We are still a few days from Mabon, so I thought I would share a recipe for Mabon tea! This recipe is my own, and will eventually appear in my Mabon cookbook. It is a long process so start a day before you want to drink it. The first step is to dehydrate some fruit. Here is what you need to start:
2 Apples, cored and sliced thinly
1/2 cup Raspberries
1/2 cup Strawberries
1 tsp lemon juice
Toss the apples with the lemon juice. This will help them keep their color, but it will also add a bit of a tang to the tea. If you don't have a dehydrator (I don't!) you can do this in the oven with a metal cooling rack on top of a cookie sheet. What I use is actually a mesh pizza pan I got from Canadian Wholesale for 12 bucks. Your local restaurant supply store should have something similar if you like. You can spray the rack or pan with non stick spray, but that will hinder the drying process slightly. I didn't have any trouble getting the dried fruit off without it. Lay the apple and berries evenly on the rack, and place in an oven heated to 170°F. Leave the oven door open slightly to allow air circulation, and it is even a good idea to have a fan running in the same room to aid it. It's great to do this on a cold day to help heat the house! Let the fruit dry in the oven, checking it every hour. It should take somewhere between 6 to 8 hours, depending on the size of the apple slices and berries. You will know they are done when you poke them and feel only slightly spongy - they will be mostly hard.
At this point, you can take the rack out of the oven. Let it cool slightly, then remove the pieces and put into a container. If pieces are stuck, it can help to use a knife to help get the off. You can now crush it up and use it for tea if you are going to use it within a few weeks. If you are planning on storing if for a long time, put it in a deep freeze (at least 0°) for a few days. This is very important especially if you have wild fruit, as it kills insect eggs. If you don't have a deep freeze, you probably know someone who does. You could also wait until winter to make if you live in a more northerly climate, and just put it outside. (-40, anyone?)
If you want to make this tea extra special, pop a cinnamon stick in the mug!