FoodBrewing herbs: Essential tips for perfect infusions

Brewing herbs: Essential tips for perfect infusions

How to brew herbs?
How to brew herbs?
Images source: © Canva | Traci L Smith's Images

24 June 2024 22:24

Properly selected and prepared by the art, herbs excellently support the health of the body. Preparing a healthy infusion usually involves pouring hot water over fresh or dried herbs and letting it steep for a few minutes. However, details, subtleties, and nuances are important.

Initially, you should pay attention to the type of raw material you are dealing with. For bark, bulbs, stems, or roots, preparing a decoction or infusion may be essential, which means cooking the plants. On the other hand, if we are talking about tiny seeds, flowers, or leaves, it is enough to prepare a simple infusion by pouring hot water over the raw material and waiting for it to steep. However, to extract the full potential of the herbs, a few details should be considered.

How to properly brew herbs?

Firstly, the water where the herbs will be immersed should be low-mineralised and soft. If you have hard water, get a filter jug, for example. Adding a few drops of lemon is an excellent way to "soften" the water. Why is this so important? In soft water, compounds from the herbs dissolve better.

Secondly, herbs should be brewed in glass, porcelain, enamel, or stainless steel vessels. Avoid copper and aluminium, as they may react with the infusion, changing its properties. Remember to brew the raw material under a cover (this way, valuable compounds will not evaporate with the steam).

How to brew herbs?
How to brew herbs?© Canva | JanPietruszka

Brewing herbs: Pay special attention to this

The temperature of brewing herbs is critical. It should be adjusted to the raw material you are dealing with. Generally, water that has not been brought to a boil, around 90–95°C, is recommended because it allows the extraction of valuable compounds from the herbs without destroying their properties. Similarly, the brewing time varies: gentler herbs need 5-7 minutes, and more intense ones need 10-15 minutes.

Herbs with a low brewing temperature include chamomile or lemon balm. It is best to pour water over them at 85–90°C. Mint, sage, or horsetail, generally most medicinal herbs, require a temperature of 90–95°C. Higher temperatures are better for herbs with strong properties, such as ginger or rosemary.

After brewing, the herbs should be strained. It is not worth over-steeping them. Firstly, it may adversely affect the taste and properties of the infusion, and secondly, over-steeped herbs cannot be brewed again. Importantly, herbs, like any other product, have specific recommendations regarding preparation and usage and contraindications that should be followed.

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