Ivan-tea will bloom a little, from this very color -
Early summer, goodbye, hello, half day summer ...
If the fireweed (Ivanov's tea) has already blossomed, then it's time to go for it to the nearest meadow and start preparing tea with an amazing taste and nectar smell for the whole next year. It seems to me that I have never tasted this tea tastier. The same opinion is shared by everyone I give them - they drink, they admire, and then they ask for the recipe. Actually, you can find recipes for Ivan tea on the Internet, but almost all sites cite excerpts from an article by engineer Odintsov "Forgotten drink" from the magazine "Science and Life" for 1989. It is difficult to prepare the "correct" Ivan tea according to this article and quotations - many questions arise during the preparation process. I threw out more than one batch of tea until I got it. All the nuances have been taken into account in the recipe that I am posting here, therefore, the difficulties in making willow tea from the acquaintances to whom I give this recipe usually do not arise.
Although it takes about a day to prepare a batch, not much of our participation will be required. The main thing is to follow the process, and the tea is prepared as if in passing. Try it! You will see that it is not difficult at all.
Ivan-tea, Koporsky tea, Ivanov's tea, Russian tea ... All this is the name of the same tea from narrow-leaved fireweed, which grows in huge quantities almost throughout Russia. Here he is, dear, I ask you to love and favor.
The secret of making Ivan tea is fermentation
, as a result of which some of the insoluble (nonextractable) substances of plant tissue are converted into soluble and easily assimilated ones. These are the substances that give the taste, smell and color to tea.
The process of making fermented Ivan tea consists of several stages
1. Collection of leaves
Leaves are harvested in June-August from the beginning of flowering fireweed to the moment of its pushing. It is necessary to collect in dry weather, away from roads and polluted places, preferably in shaded places along the edge of forest clearings. The leaves of such plants are more tender and juicy, they curl more easily and ferment better, and the tea from them is tastier.
It is convenient to collect willow-tea leaves, holding the stem at the peduncle with one hand, and holding the stem down to the middle of the stem with the other (in the photo, this part of the stem is limited by red ribbons). The lower leaves are left on the stem, since they are coarser than the upper ones. It is advisable to leave 3-4 tiers of leaves under the flowers. The plant needs them to lift moisture from the roots and collect dew. This method of collecting leaves does not harm the plant - it continues to bloom and gives seeds.
Here, for the next batch of Ivan tea, I collected a full packet of leaves (1.2 kg) **.
I recommend collecting fireweed flowers separately, so that later, after drying, add them to ivan tea.
2. Withering leaves
Withering is necessary in order to make it easier to process the leaves in the future. In addition, excess moisture in the leaves does not allow for high-quality subsequent fermentation. As a result, the tea will be of poor quality. The collected leaves are examined, the damaged ones are removed. And there may also be snails, we remove them too. It is better not to wash the leaves before withering, since beneficial microorganisms participating in the fermentation process can be washed off. Then the leaves are laid out indoors on cotton or linen in a small layer (3 - 5 cm). It is necessary to control the process and periodically stir up the leaves so that they wither evenly. Try to keep the rays of the sun out of the leaves, otherwise the leaves will dry out and not wither. For the same reason, leaves should not be dried outside, because the sun and wind will quickly dry the leaves, which will complicate their processing and worsen the quality of future tea.
On average, the process takes 12 hours. On a dry, sunny day, the process is faster, on a rainy and cool day - longer (a day or more). The best temperature for wilting is considered to be 20 - 24 ° C at a relative humidity of 70%. A relatively heavily withered leaf curls better and produces more good teas than an unfinished leaf. The remaining moisture content in the sheet should be 60-62%. The readiness of the leaf is determined by squeezing the leaf in half. If the "crunch" of the central vein is felt when the leaf is folded, then the leaf is not yet ready. The end of withering can be determined in another way - when a handful of withered leaves are strongly squeezed into a lump, it should not open. Here, I tried to squeeze the leaves into a ball after 4 hours of drying. They crumble:
And these leaves have already wilted:
I tried to squeeze them into a lump, and it did not crumble:
If the leaves have already withered, and I do not have time to deal with them, then I wrap them in the same cloth on which they dried. So the leaves can lie until we are free. Withered leaves can be stored for 1 - 2 days in the refrigerator (in a bag).
If the house is very damp or, conversely, dry, or there is no time to stir up the leaves, then you can wither them in cotton or linen
... For this, it is advisable to choose a fabric as dense and thick as possible (bedspreads, towels, tablecloths, sheets). To do this, spread the leaves in a thin layer evenly over the fabric, fold it as shown in the photo and twist it as tightly as possible. The fabric will absorb excess moisture, the leaves will not dry out and will become very pliable for further processing. We check the readiness of the leaves in the same way - by squeezing a handful. If the leaves have not yet wilted after 5 - 6 hours, then they can be transferred to another dry cloth and the wrapping process repeated.
3. Preparing leaves for fermentation
At this stage you need destroy the leaf structure before saping
, which allows the most complete extraction of useful substances from the plant and better fermentation. The leaf juice contains enzymes, i.e., substances directly responsible for fermentation. If the juice is not enough, then the fermentation will not be of high quality, which will affect the taste and aroma of the tea.
