MOM’S SUN TEA + REVISITED
What does it to us? Some small switch, somewhere in the world in which we live is flipped. Suddenly you look up at the street you reside on- and it just goes poof! Green!
Pom pom rhododendrons hang heavy on their branches. Audible bumble bees peaceful plop from one pollen rich bloom to the next. Birds seek out social interaction in sprinklers puddles while the wind keeps it all comfortably cool and at a sway.
Mom puts herbs in the big glass pitcher, fills it with water, then sets it out on the sidewalk in the sun.
There is never a concern about the sun tea and if it’s okay. It’s out there in the world steeping. Kids on skateboards dodge it, even younger kids with chalk, draw around it. Your older sister got off the bus and stepped over it. Your cat stretched out in the sunny spot next to it…
Everyone knows, you let the sun tea be until it’s ready… And that’s up to Mom.
I grew up in the inner city. We had summertime traditions like anyone, but with less space. Back in the 70’s and 80’s, trends that are full of hype today existed then with less fanfare. Food and drink were not so much a part of any trend that we budgeted into our daily lives. These days we live in a world made richer by the simple traditions that have survived and multiplied with novelty. Sun tea is an embedded part of summertime tradition and nostalgia.
It gives people the opportunity to let go of worry and become a part of life at a slowed down pace.
HELPFUL TIPS: When using herbs from bulk bins that many people may have access to, (and to deal with any potential contamination) I start by bringing water to a boil to begin the steeping process of the herbs in a french press or large coffee mug. If you’re using fresh herbs out of the garden or foraged, use a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a big salad bowl filled with water to give your herbs a good rinse (let them sit in the rinse for about 3-5 minutes). The vinegar will also encourage any bugs to vacate back to the great outdoors. When your herbs are rinsed it is helpful to bruise them slightly to release the essence of the plant to infuse it into the water. You can do this by lightly bunching up the leaves in your hands, apply a little pressure by squeezing them and then place them into the filtered water for steeping. I like to use big mason jars that I can screw the lid on tight and set out in the yard knowing that nothing will get into it. Usually a mason jar lid has two parts, and this is nice for straining the sun tea when it’s done. You can take a cheese cloth over the opening of the mason jar and then screw back on the outer ring of the lid holding the cheese cloth in place. Then pour your tea into a pitcher and toss, repurpose or compost your used herbs. You can also use a wax pencil to write on the jar what type of tea you made if you make several styles at a time along with the date. These tea recipes are on the stronger side and I recommend cutting them with half sun tea and half water, lemonade or soda water over ice. Enjoy!
Enlightening and Cleansing Sweet Lavender Tea:
3 tbsp of Holy Basil
1 tbsp of Red Clover
1 tbsp of Lavender
1 tbsp of Stevia Leaves
This particular combination of plants has the ability to cleanse the senses as well as the blood. Holy basil is widely known for it’s use in Ayurvedic medicine as well as in Hindu worship. You will find on my website that I use Holy Basil frequently in my recipes. I’m a big fan. It’s been said to do everything from relieve symptoms of anxiety to help achieve enlightenment during meditation. Although research continues, it is said that red clover helps to treat symptoms of menopause, improve cardiovascular health and improve the skin. Lavender is known for it’s wonderfully, soothing scent. It is also said to boost moods or even be used as an aphrodisiac to arouse! A slightly lesser known benefit of lavender is that it may help with your circulation as well. Stevia is up to 300 times sweeter then sugar and is a wonderful alternative sweetener for many culinary purposes. In this recipe, I’ve added it because of it’s sweet quality. A little goes a long way though so this tea will definitely need to be cut with filtered water for drinking. Or maybe you like it really sweet and that’s fine too!
Invigorating and Motivating Citrus Mint Mate:
1 Lemon Juiced
3 tbsp of Mate
2 tbsp of Lemon Balm
Mate is an amazing energy booster used by many to wean themselves off of coffee or just for an overall prevention for symptoms of fatigue. It’s a popular drink around the world, everywhere from Lebanon to Argentina. These days you can find dried mate at your local herb shop or in your co-op’s bulk bin. The lemon balm in this recipe helps to balance the energy boosting effects of the mate well boosting your memories function. The idea is that It will help you to maintain your focus in the same way you feel coffee does, but with less stress to your adrenal glands. Lemons have many health benefits as we all know. They’re an excellent source of vitamin c, potassium and calcium. They aid in digestion, they help discourage the growth of bacteria, promote healthy liver function, help prevent wrinkles and acne, they’re good for eye health etc… And here in this recipe, it just plain tastes good!
Calming and Grounding Kava and Cucumber Tonic:
3 tbsp of Kava
1 tsp of Coconut Oil
1/3 of a Cucumber (thinly sliced)
Kava has a unique ability to help you slow down and relax. It’s typically used to aid in falling asleep. Someday’s are just harder, more stressful and we might have a difficult time being at home and getting ready for bed. This tea is a combination of a few things that will help to ease your worry, hydrate you and the coconut oil in this tea will help fight of any bacterial growth or infection that can take hold when we’re under stress from the days endeavors and our defenses are down. Cucumbers are cool, it’s true! The cucumber is 96% water and it hydrates in addition to being an anti-inflammatory. Cucumbers also contain silica (a mineral known for giving us lovely hair, skin and nails) as well as vitamins A, B and C. So have a refreshing, chilled glass of this particular tea on a hot summer night, put your feet up and watch the sunset amaze you.