I have a good sized patch of catnip growing in my garden that’s threatening to overtake one of my pepper plants. So I decided that it was time to dry some catnip for tea.
Catnip (Nepeta cataria) is a member of the mint family and is apparently quite entrancing to cats. I don’t have cats so I can’t speak to that. Catnip acts as a sedative in human, and is thought to calm the stomach and the nerves (source). I drink it in the afternoon or evening, as a caffeine free alternative to green tea. It does have it’s own flavor, and is similar to mint. When I make my tea I like to mix catnip with a little bit of dried stevia for sweetness. You could also mix in mint leaves for a stronger mint taste.
To dry the leaves, I select a few good stems off of the plant. Rinse of the leaves to remove any dirt or bugs and pat dry.
Break off the leaves close to the leaf, leaving the stems on the plant. Lay the leaves in a single layer on a mesh dehydrator tray (I use an Excalibur).
Use an empty mesh sheet to cover the leaves and hold them flat. I found that without this step the leaves tended to blow a bit in the dehydrator. Adding the mesh on top as a weight minimizes cleanup and keeps them all where they belong. 🙂
Dry the catnip in your dehydrator on the lowest setting (95 degrees in the Excalibur) for 3-6 hours or until they are dry and crunchy.
When they are dry and crunchy, take them out and grind them up. I use a coffee grinder for this, but you could use a food processor or a mortar and pestle, or even just crunch them up with your fingers. I pulse the leaves in the grinder until they are small and powdery.
Place the dried and ground catnip in an airtight jar and use to make tea! I like to use a metal tea strainer to let it seep in the hot (but not boiling) water. You could also use your coffee maker, putting the tea in a filter basket in place of the coffee grounds (we do this often with green tea).
Please note: This information is for educational purposes only. I am not a doctor and I don’t have medical or nutritional training. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Always use common sense and do your own research before using herbs and plants in any way. Consult a medical professional before starting any treatment and with any and all questions.
This post is part of Simple Lives Thursday