You can destroy the structure of the leaves in several ways
.3. 1. The first method - rolling the leaves by hand
Take several leaves (7 - 10), roll them with effort several times between the palms, until the leaves darken from the emerging juice. As a result, rolls up to 10 cm long and 1 - 1.5 cm thick will be formed.In the future, the rolls are cut and obtained small leaf tea
This process is laborious and time consuming. If you have a large company, then you can wind the rolls pretty quickly.
In one of the books about Ivan-tea, it is said that old people were taught to roll rolls of leaves from one to eight: "one-two - a ball of leaves, three-four - the ball is drawn into a sausage, five-six - we press harder, seven - eight - the twist manages to roll between the palms several times and collect the juice. "3. 2. The second method is kneading and crushing the leaves
This method is similar to the process of manually kneading dough. With vigorous squeezing movements, the leaves are "kneaded" in a deep and wide bowl for 15 - 20 minutes. As a result, the structure of the leaves is destroyed and sap is released. The leaves darken, become thin and slightly curl. During kneading, you need to periodically loosen the lumps and separate the stuck together leaves. In the future, from such leaves it turns out large leaf tea
.3. 3. The third method - twisting the leaves in a meat grinder
(grid with large holes).
Let the meat grinder cool down periodically. Depending on the number of leaves, this takes 10-15 minutes. The result is granulated tea
It is believed that the most "correct" tea is obtained by processing the leaves by hand. But I really like granulated tea, and I harvest it in large quantities, so I twist the leaves in a meat grinder. Everyone decides for himself which way to choose.
4. Leaf fermentation
The quality of this process determines the properties of tea - the taste, aroma and benefits of the drink. Leaves prepared by one of the above methods are laid in a layer of 7 - 10 cm in an enamel, ceramic or plastic container. If the leaves were twisted in a meat grinder, then crush them a little with your hand.
If the leaves were rolled or mixed, then we put oppression on them.
Cover with a damp linen or cotton cloth and place in a warm place to ferment. Periodically check if the fabric is dry. If it is dry, then we wet it again.
How long fermentation will take, you cannot say for sure - it depends on the temperature. The higher the temperature, the faster the fermentation process. Too high temperature and overexposure are dangerous - tea acquires the smell of low-grade tea. The optimal temperature for the fermentation process should be considered 22 - 26 ° C. Below 15 ° C, the fermentation process stops, at a temperature of 15 - 20 ° C its beginning is noted, above 30 ° C part of the soluble fermentation products that give strength and "body" to the infusion becomes insoluble, while the pleasant aroma of tea is lost.
If the room is cool, you can wrap the container with the fermentable mass with several jackets and blankets. During fermentation, the mass is self-heating, and this temperature is sufficient for high-quality fermentation.
Fermentation time and quality is closely related to sheet layer thickness
... With a small amount of leaves, fermentation will not be of high quality. Therefore, you should collect enough leaves for the batch of tea.
The end of fermentation is a change in the color of the mass from green to green-brown, as well as a change in the herbal smell to a strong floral-fruity aroma. Distinguish three degrees of tea fermentation - light, medium and deep
When light fermentation
the leaves are fermented until the first signs of a fruity-floral smell (3 - 6 hours). The brewed tea has a mild taste and a delicate but strong aroma.
Tea medium fermentation
(10 - 16 hours) is obtained with a pronounced aroma, moderately tart taste with a slight acidity.
Tea deep fermentation
(20 - 36 hours) - tart, without sourness, with a relatively light aroma.
It is best to choose the time for yourself experimentally, preparing weak, medium or highly fermented tea - it all depends on preferences and tastes. I prepare tea with different degrees of fermentation, then I mix them in different proportions and get teas that are very rich in color, taste and aroma.
It is important not to miss the moment of the end of fermentation, otherwise the mass may become moldy. It is better to under-ferment tea than over-ferment it.
If, in preparation for fermentation, the leaves were rolled between the palms into rolls, then after the end of fermentation they must be cut with a knife into washers up to 0.5 cm thick. You can cut the rolls and before fermentation
... Then the mass will be denser and fermentation will be better.
We spread the fermented mass on baking sheets covered with parchment, in a layer of 1 centimeter and gently loosen it so that there are no lumps.
Dry tea in the oven
at a temperature of 100 * C 1.5 - 2 hours. Keep the oven door slightly ajar. Then we lower the temperature to 50 * - 60 * C and dry it completely until the moisture is completely released. Stir the tea periodically and check the readiness of the tea leaves by touch. I mix the tea as follows. I lift the opposite corners of the paper, then the others. Tea is going to the center. Then I gently level the tea with my hands on the baking sheet (it does not burn). You can also stir with a spatula, but when stirring with your hands, the tea practically does not crumble than if you do it with a spatula.Well-dried tea has the color of ordinary tea, tea leaves break when squeezed, but do not crumble. When the bulk of the tea reaches this condition, we take out the trays from the oven and let the tea cool down to room temperature. Carefully! When tea is overexposed during drying, an admixture of the smell of burnt paper appears in the smell of finished tea.
