Dried chrysanthemum flower buds don't look terribly impressive, but when they're dropped into water, the petals unfurl, releasing their delicate fragrance. The flavor is mildly sweet with an herbal honey note and the color ranges from pale to bright yellow. The tisane may be served hot or cold, and we especially enjoy drinking it chilled with a light spring meal. (Chinese herbalists consider the flower buds to be cooling and use them to treat fever, sore throat, and heat-related ailments.) To make iced chrysanthemum tea, bring one cup of water to a boil, then add one tablespoon of dried chrysanthemum flowers and simmer for two to five minutes (the longer it simmers, the strong the flavor and color). Add sugar or honey to taste (optional) and stir to dissolve. Remove from heat, strain, and serve chilled. You can also add a teaspoon of goji berries to the simmering tea to give it little bursts of sweet-sour flavor.
Buy it: Chrysanthemum Flower Bud, $11 at Bird PickRelated: Sorrel, Bissap, Jamaica: Hibiscus Tea Around the World (Images: Emily Ho)