Monday, June 9, 2014

Munchy Monday: Summer Sun Tea

 My mom used to put sun tea out every other day during the summer when I was a kid. I remember carrying the gallon jar so carefully out to the backyard, trying not to drop it. I was always so proud when she asked me to do this because it seemed like such a delicate job.

I actually did drop it on one occasion, so maybe her trust in me was misplaced.

Now that I'm an adult, sun tea is a summer staple in our refrigerator. It's such a great basic to have on-hand as you can always make sweet tea, Arnold Palmers or iced tea cocktails! The possibilities are endless!

Now, many of you may already know how to make sun tea, but in case you don't, I've got you covered!

What You Need:

  • Glass Jug or Pitcher- Make sure the pitcher has a lid, as you don't want any bugs or floatys to get into your tea. If your chosen container doesn't have a lid, cover it with some plastic wrap. Easy peasy! 
  • Tea of your choice- I feel like black tea works best for sun tea, but try out different varieties! Who knows, you might just find something you love! I wouldn't recommend green teas, as they tend to get bitter the longer they steep. You can use loose leaf tea, but be sure to use a tea ball, or cheese cloth or you will need to strain your tea before you serve it. As you can imagine, the quality of tea used will also change the outcome of your brew, but I'm not a tea snob. Use what you like. Try different things. Choose your own adventure! 
  • Cold Water

Thoroughly clean your glass container to avoid any contamination. Place your tea bags in the jar. The amount of tea bags you use depends completely on how strong you like your tea. I like a dark, strong tea, so I use at least eight single-cup tea bags for the container below. If you buy those special iced tea bags that are bigger, be sure to follow the directions on the box. 

Our rooster watched over the process

Fill the container completely with cold water. Place container in an area that will get constant sun throughout the day. The intensity of the sun will directly effect the intensity of your tea, so choose wisely. Leave your tea out for no less than three hours and no more than eight hours.

Bring your tea in and serve over ice. Try with a squeeze of lemon or lime, if you're feeling a little zesty. That's it! Wasn't that easy?

  • Try mixing varieties of tea bags. I will often six bags of straight black tea and 3-4 bags of a fruit flavored tea to mix it up. Raspberry is one of my favorites!

  • Grow fresh lemon balm, mint or chamomile in your garden? Fold up a good selection of sprigs in your container and put it out in the sun! The flavor is much lighter than the traditional black tea, but super refreshing. 

The benefits of making sun tea are numerous. Not only does this tea brewing method keep your from turning on the stove and heating your house up during the warm summer months, but watching the tea change from a pale yellow to a deep, rich amber color is so much fun! In the same way that cold brewing coffee makes for a smoother taste, slowly brewing tea creates a much more smooth flavor. Although it might take a little longer than the traditional method, isn't it nice to slow down sometimes, especially in the summer?

Believe me. It's worth the wait. 

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