Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Clever Sun Tea Idea

Sun Tea Concentrate ~ One Quart Jar

I brew tea in a jar placed in the sun - sun tea - to make and enjoy iced tea all year around. I especially like to make and drink it during the warm summer months. I usually fill a 1/2 gallon mason jar with cool water and add about 4 tea bags or maybe less depending on how strong the tea is naturally. I use different kinds of black, green and herbal teas as my mood dictates.

I place the lidded jar outside to sit in the hot sun for 2-4 hours, again depending on how hot the weather is and also how strong the tea bags are. When the tea reaches the color I desire, I bring in the jar of tea, remove the bags and chill it in my refrigerator to enjoy later over ice. I've been making my sun tea this way for years and years. It works very well. It tastes good, it's easy, it's natural and it's inexpensive.

Being that it was such an uncomplicated process, I never thought about making any improvements to the method.

Well a few weeks ago I learned about another way of making sun tea from Sue of Country Pleasures. She read a post about this method in another blog that she likes to read. So the knowledge continues to get passed on and on from one blogger to the next. I love that!

What they recommended was to make a strong tea concentrate using a smaller jar, like a quart sized canning jar, so that it will take up less room in your summertime fridge. This makes sense to me because during my garden harvest season my refrigerator is always crammed full of produce, jars of water and tea, juice and fruit. There's not much room in there usually.

I took a clean quart sized canning jar filled with cool water and added twice as many tea bags as you would normally put in a quart of water. Then I capped the jar and set it in the sun for awhile to brew up very strong. When it was a very dark colored tea, I brought it inside, removed the tea bags and placed the jar in my fridge. I now had a very strong tea concentrate with which to make my ice tea.

When I desire a fresh glass of ice tea, I add ice cubes to my tall glass and then pour in some of the strong tea concentrate until it fills the glass about 1/4 to 1/3 full. I then fill the glass the rest of the way with cold water from a jug in my fridge. Stir to mix. Add some lemon if I feel fancy, and enjoy my nice cool fresh iced tea.

I thought that brewing the tea concentrate extra strong like that would make the tea taste bitter, but it did not do that. It was very tasty, and that small one quart jar of concentrate lasts for quite awhile in my refrigerator. It takes up less space which I appreciate this time of year.

So I am passing this good idea on to you. Try it. You'll like it.

© Copyright 2009 Mountain Harvest Basket


Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Thanks for the great idea. I'll have to try it, too. I've been making sun tea since I first moved out on my own 25 yrs ago. My Grandmother made it and taught me. There is just something so refreshing about that sun-baked tea, isn't there? I have an old sun tea pitcher that I bought more than 15 yrs ago. It has a Native American Pueblo print on it. I'm very fond of it and I've not seen one with the same design since.

Every time I make my sun tea, my little girl asks me every hour or so, "Is the sun tea ready yet, mama?" And when it looks dark enough, she comes to tell me, "I think it's ready now". She loves to be the first one to have her glass filled with the sun tea. hehe!



CaliforniaGrammy said...

Thanks for sharing a great idea. I must give it a try. My husband loves iced tea and the only time he has it is when we go out to eat. Duh! I've made sun tea before, but like you, in the summer time there's just not much room for my gallon jar. But this idea will solve the problem completely. I'm going to go find a quart jar in the pantry and make one today. Hmmmm . . . it's raining in Oregon, no sun yet!

Farmgirl_dk: said...

You know, I had never made sun tea myself until just this year. It's so fun to do and I love seeing my pretty jar "cooking" on the deck in the sun. I always make too much, though...seems I'm the only one in my house who really enjoys tea. Go figure! :-)

And what?! Rain in Oregon??? Guess I'll see for myself tomorrow when I head back home...

Hardware Bob said...

Making some sun tea concentrate, this is a very good idea. Takes up a lot less room in the fridge, same results. Very elegant.

frugalmom said...

Sigh. Sun tea. I heart sun tea.

Farmer Jen said...

Hi Lisa,
I love sun tea. I don't drink soda anymore, so ice tea is my drink of choice along with iced water that is.

Hi CA Grammy,
Oh, you should definitely make your own sun tea at home (or at camp). Homemade is so much better than the kind you get when eating out. At least I think so. Less expensive too.

Hi Danni,
Yeah, I used to make too much too until I switched to a 1/2 gallon canning jar. That's about the right amount for my household and my fridge. Now the concentrated tea in the quart jar works even better. Enjoy your trip home.

Hi Bob,
Yes, it works well. You should try it.

Hi Marcee,
I heart it too. Make some and enjoy it while the summer weather is still here.