Boil the Herbs
Bring your water to a boil. While your water is heating up, you can measure out the herb mixture. We need 15g of dry herbs for 1.5 litres of water. Add the herb mixture and stir thoroughly just as the water is just beginning to come to the boil. You want to cook the tea at a rolling boil; that’s just above simmering, but not boiling over. You will have to adjust the heat accordingly. Put the lid back on and set a timer for 10 minutes.
You can start preparing the utensils while waiting and give the bottles and the jugs a good scrub. You can use the bottlebrush on the sieve as well. Like the pan, it is always good to keep a sieve for the tea. Make sure all the utensils are well rinsed. Leave them to dry on a tea towel until you are ready to pour the tea.
Steep for 12 Hours Turn off the gas, or remove the pan from the heat as soon as the ten minutes are up. There will probably be some of the herbs stuck to the pan during cooking. Take the clean spoon and pour scolding water from the kettle over it. Now scrape the residual herbs from the side of the pan and stir them well into the tea. Put the lid back on the pan and leave it completely undisturbed for 12 hours. If you have to leave the tea longer, then leave no more than 18 hours. Make sure you put the pan in a cool dark place. Put it in a fridge if you live in a hot climate. Wash the spoon and rinse it thoroughly and leave under the tea towel with the rest of the utensils.
Reheat the Tea This is where you have to pay attention because you need to heat it to steaming hot, not to boiling. Never re-boil the tea. Always remember … Never re-boil the tea!!
When you can see the herbs are beginning to bubble, keep watching the pan and get ready. When it is hot and steamy and just beginning to simmer but not boil, remove it from the heat and allow it to stand for a few minutes to allow the herbs to settle. Using oven gloves or a tea towel, take out the bottles and the jugs one by one and stand them on a heat proof surface on the table.
Bottling Lift the lid on the tea. You should see that the herbs are beginning to settle. Using the smaller jug, carefully lift up the tea trying to disturb the sediment as little as possible, then straining it through the sieve. The tea will darken slightly and the sediment will drop to the bottom of the bottle as it cools. Don’t put the scooping jug down on the table until you are through dipping the tea. It can stand in the sterilizing pan in between scoops. The sediment from the herbs can go back onto the garden.
Now pour the prepared tea into the bottles and put the lids on as soon as each bottle is full. Never filter the tea. Always remember – Never filter the tea!
The sediment at the bottom of each bottle is normal and should not detract from the keeping quality of the tea. You may find the last bottle has more sediment than the others, but this will soon settle down once the bottle is cold. Some people like to shake up the bottle and drink that as well. I don’t, but it is a matter of personal taste. I don’t like the bits between my teeth.
Some settlement is normal in a bottle of Essiac Tea. However, if you don’t pay enough attention to the sterilizing process, or you forget to put the bottle back in the fridge after you’ve been using it, you may notice after four or five days you have a fur ball of mould on top of the sediment in the bottom of the bottle. It will be quite distinct; you’ll not mistake it. When you take the top of the bottle the smell will be very rancid and it is disgusting. There is only one place to put it and that is the sink.
Dirty tools and forgetting the rules make mouldy tea!
*You can make smaller batches by using ½ or ¼ of the ingredient quantities listed above