Summer solstice is one of my favorite days of the year. It marks the official beginning of summer, and is the longest day of the year (as opposed to the longest night of the year during winter solstice). Because of the long daylight hours, this solstice lends itself to amazing outdoor parties, and serves a great time to reflect on the power of the sun. I think it's a perfect time to have gratitude for all the energy that has gone into growing food, not only because the sun provides the energy for all things to grow and thrive, but also because gardeners, farmers and ranchers have put their own energy into tending to the food that reaches our tables and gives us the nutrition that we need to flourish.
This year I really wanted to make something using the power of the sun, and when I saw that the elder bushes near my house were blooming, I thought that a sun tea would be the perfect thing to do! It has also been really hot where I live lately so the less I can use my stove the better.
Sun tea is one of the easiest things to make, and would be a great project to show kids how much power the sun has. All you do is throw some herbs and/or tea bags into a jar of water, leave it in the direct sunlight for 4-6 hours and voila!
Easy Sun Tea
Things you'll need:
A jar with a lid
Herbs and/or tea bags and/or fresh fruit
(optional) sweetener such as honey
If you are using a smaller jar, place about 3/4 cup of cut herbs/fruit and/or 1-2 teabags in the bottom of the jar. If using a larger jar, double those amounts. Fill the jar with water, put the lid on and give it a good shake to get everything mixed in. Place the jar in a spot that will get direct sunlight for about 4-6 hours. If possible, give the mixture a couple more good shakes throughout the day but it's no big deal if you forget. You will know that the tea is ready when the color is rich but still translucent. Give the jar one last good shake, bring it inside and strain out the herbs/fruit/tea. I strained mine into the pop-top bottles I use for kefir, but you can use anything you have that has a lid. Taste it and add some honey if it needs a bit of sweetener. I put mine in the freezer for about 20 minutes and then transferred it to the fridge to cool it down, but you can also simply pour it over ice as soon as it's strained! Some ideas for good flavors:
Fresh strawberries (cut in half), one lemon (quartered), thyme, green tea bags
Elderflowers, mint, lavender, hibiscus tea
Chamomile, lemon balm, lavender
Cherries (cut in half), darjeeling tea
The possibilities are endless! Make sure to let me know in the comments below what blends you come up with!
Happy summer everyone!