I have a potted indoor Bearss lime tree, happily purchased last year from Mile 5.2 Greenhouse in Eagle River, Alaska. It’s just a few feet high, and it offers plenty of flowers, but hasn’t produced full-sized limes yet.
I’ve noticed the lime tree leaves smell great when you rub them or scratch them. They don’t give off much of an odor right away, but treat those lime leaves like a scratch ‘n’ sniff sticker, and they hold an incredible aroma that actually smells just like limes.
Since the leaves smell so amazing, I wanted to try them in a hot tea.
I started by picking a handful of the newest, youngest looking leaves off of the tree.
I started by lightly rinsing the leaves. Although I haven’t used any chemicals on the lime tree, I did have it living outdoors this past summer and I’m sure it saw its fair share of bugs and birds.
I turned the oven to 175-degrees F and put the leaves in a small glass dish. I let them sit in the oven about 20 minutes, then flipped them and let them sit for another 20 minutes. After 40 minutes of total drying time, I turned the oven off and let the leaves stay in the oven to slowly cool.
The scent of warm limes was in the air, filling my kitchen with an incredible burst of citrus. It smelled quite lovely.
After the Bearss lime tree leaves were dried and cool, I lightly crushed them and put them in a regular coffee filter. I had some string lying around, and used it to tie the coffee filter shut.
Voila – an easy homemade teabag without needing to buy anything special.
I heated up a few ounces of water and plopped in my homemade lime leaf teabag.
After letting it steep for a few minutes, there wasn’t much color change. It took about 10 minutes of letting it soak in the hot water before the tea really changed color.
At its darkest, the tea color was only a pale yellowish-green. It was about what you’d expect for tea made only of green leaves.
The smell was light and fruity and sweet – the scent slightly reminded me of the cereal Fruity Pebbles. Not quite what I was expecting! It smelled slightly of limes, but more of sweet citrus.
Before trying it, I was expecting it to have a bitter lime taste, like citrus rinds usually do.
Instead, the taste was earthy, green, full and only had a very light lime flavor. I thought it would be bitter, but this hot tea – made entirely out of dried Bearss lime tree leaves – was totally smooth and had a light finish. It smelled a lot fruitier than it tasted.
After I was finished, I tossed the homemade teabag into my compost.
Overall, I’ll call it a success.
One day, if my small lime tree grows much larger and has plenty of leaves to spare, I would happily make this again – and next time with the intention of sharing, now that I know it’s actually good!