Along the Grapevine

Floral Sun Tea

8 Comments

DSC03136.JPGLast year I experimented with making sun tea, a tisane really, made from mint, lemon balm and a little honey. I was pretty timid about the whole process, but figured the mint and honey would provide enough anti-bacterial properties to ward off any ill effects of infusing the herbs in the sunlight. It turned out to be one of my favourite summer drinks, so I have now continued to add and subtract to achieve a variety of flavours. This is one of my latest formulae where the addition of scented, edible flowers, and fresh stevia leaves to replace the honey makes a super, refreshing, low-calorie and nutritious summer drink. You can read about the benefits of lemon balm here and peppermint, which is what I used, here.

The idea of this recipe is not to limit yourself to the ingredients I find in my garden. Any sweet, aromatic herb can be used. If the herbs you choose do not have anti-bacterial properties, then I would recommend adding some unpasteurised honey dissolved in warm water to the mixture. Likewise, I chose flowers I have in my garden, but depending where you live and what the season, this can vary. No doubt edible leaves, berries or fruit in season would be an equally savoury addition.

I planted stevia in my garden for the first time this year and it is producing a steady supply of leaves which I have been using as a sugar substitute in several recipes. It should grow a lot more before the frost hits, at which time I will dry some for use in the winter. If you are not familiar with it, this article gives a good explanation of its origin, uses and health benefits.

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I filled each container almost full, loosely packed, with lemon balm and mint leaves, with about five fresh, chopped stevia leaves in each container. To one container I added and handful of rose petals and chopped rose-scented geranium leaves – to the other about 1 Tbsp young lavender flowers. My lavender is just beginning to blossom – a later version of this recipe will no doubt call for a similar amount of mature flowers.

I filled the containers with water, covered them with a lid and set them in the sun for about five hours. Then strain and chill – or chill and strain. I poured some of the strained liquid into ice cube trays to use without diluting the drink.

Because these herbs and flowers are not cooked, their flavour and nutritional value are not compromised. And what better treat after a strenuous bout of working in the garden than an aromatic elixir of flavours from the very same garden! DSC03135.JPG

Linked to Fiesta Friday #126

 

 

 

Author: Hilda

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

8 thoughts on “Floral Sun Tea

  1. You are the coolest, Hilda!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This sounds sounds excellent. I love tea and I haven’t heard of it being brewed this way. I will definitely have to try it!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lovely! I can imagine the refreshing herbal infused floral drink.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is so easy, healthful and delicious sounding.

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  5. Looks like a very satisfying thirst quencher to me! I like the idea of using stevia in place of a sweetener.

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  6. I love this idea. I even have tons of mint and some stevia (amongst other great herbs) to put to use for it.

    I would definitely NOT recommend steeping it in plastic, though. You’ll steep all kinds of nasty chemicals into your lovely tea. Plastic containers are even less healthy when they hold warm liquids, and you’re never advised to drink liquids from bottles that were allowed to warm in them for that reason (even bottled water that got hot in the car contains extremely high levels of unhealthy levels of chemicals and you’re advised to toss it). Plastic that was created for drinking beverages also has less protection against the chemicals after it has been washed, which is why bottled water/beverage companies and the government warn not to reuse the containers. In addition, containers that weren’t produced for the purpose of drinking do not have to follow the same safety standards and contain even higher levels of toxins. The chemicals used in them are especially highly linked to cancer, ADHD in children (even from mothers drinking lots of beverages in plastic bottles while pregnant) and endocrine disruption (interference with hormones, leading to earlier puberty in children, boys developing breast tissue, breast cancer in women, hormonal problems in women, etc.). Just as the warm sun and water are leeching those wonderful health benefits, flavors and colors from your herbs, they’d be leeching all of those chemicals into your tea from the plastic.

    We buy gallon glass iced tea jars at thrift stores or on clearance for about $2 or $3 and then use them for tea and dried storage in the basement (they’re pest-proof too, so it’s a good way to store things like dried beans and white rice that you buy in bulk). Even our kids handle them with care and we haven’t had one break yet.

    Just thought I’d toss that out there in case it might help someone else. I researched the matter thoroughly a few years ago when a friend warned me to stop reusing water bottles for my kids. I thought she was being silly, but I found out that there is agreement by the plastic makers, scientists, doctors and government that it really is unsafe to drink out of used plastic containers for all of these reasons. Thanks for the wonderful recipe!

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    • Thanks for the comment. I hesitated when I first made it to use plastic, and then I read somewhere that plastic was preferable. I know plastics vary – I never reuse plastic drink bottles, but I know some are safer than others. Until I know which ones are safe, if any, I will revert to glass containers.

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  7. This sounds amazing!!

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