This is how dried large leaf tea looks like:Drying tea to remove residual moisture
we carry out in a bag of thin fabric (in an old pillowcase) in the breeze in the shade in dry weather or in a room in rainy and damp weather. Shake the bag periodically so that the tea dries faster.
It is difficult to say how long the tea will take to dry. It depends on the weather. It happens that in damp weather, when the house is damp, tea is dried for a week. And in dry weather, one day is enough. If it is impossible to create conditions for drying the tea, then you can heat the oven to a minimum, turn it off and hold the tea there until the oven has completely cooled down (stir the tea periodically).
Well-dried tea is practically odorless and produces a dry rustling sound when shaken in a bag. If the tea has a strong aroma, it is not dry yet. Well dried tea granules do not crumble or crush, but break.
It is important to dry the tea well, otherwise it may become moldy during storage.
You can dry tea in a thick-walled frying pan
... For this, the mass is dried in small portions over medium heat with constant shaking for 30 minutes. Then reduce the heat and, stirring constantly with a wooden spatula, bring the leaves / granules to dryness.
You can successfully dry tea in airfryer
... In the Hotter airfryer it happens as follows. Put the tea in the heated AG on a tray and dry first for 15 minutes at a temperature of 150 * (medium speed), stir after 10 minutes. Then dry for 20 minutes by 85 * or 105 * (depending on how the AG heats - the speed is average). Dry at 65 * (medium speed). During the whole process, periodically stir the tea to dry evenly. Be sure to keep the lid ajar - you can put a skewer.
Tea can be dried using the method used by Chinese manufacturers for certain types of tea. This method is called "fry
". To do this, at the beginning of the drying, set the temperature 125 - 150 * for 10 - 20 minutes. This temperature allows the sugar of the plant juice to caramelize on the top of the granules and, as it were, seal the rest of the juice inside. Then dry the tea as described in the recipe. This method makes it easy caramel flavor and tea flavor.
If you have collected fireweed flowers
, then do not dry them together with the fermented mass, since the flowers dry out faster and at a temperature of 100 * C they can simply burn out. It is better to dry them separately in an oven or electric dryer at a temperature of 50 - 60 * C. They dry pretty quickly.
I will add that during drying, there is such a magical aroma in the whole house that just because of this it is worth making Ivan tea at least once. 6. Tea storage
Fireweed tea is stored in a dry, dark place in glass jars with plastic lids, birch bark or metal boxes. I store tea in disposable plastic containers with an inscription on them indicating the date of preparation and the degree of fermentation of the tea.
Tea is aged in cans / containers for at least a month for the so-called dry fermentation
... If you try to brew tea immediately after preparation, it may not impress you - you haven't brewed it yet. The longer the tea is stored, the better it becomes.
I wonder all the time - where does this "additional" smell come from after aging the tea? In a month - better than in a week. In a year, better than six months. And so on. Wonders! The longer the tea is stored, the better it becomes.
For daily use, I pour tea into metal boxes.
I like to mix Ivan-tea with dry fireweed flowers, dry berries of wild strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, lingonberries, mint, lemon balm, oregano.... ... - it turns out very beautifully, and the tea acquires a new taste and aroma.
7. Brewing tea
Rinse a clean kettle with boiling water, pour 1 - 2 teaspoons of tea per glass of boiling water, pour hot water, cover with a towel, let it brew for 10 minutes, then pour into cups without diluting with boiling water. And immediately pour the kettle over the second time, because the second infusion of tea is even tastier and more aromatic than the first. After another 15 minutes, pour the tea into cups - no need to let it stand still. And do not brew the same tea the next day! Even if you only poured it once, it won't work well after a break. Koporsk tea is drunk hot, warm or cold. When warming up cooled tea, try not to allow even the slightest boil of the drink. The subtle aroma will disappear immediately.
Leafy brewed tea is lighter in color than granular tea. Therefore, if you want a darker infusion, then make granulated tea.
You can drink willow tea with dried fruits, honey or jam. Sugar makes tea sugary. But you can drink without anything. The taste is already very good!
And this recipe branded Gorodets tea from fireweed
I read in the brochure of Margarita Voronina "Gorodets tea is a joy to the soul, health to the body."Bring the water to a boil (when the bubbles begin to come off the bottom). Prepare two teapots - a large one and a smaller one. Pour one teaspoon of ivan tea (per glass of water) into a small teapot, pour boiling water over and leave for 7-10 minutes. Then drain into a large kettle. Pour boiling water over the steamed tea leaves and insist again. And so - up to four times. For the last time, leave the brew for no more than three minutes. This is done in order to consistently extract useful ingredients from fireweed. The famous hanerol, which helps prevent malignant diseases, is extracted for the third or fourth time.
That's all, our Ivan-tea is ready
! When you first taste it, do not try to immediately compare the taste with something you already know, do not try to understand what it looks like. Fireweed tea is unlike anything, it has its own taste, its own and unique. Enjoy this taste!