Brew a large pitcher (or two) of iced tea using the power of the summer sun. If sun tea has fallen off your radar, now is the time to get back into this easy routine. Sun tea requires minimum ingredients and very little effort. Keep it simple with traditional black teas (regular or decaffeinated), get creative with more delicate green or white teas or go the fruity route with flavored teas.
Experiment to find your favorite blends. This is also a great way to clean out your tea collection and create exotic combinations. Follow these five easy steps for a guaranteed delicious refreshment every time.
Yields 1/2 gallon (enough for 4-6 thirsty sippers)
Choose a half-gallon or larger glass pitcher, jar or iced tea dispenser to leave plenty of room for the tea to infuse into the water. Clean and sanitize container thoroughly to eliminate any potential bacteria—especially if you are using a recycled container).
Place 4-6 standard-sized tea bags into container. If you are using loose tea, substitute 1 teaspoon of loose tea per tea bag. Place loose tea directly into the jar or place it in a tea bag, to make straining tea easier.
Pour water over top of tea bags to cover, leaving about 1-in. of space at top of jar. The quality of water can directly impact your tea flavor. Choose filtered water if possible. Place lid, piece of cheese cloth or clean towel on the top of container to avoid bugs or twigs from finding their way into your drink. Place tea outside in sunny spot. Let tea leaves infuse for 3-5 hours. The total time for infusing will vary depending on type of tea you choose and how your overall preference.
When ready, remove tea bags or strain out loose tea leaves. If you like a little sweetness, add preferred sweetener. Liquid sweeteners work best, making it easier to incorporate into the tea. Choose agave, honey, maple syrup, or a few drops of liquid stevia. If you like a more traditional tea flavor, sweeten your tea with a simple syrup.
To make homemade simple syrup, combine equal parts water and cane sugar in small saucepan. Simmer and stir to combine. When sugar dissolves, remove from heat and pour into a heat-proof glass jar. Store simple syrup in refrigerator and use it to sweeten your tea.
When ready to serve, add ice to your glass and pour sun tea over the top. Add a wedge of lemon, lime or orange to complement your tea. Get fancy without too much fuss by adding a sprig or two of fresh mint, basil, edible flowers or some berries. Cheers to the lazy days of summer!