June is a super busy month for all of us who garden and/or forage. I am in the midst of several ‘projects’ in the kitchen and the garden, but not wanting to miss Fiesta Friday #74, I chose to take a break and make something very simple, and yet an appropriate treat for anyone who is exposed to the heat, sun and insects which are all part of the great outdoors experience.
Sun tea is a method of making ice tea involving mixing the tea and cold water and setting it in the sun for a few hours to infuse. I’d never made it before, as I worried a little about the effect the sun and heat would have on it and any bacterial growth. However, as I wanted to make a lemon balm tea, I figured this was the only way to do it without destroying much of the fragile flavour of the leaves.
To play it safe, I considered a few factors.
First, very clean water. Ours is well water which is filtered through a reverse osmosis system, so all good there.
Second, adding mint, which has anti-bacterial properties, might help. To be honest, I have no idea how much or in what form this is effective, but I felt somewhat reassured. And mint in any tisane is good.
Third, I used a little unpasteurized honey, another anti-bacterial ingredient as well as providing a little sweetness.
And finally, I decided to leave it in the sun no more than five hours, which worked out fine because that’s as much sun as we get anyway.
At any rate, I really find it hard to believe a sun tea can be all that risky. The more I thought about it, the more confident I felt.
To make the tea, I filled a 500 ml bottle with a handful of lemon balm leaves and a few sprigs of mint. I dissolved a Tbsp of honey into half a cup of warm water, let it cool, poured it into the jar and filled the jar with tap water. Then into a sunny spot it went and sat there for five hours.
I cooled it in the fridge and then served with lots of ice.
This made two full 8 oz. glasses. I wished I had made a lot more, but the ingredients are there for the taking and the method is ridiculously simple, so there will be a steady supply of it from now on.
Thanks to our hostess Angie @ The Novice Gardener and to her two co-hosts, Loretta @ Safari of the Mind and Caroline @ Caroline’s Cooking who make this virtual party possible. Don’t be shy about dropping by and sampling the fabulous fare. Everyone is welcome!