make DIY tea bags out of unbleached coffee filters. Edible gifts (or in this case, drinkable gifts) are definitely on-trend this holiday season – not only do homemade gifts of food and drink show you put some time and elbow grease into the making, but they also satiate to the foodie in all of us! Plus, making your own holiday gifts is a practical way to stretch your budget. In about a half hour, you can whip up three dozen of these custom tea blend bags — just toss together tea ingredients; stuff, fold and festoon the filters; and package them up in pretty containers with bows and tags. Viola, you have a homemade holiday gift perfect for friends, neighbors, teachers, hairstylists, and anyone who loves tea – and, really, who doesn’t?!
I used basic black breakfast tea in my blend (because I, ahem, need the caffeine), but you can easily substitute the tea leaves of your preference like white tea, green tea or chamomile – let your personality shine through in this craft food project! I prefer using fresh zested lemon and orange peel (which I set out to dry overnight) because I can make larger, more decorative slivers of skin, but you can find this ingredient pre-made in a bottle on the spice aisle. And, for ginger and mint, I always rely on Instantly Fresh Herbs from Litehouse Foods – not only is the taste of these freeze-dried herbs fantastic, they are always conveniently on hand in my personal pantry “herb garden.”
Don’t worry about folding the tea bags picture perfectly. As long as they are folded small enough to fit in a mug and the top is securely fastened down with no gaps, you’re golden! Also, remember to use food-safe string, you don’t want colorful, nonfood dye to soak off and end up in your tea.