OK, I couldn’t resist that title.
I’ve been working on a little experiment I thought I’d fill you in on, since it seems to be going pretty well. A couple months ago Larry Ballas of Larry Ballas farms (another vendor at Western Wake) introduced me to Tulsi tea. I had never heard of it. It’s actually not even tea, which is technically a beverage prepared from the leaf of camellia sinesis, it’s a tisane, which is a beverage prepared by steeping plant matter (other than camellia sinesis) in hot water. Larry suggested that maybe he could grow it and I could add it to our tea menu.
Tulsi, or Ocimum tenuiflorum, is a variety of basil. I don’t think it’s hugely popular here, given that nobody I know, except Larry, had ever heard of it. But based on the little bit of research I’ve done, it’s very popular on other parts of the world, especially India, where it’s known as “holy basil”. People there have been using it for thousands of years for both its flavor and medicinal properties.
Well, what I can tell you is, it’s pretty tasty. Debbie used her new dehydrator to dry up a test batch that Larry grew last month. I’ve been experimenting with brewing the leaves, the flowers, and combinations of leaves and flowers, both in tulsi-only tisanes, and combined with other ingredients. Tonight I made the first batch I would consider truly successful. I’m looking for volunteer taste testers, so if you’re willing to provide feedback I’ll give you a small sample.
The only potential problem I see is that I tend to like it in fairly high concentration, i.e., lots of tulsi per serving, and it’s a pain to dry, so I can see it being kind of expensive. But we’ll see how we net out after we get some volunteer taste testers.
Give me a shout if you want to participate.