Along the Grapevine

Lemon Balm and Mint Sun Tea

24 Comments

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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.

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Moving this plant away from my flowerbeds is just one of my projects.

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.

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Five hours in the sun

I cooled it in the fridge and then served with lots of ice.

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A super refreshing treat after a morning working in the garden

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!

Author: Hilda

I am a backyard forager who likes to share recipes using the wild edibles of our area.

24 thoughts on “Lemon Balm and Mint Sun Tea

  1. Where does this ‘sun tea’ originate?

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    • Good question. I have heard about it for years as the best way to make iced tea – even for black tea. I first learned about it when I lived in Switzerland where they are big drinkers of iced tea, and I was told it makes the tea less bitter but just a strong.

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  2. This sounds delicious. I’ve never tried lemon balm. Does it grow well as a potted plant? With two young and ‘crazy’ black labs, we’re not planting very much in our garden until they are older.

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    • It is a pretty invasive plant, so it would have to have a pot of its own, and in the garden I doubt even two rambunctious puppies could beat it. Otherwise, your best bet would be to find it in a neighbour’s or friend’s garden and use it just when in season. Its beauty is its fragrance, but when cooked it tends to loose its flavour. You could make this same tea with other herbs too, even dried ones, especially if you find you have too many. Mint, chamomile, cat’s claw, or for that matter any of your favourite regular tea with some flavouring.

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  3. Sounds so good! Never heard of Sun tea before. Very interesting process!

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  4. It’s new to me and it looks so refreshing!

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  5. That looks great and I’m tempted to try but slightly anxious as I made elderflower cordial, some I couldn’t fit in the fridge and left out omg it exploded, glass everywhere. It must have been the heat making it ferment! Kids thought it cool though that mummy made a bomb lol…so wasn’t! X

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  6. I love to make sun tea! I have never put honey in it while it is steeping–that sounds like a great idea!

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  7. This sounds delicious. I always love the look and smell of lemon balm when I am at the nursery but never buy it as I am not sure what to do with it, but this tea sounds great so maybe next time…Thanks for sharing with Fiesta Friday, glad you made it between your projects!

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  8. Sounds really delicious! I love mint!

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  9. Your ice tea looks delicious. I will see what I have to make some, apparently we have a heatwave coming so perfect timing to be inspired!🙂

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  10. Oh you introduce us to new stuffs and never heard of sun tea- sounds interesting ….

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  11. I actually didn’t know until recently it was called that, but I know it is an old and preferred method for making ice tea in some places. Probably places where they have more sun than we normally get.

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  12. Love using herbs in tea – I usually pack the herbs in a big jar and refrigerate overnight. I’m sure the sun brings out more flavor. By the way lemon balm is not only invasive plants will sprout up in other parts of the garden or yard!

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    • It will indeed. I would never recommend that anyone plant it anywhere near a flower garden. I should try the ‘overnight in the fridge’ method. We don’t always have enough sun, so that sounds like a good alternative.

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  13. LOVE this!! I have lemon balm all over the garden, you wouldn’t believe it! And I’ve been wanting to try sun tea. Sounds so refreshing, Hilda! Pinning this so I won’t forget.

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    • Thanks Angie. I have been making it just about every sunny day we get. Although I should try it just leaving it in the fridge for a longer time – might work just as well.

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  14. Pingback: Floral Sun Tea | Along the Grapevine

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