Robert Burn's Moorland Tea
I read about Robert Burns' favourite tea in a foraging book, and after a little research, found the ingredients list. I wanted this to be a little project for Arthur and I to gather all of the ingredients, process and dry them together so we could reproduce it, but also so he could get to experience some different foraging locations and plants. Gathering the ingredients took us to Bilberry-filled forests, the Whitelee Moor National Nature Reserve for Heather tops and Thyme, and our local deciduous woods for wild Strawberry and Bramble. Arthur got to eat the berries while we foraged for the leaves, so he was a very happy boy, indeed.
The tea itself is subtle, with floral notes from the heather and hints of apple from the leaves. I personally like my tea to be rather strong, so I like to add half a teaspoon of fine black tea leaves into the strainer with the Moorland mix and sweeten the resulting tea with a little honey. A good addition, thinks Arthur, is a dollop of homemade Blackberry cordial or Jam instead of sugar.
Certainly a labour of love, but we both really enjoyed it! We always save some for Burns Night in January, too to have after Haggis!
Prep Time: 1 Hour
Drying Time: 24 Hours
Quantity: Makes a 500ml Jar
- 1 Part Bilberry Leaf
- 1 Part Wild Strawberry Leaf
- 1 Part Bramble Leaf
- 1 half-Part Wild Thyme
- 1 half-Part Ling Heather Tops
- 1 half-Part Speedwell Flowers* / Bell Heather Tops
* Speedwells flower earlier in the year than the rest of the ingredients. You can use pre-dried flowers, or replace these with Bell Heather tops instead.
- Strip all the berry leaves from the stems (take care with the bramble as these may have small thorns) and place in the dehydrator. To help with amounts, we use one dehydrator shelf as one part, and roughly half a shelf as a half-part.
- Place the intact Thyme, ling and bell heather flowers, complete with stems, in the dehydrator on a seperate shelf.
- Dry all the ingredients for 24 hours.
- Strip the dried Thyme leaves and heather flowers into a bowl and discard the stems.
- Place all of the other dried ingredients into the bowl with the flowers and Thyme and mix, before transferring to a clean jar for storage.
- To make the tea, steep 1-2 tspn full of the moorland mix in just-boiled water for 5 minutes. You can also add a teaspoon of fine black tea leaves to the mix, and sweeten with honey or sugar, if desired.