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Fun with Sun Tea

As the weather becomes warmer my favorite place to be is out in the garden, poking about in the dirt, picking and planting. As things in the garden start to grow, I also love to brew sun tea as a way to enjoy the abundance of the summer, connect to the energetics of the season, improve hydration and get extra pro-biotics and phytonutrients into my diet. This is also a fun and easy project to do with kids that combines gardening, cooking and experimentation.

I’ve shared directions and precautions for how to make sun tea along with ideas for flavor combinations below. I hope these will give you some inspiration for getting outside and creating some combinations of your own!

Green tea pearls brewing in glass pot

Instructions for Making Sun Tea

  1. Prepare the Jar: Fill a clean, large glass jar with 1 gallon of cold water.

  2. Add Ingredients: Add the selected fruits and herbs to the water.

  3. Cover and Place in Sunlight: Cover the jar loosely with a lid or plastic wrap. Place it outside in direct sunlight for 3-5 hours.

  4. Refrigerate: After brewing, place the jar in the refrigerator to chill. (You can choose whether to strain or to leave things in. If you leave things in the flavor will intensify but something will start to break down).


  • Ensure the jar and utensils are clean to minimize the risk of bacterial growth.

  • Store the sun tea in the refrigerator immediately after brewing and consume it within 24-48 hours.

  • Sun tea is great because you can throw in any combination of produce and fresh herbs that sounds delicious to you. In addition, you can choose to use a sweetener like honey or stevia leaves or to leave it unsweetened. You can add a few tea bags (make sure tags are outside the jar) if you want to make something caffeinated.

Here are a few ideas for combinations that are abundant this time of year that also have added medicinal benefits.

Beneficial Properties of Ingredients in Recipes

Sun Tea Pairings and Recipes

Elderberry Sun Tea Pairings

Elderberries have a rich, tart flavor that pairs well with:

  • Mint: Adds a refreshing, cooling effect that balances the tartness.

  • Lemon Balm: Enhances the overall citrus notes while complementing the tartness of elderberries.

  • Chamomile: Adds a mild, floral sweetness that softens the tartness.

Sample Elderberry Sun Tea Recipe

Lemon Balm Sun Tea Pairings

Lemon balm has a mild lemon flavor with a hint of mint that pairs well with:

  • Lemon Verbena: Intensifies the lemon flavor.

  • Lavender: Adds a calming floral note.

  • Raspberry: Adds a sweet, fruity contrast.

Sample Lemon Balm Sun Tea Recipe

Cucumber Sun Tea Pairings

Cucumber has a fresh, clean flavor that pairs well with:

  • Mint: Enhances the refreshing quality.

  • Lemon: Adds a zesty citrus note.

  • Basil: Adds a slightly sweet and peppery flavor.

Sample Cucumber Sun Tea Recipe

Watermelon Sun Tea Pairings

Watermelon has a sweet, juicy flavor that pairs well with:

  • Mint: Adds a refreshing contrast.

  • Basil: Adds depth with its peppery notes.

  • Lime: Enhances the sweetness with a zesty citrus flavor.

Sample Watermelon Sun Tea Recipe

Lavender Sun Tea Pairings

Lavender has a calming floral flavor that pairs well with:

  • Lemon Balm: Adds a bright, citrus note to the floral lavender.

  • Chamomile: Enhances the calming effect with a mild, apple-like sweetness.

  • Mint: Provides a refreshing contrast to the floral notes.

Sample Lavender Sun Tea Recipe

Thyme Sun Tea Pairings

Thyme has an earthy, slightly minty flavor that pairs well with:

  • Lemon: Adds a zesty citrus contrast.

  • Honey: Sweetens and balances the earthy tones.

  • Raspberry: Provides a fruity and slightly tart note.

Sample Thyme Sun Tea Recipe

Basil Sun Tea Pairings

Basil has a sweet and slightly peppery flavor that pairs well with:

Strawberry: Adds a sweet and fruity contrast.

Lemon: Enhances the sweet and peppery notes with a citrusy touch.

Cucumber: Adds a refreshing and cooling effect.

Sample Basil Sun Tea Recipe

Blackberry Sun Tea Pairings

Blackberry has a rich, sweet, and slightly tart flavor that pairs well with:

  • Mint: Adds a refreshing contrast.

  • Lemon Verbena: Enhances the fruity notes with a citrus touch.

  • Lavender: Adds a floral depth to the sweetness.

Sample Blackberry Sun Tea Recipe

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