Summer in my home town was spent swimming, riding bikes and camping. We played night games, gazed at the stars and more than once, got into a bit of trouble. We lived in a small neighborhood and almost every night, my mom and Nancy went for a walk. Nancy was a lovely woman, a retired bank teller and hilarious spirit. She lived at the end of the road and often invited us over for tea and cookies on hot summer days. Nancy came to almost every softball game, dance recital and school event that I was in. She was a pillar in our community, always making me laugh while cooking up something delicious in the kitchen. She passed on to the great unknown in 2019, and I often think of what she would say about the current state of the world. Nancy would offer some comic relief along with her strong, somewhat conservative opinions, that I am sure. Regardless of what she would say, we would hug and chuckle while we sipped some of her famous summer sun tea on the porch.
This recipe is an ode to Nancy, the woman who was like a grandmother to me, the one who always had an opinion and was willing to share it on the back of a comic twist. Her recipe was a bit more traditional — she loved cane sugar and good old Liptons Black Tea — so I’ve decided to spice it up a bit. Here is my spin on the second generation of Nancy’s Sun Tea.
For today’s sun tea brew, I decided to use Night Heron Farm’s Spring Flowers blend. I love this local company and this blend contains some of my most loved herbal allies — tulsi, milky oats, calendula and anise hyssop — it’s absolutely divine. I’ve been playing around with different hydrosols in this infusion and my favorite additions so far are lemon balm, chamomile, helichrysum and rose. I also tried one with three sages — hummingbird sage, clary sage and a tiny bit of black sage, this too was delicious! I always like to add some fresh herbs to my sun tea brews and today, I am adding lemon balm and one whole meyer lemon. This too, is an ode to Nancy. What made her sun tea so delicious was not so much the sugar, I’m convinced it was the fresh lemons she always insisted on adding.
I. Start with a clean, quart or 1/2 gallon jar. I like to use a 1/2 gallon so that I can enjoy the brew for 3-4 days.
III. Harvest and rinse fresh herbs — I choose to use lemon balm for this batch, peppermint, lemon verbena or tulsi would delicious too, get creative!
IIII. Lightly chop the fresh herbs and add to the jar — approximately 1 cup
IIIII. Slice at least one whole lemon, sometimes I use 2, add to the jar
IIIIII. Fill with fresh, clean water and a pinch of salt
IIIIIII. Cap with tight fitting lid and place in a sunny spot for 1-4 hours depending on outside temperature. It is important not to “cook” the tea but rather to allow the sun to slowly heat and loosen various nutritional constituents found in the herbs. The sun also imbibes all kinds of energy and good vibes, let the light in! If your jar is getting too hot, place is a more shaded area for a longer period of time.
IIIIIIII. Shake a few times during the brew. Once the water begins to darken, taste for potency. I like a strong brew so that I can pour the finished tea over melting hydrosol ice cubes, so I generally let my sun tea brew for 5-6 hours.
IIIIIIIII. Once brew is ready, strain through fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth into another clean jar.
IIIIIIIIII. After the tea has had some time to cool, add hydrosols
2 TBSP lemon balm hydrosol
2 TBSP chamomile hydrosol
2 TBSP helichrysum hydrosol
For an extra soothing sun tea, you can add 1-2 full droppers of our seasonal Tonic. This delicious oxymel is high in CBG - a cannabinoid that helps to calm the mind and ease tension. If you’d like to turn your sun tea into an immune system booster, add 1 full dropper of our seasonal Chaga.
Sweeten to taste if necessary with maple syrup or honey, Enjoy!
Store your sun tea in the refrigerator after straining. It should stay fresh for 4-7 days.