Good morning friends, and thank you for meeting me (Julie) here today, At the Picket Fence. In case you didn’t know, I am a monthly contributor here for Vanessa & Heather and I am very honored to be a part of their team. If you are interested in following my blog where I am busy decorating & cooking in Michigan, you can follow along here —-> Redhead Can Decorate. Since we are in the middle of Summer, I thought today might be the perfect time to share my Mom’s homemade “Sun Tea Recipe” and story with you. I hope you are thirsty.
Iced tea can have so many different meanings for folks depending on where they live, or where they are from. I grew up in a small town in Western New York near Niagara Falls, called Grand Island. Yes, it actually is an island and there are 2 bridges that go over the Niagara River that surrounds the island. Summers were hot, and at one point we lived in an apartment building on the very top floor. Luckily, we did have air conditioning but it wasn’t the fancy central air kind that so many of us are used to today. I still remember the sound the big chunky air conditioner in the wall made in our living room when it would get really humid out. We would shut the sliding glass door to the balcony, and shut the windows and you would have to turn “General Hospital” up really loud to hear it 😀 . As a matter of fact, now that I think about it, I remember shutting the bedroom and bathroom doors too, so the cool air would stay in the front of the apartment. Oh, I could tell you lots of fun vintage apartment stories about green shag rugs, and yellow appliances, but I better stick to the sun tea recipe.
I give all the credit to my 83 year old Mom for this sun tea recipe. She’s actually been very ill, but has pulled through, so it feels very nice to be telling you a story about her today. You see, the reason I brought up the 1970-80’s apartment because that is where I remember my Mom brewing her sun tea. So now you are probably wondering how in the heck did she do that from a third floor apartment? Well, it was the balcony of course. Can you picture it? It was a tiny balcony that was located off of the dining area and my Dad put a regular sized picnic table out there for us to eat on. We only had 1 bench that could fit, but hey, it worked! Eating was very important in our house :-).
So, my Mom’s “iced tea bell” must have went off when she realized how sunny it was out there during the afternoon with the sun hitting the picnic table just right for hours. She would brew her tea on that red wood picnic table, on that tiny balcony, in that hot apartment building often. How smart, right? I mean, all it takes is a couple tea bags, lemon if you have it, and water (see full recipe below). Oh, and of course the sun. I should also add that Joanne (that’s my Mom) used a really cute clear glass drink dispenser that had painted lemon slices on it. So, anyhow this tea was and still is absolutely amazing, just like my Mom. I really hope you try it.
SUN TEA RECIPE
Add 6-8 tea bags of your choice (no need for the cold water tea bags in my opinion).
Remove the paper tag on the tea bag. I used black decaf in the picture. Then wash your lemon, slice it up and add it to the water.
Find a sunny location and let it sit for hours (at least 2)
I use my deck post and love to watch it steep from my kitchen window.
If you add enough lemon there is no sugar needed, but feel free to add your favorite sugar.
Chill and serve over ice. (should last if refrigerated for 4-5 days)
This sun tea would be so delicious with lavender simple syrup added in for a touch of sweetness. Get the recipe here!
I love sun tea, I sit my pitcher on a table on our deck where the sun shines in the afternoon. Best tea ever. Made some yesterday and will make another pitcher today.
Thanks for sharing your story…….
We got it down, don’t we Karen? Thanks for your comment and enjoy that tea!
Joan Clanton says
i worked for the NY state extension service for 28 years and we taught people to use BOILING water to make sun tea. tap water doesn’t get hot enough in the sun to kill the bacteria that may be present in tea bags. you could possibly get sick with vomiting and diarrhea– no one wants that! Hope this doesn’t sound like i’m a know it all, but a few years ago over a hundred people drank sun tea at a restaurant in Syracuse ended up really sick.
Julie Fiato says
Hi Joan, wow that’s awful! If you are worried, of course you can boil the water first. We have never had a problem.
What a sweet story. When we were younger we would do the same with our ac. Yep, we could swap apartment stories for sure ; )
Glad to hear your momma is doing better. Thank you for sharing the recipe. : )
Julie Fiato says
Thank you, Cheryl!
Thanks for bringing back memories on Sun Tea. I love it and used to make it all the time. Looks like I will have to start again. Glad your mom is doing better.
Julie Fiato says
Thank you, Pam! I appreciate your kind words!
What a sweet story. Your place back then sounds exactly like my first apartment as a 20 year old first married couple. We didn’t have two nickels between us and we lived very simple as we started out. HOT in summer up there and COLD in winter – but we got through it. Looking back feels humbling.
Glad your momma is feeling better. 83 – that’s awesome. My mom died when she was only 59 – just much too young. Hug on that sweetie of yours as long as you can. Keeping her in my prayers.
Julie Fiato says
Such a sweet comment, Michele I am so sorry you lost your Mom so young. My husband did too, so I know how difficult that is. Send you hugs from Michigan!