photos: erin boyle/

Recently, a smart, lovely article by blogger Erin Boyle on Urban Foraging made a connection that we knew but were somehow too tired or blocked to make: that the stunningly fragrant linden trees in bloom in many parts of the country (and in New York City) are the very same ingredient used for an age-old tisane, or calming tea, served commonly in France. Its leaves and blossoms can be picked judiciously without harming the tree, and easily dried to make an herb tea to have on hand all year.

Erin told the story of getting up the courage to actually “forage” some linden in her Brooklyn neighborhood,and posted compelling photos of the process.  Her post was a bonk-on-the head for us. While walking through a nearby Manhattan park the other evening, and realizing that we were, in fact, in a small forest of linden like the ones we’d experienced in France years before – and even though we’d foraged many times in the city and out – we hadn’t taken it a step farther to realize we could pick some linden to make that stunning tea.

The lesson for us: that there is so much possibility right in front of us, AND we rely on others – whether friends or blogs or random info – to point the way.

Inspired by Erin’s post, we’d looked into linden. You’ll find basic info here, including where linden commonly grows across the country (Zone 3).

This short video gives the basics of identifying and foraging linden (video link here):

As for drying it, our how-to on drying fresh Lemon Verbena can be applied to linden. Or check out Erin’s method. A little jar of handpicked and dried linden tea would make a fine gift.

Linden tea is lovely in the afternoon, or at the end of a dinner party. To brew the tisane, crumble leaves in a heated tea pot. (I figure a small handful of whole leaves per cup – maybe 2 to 4 tablespoons, but you should fool around with amounts). Add boiling water and steep until it is the strength you like. Strain.

via The Equals Record; Erin Boyle’s blog is Reading My Tea Leaves

Related posts: xhow-to: verbena tea for whatever life brings
creating your (urban) homestead
the coffee improvisations (pt 1) + oscarina’s old brazil brewing method
the coffee improvisations (pt 2): roasting your own
leaving secret (or surprise) presents
radical shift: economist into farmer/foragerx

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6 replies on “Pick Some Linden, Make Some Tea

  1. Ahh… the effects of linden tea are so calming. I do not have the luxury of picking the fresh leaves and drying them myself since I live in a zone not suitable for them, but still lucky enough to find linden tea at the market. A wonderful gift to your well being is a box of linden tea, a mint plant (pots are great for small spaces), a lemon verbena plant (same pot solution) and you are ready to shed the stress of the day. Alternating them will give your tummy lining a break. Don’t forget to put your feet up!

    Great article! Thanks.

  2. thank you for this insite! i live in zone 3 in central new york and i just ordered a tree from the arbor day foundation! i know it’ll be afew years before the tree grows…. but it’ll be worth the wait!

  3. Ahh a reference to a Linden Tree!
    I don’t know if your blog is up for poetry but this one by Rita Dove is an absolute cracker and it mentions Linden Trees.
    How cools that, eh.
    Love the blog by the way;
    part of my daily read.
    – Brett.

    Ludwig Van Beethoven’s Return to Vienna

    “Oh you men who think or say that I am malevolent, stubborn,
    or misanthropic, how greatly do you wrong me…”
    – The Heiligenstadt Testament

    – – –

    Three miles from my adopted city
    lies a village where I came to peace.
    The world there was a calm place,
    even the great Danube no more
    than a pale ribbon tossed onto the landscape
    by a girl’s careless hand. Into this stillness

    I had been ordered to recover.
    The hills were gold with late summer;
    my rooms were two, plus a small kitchen,
    situated upstairs in the back of a cottage
    at the end of the Herrengasse.
    From my window I could see onto the courtyard
    where a linden tree twined skyward —
    leafy umbilicus canted toward light,
    warped in the very act of yearning —
    and I would feed on the sun as if that alone
    would dismantle the silence around me.

    At first I raged. Then music raged in me,
    rising so swiftly I could not write quickly enough
    to ease the roiling. I would stop
    to light a lamp, and whatever I’d missed —
    larks flying to nest, church bells, the shepherd’s
    home-toward-evening song — rushed in, and I
    would rage again.

    I am by nature a conflagration;
    I would rather leap
    than sit and be looked at.
    So when my proud city spread
    her gypsy skirts, I reentered,
    burning towards her greater, constant light.

    Call me rough, ill-tempered, slovenly — I tell you,
    every tenderness I have ever known
    has been nothing
    but thwarted violence, an ache
    so permanent and deep, the lightest touch
    awakens it. . . . It is impossible

    to care enough. I have returned
    with a second Symphony
    and 15 Piano Variations
    which I’ve named Prometheus,
    after the rogue Titan, the half-a-god
    who knew the worst sin is to take
    what cannot be given back.

    I smile and bow, and the world is loud.
    And though I dare not lean in to shout
    Can’t you see that I’m deaf? —
    I also cannot stop listening.

    – Rita Dove

  4. Incredibly destructive. Have some patience & pick the clusters & their leader leaves ONLY. No need to strip or cut entire branches.

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