How to Brew Herbal Sun Tea

Katherine Loeck
July/August 2007
Add to My MSN


Content Tools

Related Content

Teaching Children to Enjoy Helping

Teaching children to enjoy helping around the house or farm will give them valuable skills to use as...

Support Better Sunscreen Labels & Safer Products

If you've got an opinion on safer sunscreen, let you voice be heard! The FDA just proposed updating ...

Bastyr University Helps Create New Line of Teas

Bastyr University is pleased to announce it has partnered with Seattle-based Choice Organic Teas to ...

Herbal Tea Recipes for Colds

Sipping on medicinal herbal tea is one of the best steps you can take to shorten the duration of ill...

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.









Post a comment below.

 

RICHARD Robinson_2
7/18/2007 12:00:00 AM
I don't make sun tea, I brew solar tea. I have taught classes on solar cooking, so I make a distinction between sun tea and solar tea. Solar tea is made the same way as sun tea, but the jar is placed inside the solar cooker. Being in the solar cooker, the jar gets about 30 degrees hotter just being in the sun.

Brenda Travis
7/15/2007 12:00:00 AM
Pennyroyal in tea? It is not for consumption.

Toddy Hansen
7/12/2007 12:00:00 AM
I am not sure how much tea to put into the quart jar. Did I miss something? Or is this just a tea made from the acutal herbs. Thanks for any clarification!Todd in Phoenix

Richard Pocock
7/11/2007 12:00:00 AM
Hello.To make your jar more effective paint it on the outside with black schoolboard paint, it will then warm up much faster and be ready sooner.Put a tape strip up the jar before painting it and strip it off after the paint has dried for an observation windowHave a sunshine day

Pennyrile B
7/10/2007 12:00:00 AM
SCorbin--You have something working in your favor when you brew conventional tea, rather than "herbal tea". Caffeine in tea (black tea containing more than green) helps keep bacteria at bay for at least a limited time. Years of brewing without problem, merely shows that you've been fortunate(probably aided by using dried teas and clean utensils and consuming the tea soon thereafter) and attests to the veracity of our stomachs. There's plenty of opportunities to test our limits and knowledge of the risks involved with atypical food preparation should at least be encouraged.

S Corbin
7/10/2007 12:00:00 AM
While I have not used fresh herbs to make solar tea, I have been making solar tea for 30 years. I have found that solar tea stays fresh tasting longer than the normal "brewed" iced tea. If you use standard tea bags, are willing to drink your tap or filtered water, and are confident that your container is clean, there is no need to be concerned about bacteria.I use a one gallon lidded jar full of tepid water and 24 tea bags. We use mostly green tea with a few other flavors added for accent (like Earl Grey or mint.) The tea is done after about 3 hours in direct sun. My grandsons (ages 6 and 4) help me make it [with freshly washed and dried hands]. They are proud of their addition to supper (and it helps with their math skills.)

Pennyrile B
7/10/2007 12:00:00 AM
I would be weary of certain bacteria that may flourish while brewing sun tea. The water doesn't get hot enough in the sun to kill off the offending bacteria. I would at least boil the water before hand, but then again, I'd just chose to make tea the safer way, with water at over 195 degrees F. I'm not a germaphobe (people do get a bit nuts about sterilizing everything around them and use antibacterial products without thought), but I also don't push my luck by drinking tepid water that has been sitting for hours on end.








Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.