Well, we finally had to admit that our much-loved raspberry patch was out of control today. It was in the mint, it was in the oregano, it was in the pathway, it was in the veggie garden...so we bit the bullet, got out the loppers and started cutting it all back. I couldn't believe how much still needed to be taken down - and I even gave away at least 50 starter canes this spring to other gardeners!
I had planned to dry raspberry leaves to make raspberry leaf tea this year anyway, so we decided this was the perfect opportunity to get enough leaves to actually do something with. So while my sweetie cut the canes down, I sat out in the walkway and stripped the best of the early leaves off and put them into a bag. We ended up with probably four gallons of raspberry leaves. Maybe if we're lucky, that will give us a half gallon of dried tea - maybe a bit less. Here's what it looked like all spread out on the table after I ran it through the sink and the salad spinner.
While we were going through and taking out the overabundant raspberry canes, we also came across some rampant catnip. Some of our cats love catnip, and it's also supposed to make a nice calming herbal tea for people, so I picked up a couple of gallons of that while it was being weeded out and got it ready to be dried for tea.
We have a lot of other potential tea makings in the yard - calendula, marigold, blackberry leaves, various fruits, galangal leaves, lemongrass, rose petals, mints, currants, strawberry, lemon balm and lavender. I'm planning to dry tiny dices of some fruits to flavor some of the herbal teas - perhaps tiny dices of peach and apple and fig. Some dried strawberries and raspberries and currants would also likely make some tasty additions, as would dried lemon, lime and orange peel. I'm planning to just get everything we have out in the fall after the harvest is in and spend a few days trying a pinch of this and a pinch of that to see what we enjoy drinking. Should make an interesting winter project!