By Ambassador Laura Killingbeck
Whenever I ride my bike, I’m always looking for snacks. I stay alert to the shape, color, or smell of wild edibles on the side of the road. Purslane, chicken-of-the-woods, autumn olives, and elderberries are all common where I live. Sometimes I’m extra lucky and food falls from the sky in the form of wild fruit. I always carry an extra pannier or two to collect wild foods as I ride.
I especially love foraging for wildflowers. Flowers are beautiful and often tasty. I enjoy the subversiveness of eating floral arrangements and bouquets. It reminds me that even though I’m human, I’m still a wild animal.
In southeastern Massachusetts, June is a great time to gather beach rose petals for tea. Beach roses range in color from white to deep red, and have a subtle, soothing fragrance. The petals are ready to harvest when they come off easily with a gentle tug.
Please only take one or two petals from each flower, so the bees have plenty of landing pads to access nectar. Please say thank you to the rose for sharing such a beautiful treasure. This is another lesson I learn from flowers–even though I’m a wild animal, I’m still fully human. I feel grateful for an emotional connection with the many forms and forces of life that shape the earth in its current state of transience.
Mint Rose Tea
Fresh beach rose petals
- Dry the rose petals and the mint. You can do this in a solar or electric dehydrator. Or you can just lay or hang the plants in a warm, dark, dry place with plenty of airflow.
The plants are dry when they break easily in your fingers.
2. Remove the leaves from the mint plants and crush them in your fingers. Crush the dried rose petals to about the same size.
3. Mix three parts mint with one part dried rose petals. Store in a glass jar in a dark place. Dried mint rose tea lasts for up to a year.
How to Brew Mint Rose Tea
Brew mint rose tea at a ratio of one tablespoon per cup of water. Bring the water to a boil and pour it over the tea. Let it steep for five minutes. Strain and enjoy.
There are many ways to strain herbal tea. Some people use stainless steel tea balls or cloth sacks. I prefer a stainless steel mesh strainer that fits on top of a mug or mason jar. I find this method easy to use and easy to clean.
Medicinal Benefits of Mint Rose Tea
Mint is a fragrant, invigorating, and balancing herb. It aids digestion, soothes stress, and improves focus. Read more about peppermint’s uses at the American Botanical Council.
Rose petals add color, fragrance, and improve circulation. They are often experienced as a symbol of love. Read more in the Plants for a Future database.
Confessions and Commentary
I confess that I had no idea that mint rose tea was a “real tea” when I made it. I just happened to have some mint and some rose petals, so I tossed them together and called it an herbal tea.
Then I served it to my friend Maxx, and he gave me a weird look and said, “How did you know this is my favorite tea?” Then I asked him why it’s his favorite tea and he paused and said, “Because the mint calms me.” Then he paused again and said, “And the rose calms me.” Then we both sat there sipping our tea.
Full Cycle Bike Foraging
The best part of bike foraging is packing up your foraged foods for your next overnight bike trip. Mint rose tea tastes even better when sipped from a thermos at a beautiful campsite.