I keep a jar of Spearmint Tea in the fridge all summer long. A staple at family picnics and reunions, it's a favorite drink of many folks in this farming valley. Mountain Tea, Catnip Tea, and Meadow Teas are naturalized plants in Pennsylvania and can be found where creeks and rivers flow. I think wild teas have a more intense flavor compared to hybrid varieties grown in green houses (in which case, more tea is needed for a stronger brew).
SUMMER SPEARMINT TEA
10 Stems of Spearmint
1/2 Gallon of Water
To make a half gallon of spearmint tea, I cut 10 stems of fresh Spearmint about 10 inches long. My tea kettle holds a half gallon of water. As the water comes to a boil, I rinse the tea to get rid of the bugs or grass clippings then cluster the stems with a rubber band and place in the boiling water.
After boiling several minutes I turn off the heat and let the tea leaves steep for several hours. This makes a strong mint concentrate. When cool, strain the liquid into a half gallon jar and compost the wilted stems. Add sugar or honey to taste. Serve it chilled in pint jars with fresh tea leaves and cracked ice.