Linden Tea, anyone?

I noticed some weird papery-looking, leafy things in a box in MC’s house the other day.  Being a nosy git, I went over and poked at them.  They looked a little like cape gooseberries, but without the berry part.

What are they? I asked.  Fleurs de Tilleul, I was told.  I already knew that tilleul is the French word for a linden tree, but I had no idea what one would do with their flowers.

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Linden Tree

What do you do with them? I asked.  Make a tisane, I was told.  Would I like some?  Cool, why not!  I love trying new things.

We went outside and Georges chopped a few branches off the linden tree that grows up against the front wall of the house.  Each branch was heavy with flowers.  The scent is wonderful – a fresh, green smell which is not too strong and not too sweet.

DSCF0551We then chopped the branches into smaller pieces so we could fit them into the back of the Fiat 500 (Jeepy is in the garage. Again.)

And I spent the afternoon of my birthday sitting in the shade, pulling the flowers off those branches.  This is what a single flower looks like :

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The leafy-looking thing is actually part of the flower.  I think it’s called a sepal?

This tisane stuff had better be nice.  I’ve got a lot of it to get through.

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6 thoughts on “Linden Tea, anyone?

  1. We had a big Linden in our courtyard, when we lived in France. I love that light, fresh fragrance and the happy sound of contented bees. I dried those flowers and also leaves of lemon Verbena to steep in hot water for tisane. Once dried, they keep forever. Husband’s daughter made a wickedly good liqueur version, with pure alcohol purchased from the pharmacy.
    Roger-Gallet makes wonderful fine milled soaps perfumed with Linden, or French Lime, as it can be called. I use them as soap but also set them in between my sweaters in the closet.

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    • French lime! I never knew that was another name for them!
      We have verveine in the garden, and I have some left from last year. DO you mix the two?
      I have also had some pretty impressive vervain liqueur!

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  2. When I read your stories I too thought it was quite funny you had moved to my part of France while I had moved to the west of Ireland. But no matter where we go we always seem to find something to remind us of home, even an evocative perfume like that of linden blossom or lavender which grows quite happily in galway.
    Manosque has changed a lot, not for the better especially with the old town being deliberately abandonned so that a new more modern area with ” shops” can be developed. As for montfuron, well it still is a sleepy village but has also lost the conviviality of some 45 years ago when everyone would gather on hot afternoons in the shade of the linden trees, adults talked, played cards, women knitted or mended clothes and all the children played around the square. Do you know that theses trees provide the strongest shade of all trees, good to know if you are looking for a shelter for your horses.
    Thank you for your reply I will keep enjoying reading your posts, they are very perceptive of that part of provence.
    Georgette

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    • Sounds idyllic! I grew up in Shannon which was a new town. No-one had any roots there so it was a childhood like no other, I would say.
      Someday we will buy here… when the property market improves in Ireland and we can sell our place. So I will watch out for linden trees 🙂

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  3. Hi martine, I have been reading your blog for the last 2 years. Found a review of “chez eric” when I was looking for photos of montfuron and manosque where I grew up. Living in oranmore galway for the last 28 years. I never sent a comment before but the linden blossom bring me back to my childhood in montfuron and manosque, the beautiful scent in the evenings. You will enjoy the tisane sweetened with miel de lavande. It is a very soothing tea, helps you to sleep. Good luck with it. I actually found linden trees all over ireland especially planted on the avenues going up to the old manor houses . When I was expecting I followed the scent as I was coming out of my gp to a garden up the road and stole some of the flowers. They made me so happy !
    Best wishes from a cold Oranmore .
    Georgette Farrell

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    • Hi Georgette this has to be one of my favourite comments I’ve ever received! How funny that you went to Ireland and I came here! I had never seen Linden trees in Ireland in fact I had no idea that they even existed until MC mentioned tilleul one day and then looked it up afterwards to see what it was in english. The flowers dried very quickly and I had my first cup of tilleul a week after picking them. It’s really nice, it lacks the bitterness that camomile has. TBH I didn’t think it needs sweetening but I will suggest lavender honey to any guests with a sweet tooth.
      I’m sure Manosque has changed hugely since you grew up here, it’s got a lot of new buildings. But I would say Montfuron is much the same… a peaceful little village. Amazing views.

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