Red Clover Tea
I’m gobsmacked by the untold teas displayed on supermarket shelves. I shouldn’t be -most fresh off the blocks ‘manufactured’ products not much more than a copywriter whizz kid and a computer aided design nanosecond away. Variation ad nauseam on virtually anything and everything these days as businesses scrabble to gain and retain market share.
Of course we’re not immune to the choice bug in general. Who is? A latter-day Robinson Crusoe would have the flotsam and jetsam of modern civilization wash up on the shores of his deserted island. Scratching his itchy, new growth beard and umming and ahing: “Do I choose a Coco Cola or a Pepsi bottle for my water?” (Robby Crusoe talking to himself before Man Friday turned up, his gaze transfixed by ‘I’ve been everywhere man’ cultural icons.)
Returning to tea, I can open a cupboard and offer you a choice of the following:
- Broken Orange Pekoe tea
- English Breakfast tea
- Earl Grey tea
- Green tea
- Green tea with Jasmine
- Chamomile and Passionflower tea
- Chamomile and Vanilla tea
- Chamomile and Peppermint tea
- Peppermint tea
- Lemon Balm, Lavender and Chamomile tea
- Tulsi (Holy Basil), Ginger and Cinnamon tea
- Red Clover tea
I’ve never seen Red Clover tea on supermarket shelves though, and Health 2000 always had to order it in for us. So when we joined the tsunami of consumers who moved online to do some shopping, I started buying one hundred tea bags at a time direct from the Christchurch company that Health 2000 got it from.
What do you get when a food or beverage that’s bloody expensive for what it is comes up against a June Cooper version homesteader? Woo – slow down. Now in her mid-60s she’s in deadly earnest when she asks the question: “I’d like to produce my own, but these days have I really got the time, patience and energy?”
A few years ago now, she answered the tea question: “The red clover’s in flower in our paddocks over summer so I might as well harvest some.” After a couple of years she worked out she needed 1500 flower heads (June’s a stickler for detail), to make enough tea to last her a year.
Late to harvest the first year, when the flowers started to dry in the gauze netting suspended from our near ceiling height clothes drying rack, hundreds of tiny caterpillars, flowers no longer to their liking, proceeded to dangle down on very fine half metre long threads. Right behind our dining room table! A great incentive to harvest early in the season before the bugs have established themselves in the flower heads.
The flowers are given a month to dry out before being whizzed around in the food processor until fragmented into individual petals. At a glance, I’d say each flower head has anywhere between fifty and a hundred petals. Dry but not crumbly, the tea’s stored in large glass jars with tight seals.
Put a heaped teaspoon (or more according to taste), of dried flower petals into a tea sieve sitting on top of a mug, slowly pour over boiling water, let the brew infuse for five to ten minutes. You’re good to go!
But why go there at all? What’s so special about Red Clover tea? You read all the guff and still don’t know whether you’d be better off just drinking more water!
June started drinking a mug a day during menopause. A bit too ‘erby-earthy to begin with, it wasn’t long before she was enjoying it as a pleasant and refreshing early afternoon drink. All the more rewarding because it was home-grown and homemade, and just might give a tweak in the right direction to body chemistry imbalances setting in during menopause and beyond.
As you might be aware, red clover contains chemical compounds that have some similarities to oestrogen. So one of the key ways it is promoted as a supplement is to suggest that it might help alleviate hot flushes and night sweats during menopause. Here’s one I found online:
An article in ‘healthline’, after a survey of the research studies, summarised them this way:
Red clover may help decrease menopausal hot flushes, though more research is needed. There’s not enough research showing it can improve cholesterol levels, strengthen bones, promote weight loss, or treat cancer, asthma, or other conditions.https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/red-clover
“I’ve made my choice,” I say in a deep manly voice: “Long Black!”
That’s all on modern-day homesteading at Little Owl Gully till next Monday. Thanks for your company. Bye for now.