Here comes a very nice christmas gift idea for tea lovers – homemade diy fruit tea with rose hips, apples and oranges!
Homemade fruit tea – which fruits?
For my fruit tea I used a mixture of dried rose hips, apple peels, and lemon and orange peels. I also added some dried lemon balm, but can recommend dried mint too.
If you want to have it more Christmas-like, you can, for example, add cinnamon, cloves and/or anise to the mixture and give it away as a mulled wine mix or special Christmas tea!
Not in season right now, but also very good are all kinds of dried berries, like raspberries, strawberries, blueberries,…
Dry the fruits very well in the oven or in a warm, dry room, put into a nice can or a mason jar and it’s finished 😉
Taste: The homemade fruit tea does not taste as you know it from the supermarket, because most of the bought tea have artificial flavor added. So you kind of have to get used to the natural taste. But this way, you get your tea without any artificial flavors, and you can use tons of leftover apple peels, orange and lemon peels! I personally liked the flavor of apple peels the best! The rose hips do not taste particularly intensive, but are very nice to look at and quite healthy. 😉
Drying fruits for DIY fruit tea
The fruits can be either air-dried or in the oven, depending on how much time you have. In the air, the fruits have to dry for appr. 2 weeks so that they are completely dry. If you want to collect rose hips for your tea, you’ve still got time to do it NOW, in early December. 😉
How to collect and dry rose hips
Rose hips are full of vitamins, so if you have a rose bush with rose hips nearby, don’t waste them! 😉 For collecting rose hips, the best time ist between november and early december. In Vienna, for example, there are still a lot of rose bushes on the Danube Island. I have dried the rose-hips as whole fruits – since cutting them and removing the seeds is totally annoying and the seeds are really itchy!
The whole rose hip fruits need to dry longer than the apple, lemon and orange peels. I dried them for 8 hours in the oven and then left to airdry for 2 weeks or so. Without the oven they would need a bit longer to dry. Then it would be good to place them near the heating or at a warm dry place. I placed them on baking racks with parchment paper. For airdrying, I changed the parchment paper with a cloth.
How to dry apple, orange and lemon peels
I peeled the apples, lemons and oranges with a peeler and cut them into small pieces. Watch out that the oranges and lemons are organic fruits, you may not want to drink pesticides with your tea. From the leftover apples one can then make for example some apple compote, apple sauce or apple strudel. (Click here for my Apple Strudel recipe)
Drying in the oven: The apples, lemon and orange peels need about 6-8 hours (at 40°C/ 104°F) circulating air. I have divided the drying to 2 days and dried for 4 hours each. In between I took the baking racks out of the oven, so that they can dry in the air. In no case add fruits to a jar which are not 100% dry, otherwise it molds!
Lemon balm and mint leaves
The lemon balm was comparatively easy and quick to dry. Here I simply bought a pot of fresh organic lemon balm from the supermarket and then “harvested” it.
Cloves, cinnamon and anise
For the special Christmas mix, add a few cloves, cinnamon sticks or anise, chopped into pieces. But not too much, otherwise the taste becomes too intense.
The fruit tea mixture
For a handful of rose hips you need about 5-6 apples, and 2-3 oranges to get a balanced mixture. Lemon I used only one. But best you try your own favorite mixture!
The packaging – DIY Fruit tea gift set
For the packaging I collected different jars. I also tried to fill the tea mixture into purchased tea bags (see picture below), but in my opinion, the result is not worth the effort. I would rather recommend to add a small glass of honey and a pack of tea bags and make it a perfect diy fruit tea christmas tea set!
Have fun collecting, drying and experimenting with the diy fruit tea and Merry Christmas to you all!