Summer Sun Tea

Summer has finally arrived in the Pacific Northwest! There is a saying out here that the first day of summer is July 5th and boy was that true this year! July 4th, and most of June, was cloudy and in the low 60’s, but in less then 72 hours we’re in the upper 80’s! Whew! Now I know for those of you on the east coast, or well, pretty much anywhere else in the country, the upper 80’s isn’t that bad but we cloudy north-westerners are weather wimps and anything above 75 causes us to melt.

Being a northwest transplant myself I can take the heat, at least until tomorrow when we get into the, ugh, 90’s! I always try to remind myself that I have to enjoy these days while they last because come January I will be pining after them, with all memories of the sun burns and sticky skin replaced by warm sun and cotton dresses.

When I think of stifling hot summers I think of the back porch of my grandparent’s house in Ohio. In the summer months the enclosed porch became the central room in their turn of the century farmhouse. With large windows that let in the slightest of cool breeze I would play with my baby dolls and pretend food while Grandma read her novels in the Lazy-Boy. On the step just outside the door by the cement goose statue sporting a sundress would be the pitcher of sun tea, steeping in the heat of the day. After a few hours in the mid-day sun the gallon of tap water and few Lipton tea bags would go into the fridge to be ready for a refreshing drink when my Dad and Grandpa came back from work.

Even though I was quite young these are the summer afternoons I remember. This week as the tempertaure continues to rise I found myself digging out the largest canning jar and filling it with water and a few tea bags. The apple-cranberry black tea was just a tad sweet and delightfully cool and crisp.

If you find yourself wilting by mid-afternoon I’d recommend brewing a pitcher of sun tea for an afternoon pick-me-up. If you are lucky enough to have a porch take a tall glass and a book out and just enjoy the summer heat, if even just for a moment.

Sun Tea

This is one of those recipes that doesn’t really require a recipe. So use these as guidelines or a kind suggestion.

  • Find a large glass or plastic jar. I used a gallon sized canning jar that is quite perfect.
  • Fill it with fresh tap water, do not boil.
  • Add 4 or so of your favorite tea bags. Yesterday I used two black tea bags and two apple-cranberry. Today I used two green tea and two lemon zinger.
  • Allow to steep in direct sun for several hours, moving as needed to stay in direct sun.
  • Once the tea is fully brewed bring it in the house and put in the fride to allow to cool down.
  • When you ready to serve, pour over a glass of ice cubes; they will melt to cool and water down the strong tea.

You can get adventurous and try using fresh herbs like mint or even fresh lemon peel in your tea for a vibrant flavor.


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