Honeysuckle Sweet Tea
Have you ever tried Honeysuckle Sweet Tea? It is a true southern delicacy and only available once a year.
I always know when summer is just around the corner here in Georgia. The honeysuckle vine will start to bloom and fill the air with the sweet fragrance that reminds me of sitting on the porch swing on summer nights during my youth. Honeysuckle Sweet Tea is a true southern delicacy and only comes around once a year, so you must take advantage of it when you can.
Honeysuckle Tea is an old southern recipe that immediately takes me back to hunting for fireflies at dusk on these late spring and early summer evenings. As a kid we were so lucky to have a wild Honeysuckle vine that grew along our fence which backed up to a small creek. I remember my friends and I would spend what seemed like hours plucking the golden blossoms and carefully exposing that single drop of savory honey.
Now 35 years later, I am so very lucky to have a home with a large wood line that backs up to a creek where the wild honey suckle grows in my backyard. It is honeysuckle season and this year I was able to catch it at full bloom to harvest a large quantity needed to make a few pitchers of a coveted southern favorite, Honeysuckle Sweet Tea. So a grabbed a bucket and filled it with some water to keep the vine fresh along with some clippers and went foraging. First, let me say that the aroma alone was heavenly, and I found myself partaking in a few straight off the vine, just like when I was a kid. I even called my sweet husband over for a few, which immediately took him back to his youth and we started to share never before told stories which was fun…. ahhh the simple pleasures. So as I gather the vine, my goal was to get ones that had a lot with golden yellow blossoms, since those will yield the most flavor. Once I had enough, I took them back up to my potting bench seen in the picture. I removed the golden blossoms, rinsed in cool water and store them in a covered container over night in a refrigerator to get all of the bugs off the plants. I also stored the remaining vine for floral decorating in my floral cooler in the original bucket. When prepping for the tea, remove the green stem and bulb base at the bottom of the flowers but be sure to NOT pull out the stamen, that is where the honey is located. Then follow the simple recipe below:
Honeysuckle Sweet Tea
- 4 cups Honeysuckle Blossoms
- 1 pinch Baking Soda
- 4 cups Water
- 1 Honey or Stevia optional
- 1 Mint or Lemon Thyme optional
Pluck the blossoms from the honeysuckle vine, try to choose the most yellow/golden flowers for the sweetest flavor.
Rinse in cool water and store in a covered container over night in a refrigerator to get bugs off the plants.
Remove the green stem and bulb base at the bottom of the flowers. DO NOT pull out the stamen, that is where the honey is located.
Bring 3-4 cups of water to boil in a kettle on the stove and pour over the flowers. Stir the flowers very gently and then place a cover over your pitcher.
The flowers will need to steep for a minimum of 1 hour, but I highly recommend 2-3 hours for a nice stronger flavor. I also like to put mine in a sunny window as you would with a sun tea.
While warm add a pinch of baking soda during this process as I do with all teas to draw out the flavors and removes bitterness (this is a southern sweet tea trick for all tea)
Pour tea into a pitch through a strainer to the honeysuckle flowers and any other debris from your tea.
Tea can be stored in refrigerator for a week in an airtight container, however for best results served immediately over ice.
Fill a large glass with ice. Pour the honeysuckle water over the ice. Sweeten with desired sweetener we prefer local honey or stevia. Garnish with fresh mint, or lemon thyme.You can adjust taste by adding water if the flavor is too strong. Enjoy!
I have heard that honeysuckle contains many healing properties for inflammation, headaches, colds, fevers, and even arthritis. I personally have never experienced any of these since I only get it once a year, but I do enjoy this little taste of the south! So, I just had to share this honey based, home brewed tea, which was perfect this season with my Honey Bee Tablescape theme. Hopefully this recipe gets to you before honeysuckle season is in full bloom in your area so you can give it a try, because you are going to love it!
BREW YOUR OWN PARTY: