As silly as it sounds, homemade sun tea has long been one of our “comfort foods.” If you’ve ever had an ice-cold glass of tea flavored with fresh mint and lemon on a hot sunny day, you’ll know exactly why. You’ll be amazed with how easy it is to make (sun tea recipe below)!
With our transient lifestyle, one of our challenges has been keeping a sense of home. Basically, that’s meant figuring out what simple things comfort us that fit into our mobile lifestyle. Sun Tea is one of those staples that fuels us and comforts us year round.
We don’t generally drink much in the way of soda or canned/bottled drinks, for several reasons:
- This is probably not a shocker to anyone, but bottled drinks are terrible for you! They’re loaded with corn syrups (or sugar substitutes with are also unhealthy) and tons of artificial ingredients. Also, if they come in plastic bottles, they likely have absorbed cancer causing toxins from the bottles. If they come in cans, they likely have absorbed aluminum which has been attributed to Alzheimer’s.
- Bottled drinks are ridiculously expensive! Who has extra money these days? I’ll bet most people spend at least 1/6th of their grocery bill on bottled drinks.
- With our mobile life, bottled beverages are bulky and heavy (not a combination that’s good for traveling or living with very limited space).
Ice tea (especially sun tea) is our “go to” answer because:
- It’s tasty and incredibly refreshing.
- The supplies needed to make sun tea don’t take up much space.
- It’s very easy to make. (Even habitually busy people can manage to fit making tea into their schedule!)
- Sun tea has some nutritional value. (After all, isn’t that the reason we’re supposed to be eating and drinking things – to give our body fuel for sustenance and health? )
Here’s what you’ll need for Sun Tea (alternate instructions for making it on the stove top are included at the bottom).
- 1 gallon glass jar and lid*
- a little less than 1 gallon of clean, drinkable water
- 5 tea bags (I prefer lipton, but use the brand you like best)
- 1/2(+/-) cup of raw honey or unrefined sugar (or equivalent of any sugar substitute you prefer)
- handful of fresh mint sprigs
- 1/4 lemon
*You can buy jars with spouts, but I’m using gallon jar that hubby found. (It was being discarded from a restaurant we were working at.)
Instructions & Recipe for Making Sun Tea:
- Fill the jar with water, leaving a little space at the top
- Place the tea bags in the jar
- Cover the jar
- Set the jar in a sunny spot (outside works best)
- Let the tea steep until as dark as you like it. (I usually let it sit for around 4 hours, but sometimes longer. Different weather conditions will affect how quickly the tea will flavor the water.) You can let it sit outside for the full day, if need be. If it’s too strong, next time, cut back on the number of tea bags or else shorten the time it sits)
- Remove the tea bags.
- Add the sweetener
- Add juice from 1/4 lemon
- Add the mint sprigs
- Set the sun tea in the fridge overnight (the mint needs time to flavor your tea).
- Enjoy chilled or over ice (and start your next batch)!
Note: If the weather isn’t cooperating, you can still make tasty iced tea. Just boil the water in a pot and toss the tea bags in. Turn off the stop top, and let it steep until to the desired strength. Then follow the rest of the sun tea recipe above.
- in a pinch, you can use mint tea bags instead of fresh mint. Just steep them with the black tea bags
- try other flavors of tea (green tea, herbal teas, etc.) for a change of pace.
Nutritional information for this Sun Tea recipe:
- Black Tea: full of antioxidants that promote health and well being
- Raw Honey: contains 22 amino acids, 27 minerals and 5,000 enzymes. Minerals include iron, zinc, potassium, calcium, phosphorous, magnesium and selenium. Vitamins found in honey include vitamin B6, thiamin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid and niacin.
- Raw Lemon Juice: high in vitamin C, and also has antibiotic and immune support properties.
- Mint (we prefer spearmint, but peppermint is easiest to find at the store). Spearmint contains: Thiamin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Phosphorus and Zinc, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Riboflavin, Folate, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Potassium, Copper and Manganese. Plus, besides being refreshing, mint helps digestion.