Wintergreen oil has a bold flavor, but it can overpower other herbs. Instead of using purchased oil for teas, use dried wintergreen leaves from your garden. While the leaves still impart the flavor and aroma of wintergreen, they are milder than the commonly available oil. Proper drying and storage ensures that the wintergreen maintains its flavor until you are ready to make a hot cup of tea.
Cut leaves from the outside of the wintergreen plant when they are fully open and undamaged. Cut stems early in the day once the dew has evaporated from the foliage, as wet leaves are prone to mildewing instead of drying properly.
Strip the wintergreen leaves from the stems. Rinse them briefly in a colander under cool water to remove any dirt or dust. Pat the leaves dry with a paper towel.
Cover a tray or baking pan with a layer of cheesecloth or use a fine mesh screen for drying. Spread the wintergreen leaves on the cheesecloth so they do not overlap or touch.
Set the tray in a warm, well-ventilated room away from direct sunlight. Turn the leaves every other day to ensure even drying. Dry the leaves until they are crisp, which takes approximately one week.
Place the leaves in a jar or bag and seal. Store in a cool, dark place until you are ready to use the wintergreen leaves.