Heat waves continually move across this great land of ours and we are parched, dear readers! We are bone dry! Our need for hydration always increases in summer, but this year seems particularly demanding on our bodies, don’t you find? So I’m turning to sun tea, which I’ve made since Antonia was a little girl.
The herb I’m most drawn to at the moment are the flowers of the hibiscus plant. I love the rich color and it harbors a tangy flavor that is perfect for taking the edge off this heat. These days I buy my hibiscus flowers at the health food store. But there were years I would track down jamaica in the large downtown market in Acapulco, on my annual Mexican pilgrimages, from a sunbaked Indian woman who stored them in large plastic bags, and I would bring them back up to California, always causing pause at the border crossings or customs. Flowers! They are red flowers!
So here’s what you do. So easy. Find a large clear clean jar. Fill with amount of clear water you want. Add handful of hibiscus flowers. Stir gently. And set in the sun. Here’s what they will look like initially:
Come back later in the day. A good five hours is plenty. And you will find this lovely mixture awaiting you. Beautiful! (Notice the curious bee!)
I then bring it into the house, add a bit of honey to taste, and then refrigerate. When it is chilled I can serve in all its beauty.
For variety, I’ve discovered it is a delicious treat to add bitter lemon made by Fever-Tree. You can experiment. Iced hibiscus tea is a wonderful base for those large punch bowls one offers at parties, to which you might add any manner of things you might normally include in a punch, even as simple as lemon slices. The color cannot be matched! The taste so refreshing!
Another option in this household is spearmint, especially as it has gained ground in my kitchen garden and it’s free for the picking! I’m discovering I enjoy putting a cup of spearmint tea next to my bed at night, and should I awaken, thirsty (which does happen), I have a lovely swig of spearmint on the ready to quench my thirst. It feels very special.
The next herb I intend to use in my sun tea adventures is lemon balm. It grows in abundance in the garden and I’m thinking I will enjoy it very much. Another possibility is using peppermint. All of these suggestions are wonderful alternatives to sugary canned drinks filled with artificial sweeteners and corn syrups (and calories!), which are delicious, beautiful, good for you, and save you money! Which herbs have you most enjoyed as summer tea?
Love and kitchen blessings,
Book News: Huge news! The buyers at Barnes and Noble have decided to carry Plant Whatever Brings You Joy: Blessed Wisdom from the Garden in their bookstores, making the book available to many new readers. This is very exciting, as you might imagine!
And when you have time I’d love for you to listen to my latest interview on Authenticity Radio!
Posted on July 13th, 2013 by Kathryn
Filed under: People at Life