HOMEMADE SUN TEA
This sun tea is made in a quart size mason jar and makes enough tea for two
To make for a larger crowd, find yourself a larger jar (Ball currently has 1/2 gallon jars available), and use more tea bags. One bag per quart seems to work well. More bags can be added if you like your tea stronger.
Step 1: Gather Items
To make this you will need One quart size mason jar with a lid. A recycled pickle or spaghetti jar will also work just fine if well cleaned and de-stickered. If you want to upsize this recipe you could go to the half gallon ball jars mentioned previously or ask your local deli or sandwitch shop for any empty gallon glass jars they might have. As a last resort you could buy a special jar for sun tea at a store. Just try to stay away from plastic versions of sun tea jars. Plastic and sunlight don't mix very well.
You will need some form of tea. The tea that comes in the bags with the string
tea no hassle to make, however if you have a favorite tea blend already you could use this as well. Regular Lipton tea bags are the old standard in the sun tea world.
You need water for your tea. Anything you would drink normally can be used. Filtered water could be used if you are a purist.
Enough ice is needed to cool the tea down after you bring it out of the sun.
Sugar is an optional ingredient and should only be added after the tea is
brewed in the sun.
Add enough to suit your tastes. Honey could be substituted as well.
Step 2: Fill jar with water and put tea bag in.
Pretty self explainitory here. Fill your jar but leave about a half inch
of headspace at
the top. This will allow enough tea for a sample or two to determine strength and then
leave enough room in the jar to be filled with ice to cool it down.
Suspend the tea bag in the water and close the lid of the jar. The tea bags with a string
should have the string dangling out to keep the tea bag from sinking to the bottom of the
Step 3: Put jar in sun. Wait.
So pick a hot spot and put the jar with water here. This could be a sunny
window of your
apartment or the back deck. Direct sunlight is best. The goal is to warm the water up as
you steep the tea. The end result should be tea that is pretty warm.
The time should be somewhere around 3 to 4 hours of brew time. The time will vary depending on how strong you like your tea and what particular tea you are using. Play around a bit and find out what works best for you. Sun tea is served cold so it is usually brewed stonger than your average cup of hot tea. The most important telling factor on how strong the tea tastes is your own tastebuds. Take a sip when it looks like it may be ready and judge from there.
(Remember we left a little extra water for sampling).
The color will darken as the tea becomes stonger. After a few times you will know what shade of tea equals the strength of tea you prefer.
Step 4: Add sweetener and ice. Put lid back on and shake well.
Start with a tablespoon of sugar and sweeten to your taste. After you make
it a few times you will get a feel for how sweet you like it. Honey could
be used here if you don't like sugar. Artificial sweeteners would work as
well. Fill the remainder of the jar with ice cubes and replace the jar lid.
Shake the jar vigorously for 15 to 20 seconds to mix the sugar and cool the tea.
Step 5: Remove lid and enjoy your homemade sweet tea.
A note about food safety and raw foods: Due to the fact that this tea is not cooked, it never reaches temperatures hot enough to kill bacteria. Although our research could find no documented cases of food poisoning from sweet tea, it should be noted that the jar, lid, water, and tea all should be free of bacteria before making this beverage. Any uncooked food should be treated the same.
As always, we at NWSC would like to hear from you, our readers, with any questions or suggestions you may have. Contact info can be found following the link on the left hand tool bar.