Teaberry (Gaultheria procumbens) is a very common plant under Jack Pine trees on dry sandy soil in my neck of the woods. The red berries are starting to get large and will be a nice cold weather treat from now until May any time they are visible as they may possibly be snow covered for a few weeks to 4 months, time will tell.
Today I’m gathering a few berries but mostly the plant leaves for tea. Some folks prefer the red leaves which seem to grow in the drier sunnier areas.
I’m also collecting some green Teaberry leaves from a shadier area to compare the 2 different colored leaves flavour.
Ah, a wet spot in the Jack pines and here we see some green Teaberry leaves and below them is Moxie-plum (Gaultheria hispidula) which has tasty white berries during the summer and its wintergreen leaves may even make a better tea than teaberries. So I’m going to do some Gaultheria tea testing in the next few days.
Here we see a larger mature stem with many small round leaves this one is well over a foot long.
I found a couple tea testers here at the house who will sample both the red and green Teaberry teas and also the Moxie-plum leaf tea in coming days as I must first ferment the leaves for a day or 2 before the tea tasting begins.
Gaultheria products are rarely made today though they were used many years ago. I suspect the Teaberry gum in the video was originally made with Teaberries in the early 1900s but by the time of the 1960′s video probably was made with more easily obtained ingredients, nevertheless the videos is kinda fun and the song was a popular instrumental when I was a lad. I will post the results of our (in-house tea tasting event) as an update in this post in a few days.
UPDATE Nov 19/2013
Both Gaultheria procumbens and Gaultheria hispidula leaves when fermented for 2 days make incredibly great teas. Gaultheria hispidula won the (in-house tea tasting event) by 2 votes to 1 as it was slightly more smooth though both were truly flavourful.
Since Gaultheria procumbens is one of our most common forest plants I will choose it as the one I gather and ferment frequently this winter. If you live where this plant is common, enjoy fresh air and walking in the woods and also have space for a few small mason jars to ferment for a day or 2, then you clearly owe this small investment of timely pleasure to yourself. This is one tasty medicinal tea. cheers