My first memories of Iced Tea in the Summer were of brewing this beautiful amber elixir in large glass carafes with my mother. Always the elegant and creative teacher, my mother had a multi-gallon dispenser specifically for sun tea which she brought out every year — complete with painted sunflowers on the outside. She filled the jar with bags of spiced tea and lemon slices, fresh water, and then placed it on the porch ledge before the height of the intense afternoon sun. My amazement at how the color developed and flavor strengthened without us having to do anything other than kick our feet up and watch stays with me even today.
I cherish those memories of my first foray into making summer beverages and offer this recipe to all those moms looking to engage their kids in a healthy summertime activity — or engage themselves for a little loving variety.
Herbal Sun Tea
makes 8 cups
Fill a glass carafe or dispenser with:
8 cups of filtered water.
Add ½ cup (or more to taste) loosely packed organic herbs or flowers, such as:
- lemon verbena
- rose petals
- sliced lemongrass
Optional – include 1 cup sliced lemon, lime, orange, OR cucumber.
Stir to combine, and place glass dispenser in an outdoor spot with full sunlight exposure before the height of afternoon sun (between 10am and 1pm, depending on location). Allow to steep in sunlight until the sun begins to set (between 5pm and 8pm, depending on location).
Use a slotted spoon to remove tea, herbs, and flowers.
Fill each glass with ice, and pour tea overtop. Chill remaining tea for next use.
Sweeten one cup at a time, if desired, with honey, agave nectar, or maple syrup. Alternatively, dissolve a larger quantity of sweetener in 1 cup of heated brewed tea and stir into entire batch.