Cool down with delicious, thirst-quenching herbal sun tea. Follow a few simple steps to enjoy a variety of refreshing flavors that are perfect for front porch sipping. Solar tea has never tasted so good.
Fresh organic herbs produce healthier, more refreshing teas, so pick your ingredients straight from the garden or buy from a local grower. All you need to make solar tea is a quart canning jar (good for preserving the herbs' fragrant oils and properties), water, coarsely cut herbs of choice and sunshine.
To start, toss a half cup to 1 cup of fresh herbs into the canning jar. With practice, adjust this amount to suit your taste and the plants' nature. Add water, a lid and a few shakes. Place the jar where it will receive full sunlight, such as on a rooftop, open field or driveway. If possible, give the mixture a couple more shakes throughout the day. You will learn how long to brew certain teas for the desired taste.
As the sun goes down, the tea should appear rich and translucent in color. While still warm, shake the mixture, strain the contents and use the plant material for mulch. Pour fresh tea on ice and enjoy.
These two-ingredient blends from The Herbal Tea Garden: Planning, Planting, Harvesting & Brewing by Marietta Marshall Marcin are good for beginners.
- Alfalfa leaf with lemon verbena or red clover blossoms
- Chamomile with hibiscus flowers
- Elderflowers with peppermint or yarrow
- Fenugreek with alfalfa or mint
- Hibiscus flowers with rose hips
- Marigold petals with mint
- Mullein with sage, chamomile or marjoram
- Pennyroyal with any of the other mints
- Peppermint with spearmint
- Rosemary with hibiscus flowers
- Sage with lemon verbena
- Strawberry leaves with woodruff
- Yarrow with peppermint
To explore more garden flavors, try these creative summer medleys from the e-handbook 15 Herbs for Tea.
July Evening Tea
- 1 large fresh monarda flower
- A dozen fresh lavender flower heads
- Compatible additions include lemon balm leaves, lemon verbena leaves and chamomile flowers.
Lemon Blend Tea
- Mix equal parts fresh lemon balm leaves and fresh lemon verbena leaves.
- Add grated lemon peel (about 1 tablespoon per cup of lemon herbs).
- Optional lemon herbs may be added, such as lemon-scented geranium leaves and lemon thyme.
- Add some calendula petals for color.
Orange Mint Tea
- Use a citrus-flavored mint, such as orange bergamot, or any mint herb.
- Add grated lemon and orange rind, cloves, cinnamon, and calendula petals or ?Lemon Gem' marigold leaves.
For more brewing information see the e-handbook Herbal Teas for Lifelong Health. Are you an herbal sun tea brewer? Post your suggestions below and share your favorite summertime recipes.