Cooking

Sun Tea Season

sun tea

First off, a little housekeeping – I try to publish three times per week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, but that schedule is a bit tricky. So I’m going to change things up and plan to publish Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday instead. I always have great intentions for writing ahead and scheduling things to post, but you know – life. So starting the writing week on a Tuesday gives me a longer runway to make sure I get great content up here. Or at least, that’s the goal! (Okay yeah, so I messed up posting on Thursday this week… forgot to hit publish!)

Now, onto the heart of the matter – it’s nearly sun tea season! There is no better tea to drink than tea that has brewed for a day or so in the sunlight. It just tastes better. I don’t know why, but it does. And it couldn’t be easier to brew – simply take six of your favorite tea bags (if they have a hang tag stapled on, remove it – but really try not to buy tea with hang tangs because it’s just a waste of materials honestly), put them into a glass gallon-sized, clear container with a lid and set it in full sunlight for 6-8 hours. More if you like a dark brew. You can’t go wrong and it boils down to personal preference. Once the tea has reached the strength you like, fish out the tea bags and throw them into the compost heap. Then, if you like your tea sweetened, add you sweetener. Especially if you’re using granulated sugar to sweeten it, you need to add it while the tea is still warm so it actually dissolves. Once it’s sweetened to your liking, stick in the fridge.

Easy, right? But let’s talk containers for a minute. I think everyone has tried, or at least seen, the “sun tea” jars they sell at the store. Frustratingly, they are mostly made of plastic these days and not glass, which I don’t recommend for making sun tea. I don’t have any scientific figures on the risks, but we know that plastics do leach chemicals when heated. I’m not sure if these get hot enough from the sun for that to happen,  but it’s something to consider if such things concern you. The most pressing concern I have with the container is the spouts on them are little mold magnets. It’s impossible to get them completely clean and dry, and therefore they are an instant breeding ground for yuck. And once mold takes hold like that, it’s hard to get rid of it, and then you end up tossing the container and having nothing to make sun tea in.

Enter the gallon pickle jar. We eat a lot of pickles at our house, so we buy them buy the gallon to supplement what I preserve each year (last year I missed cucumber season – embarrassing but true) and in previous years I can never preserve enough for our appetite. So we’ve got a few pickle jars just sitting around waiting for a new life, until I realized it’s perfect for sun tea. Once it’s washed well, the pickle aroma is gone and the jar is ready to go for new things. And while it doesn’t have a spout, there are two easy ways to combat that when serving your tea – you can either use a ladle to dip a cup or two out of the top, or you can decant some into a pitcher for serving (which really, is a lovely way to serve tea, and much more sophisticated than a jar with a spout anyway).

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