Monthly Archives: June 2012

Tea of the Day: June 27, 2012

OK, so technically I didn’t make this tea TODAY, but it is the tea of the day. It is in honor of the insane week of 100+ degree weather we’ve been having. I love sun tea. My mom used to make it when I was little. She used black tea, sweetened with mint. It was very good. As I got older I was surprised to learn that not everybody in the universe knows what mint tea is?! If you’ve never had it before, you are missing out! If you have, then you know how delicious it is. Either way, here is a new way to enjoy it from your very own happy spot in the sun. The tea of today is Super Sun Tea!

Apple Mint Tea: Enjoying a Quiet Moment

Super Sun Tea: Brewing

I was inspired to make this recipe with the herbs I picked up a few weeks ago. I’ve blogged about them already with my Pineapple Mint Tea & Apple Mint Tea posts. They are all delicious but put together, they are incredible. Most sun tea is made with black tea but a few summers ago I ran out of tea bags & really REALLY wanted some sun tea so I tried the green tea bags I had languishing in my cupboard. Green tea is so light & refreshing, plus it allows other flavors to come out instead of overpowering them. Take a look in the drink section at any gas station & you’ll see a ton of commercial ice teas made with green tea.

Super Sun Tea

Super Sun Tea: Herbs

Ingredients

  • 5 large sprigs fresh apple mint ~3-4″ long
  • 5 large sprigs fresh pineappleapple mint ~3-4″ long
  • 3 sprigs fresh lemon balm ~2-3″ long
  • 2 bags green tea (I prefer Celestial Seasonings brand)
  • Raw sugar to taste
  • Cloth spice bag
  • Sun tea jar (any clean glass container will work, with lid a plus, I also use a leftover 1 gallon juice growler)
Directions
  • Place tea bags in container.
  • Put herbs in a spice bag & place in container.
  • Pour sugar into container. (I use 1/4 cup sugar per 2 quarts for sweet tea)
  • Fill up container with lukewarm water. *see Note on water
  • Stir with a long spoon or shake container to dissolve sugar.
  • Place jar outside in a sunny spot for at least 2 hours, no longer than 8 hours.
  • Bring in tea when brewed to perfection &

*Note on water: I usually don’t have an over abundance of ice cubes. Unfortunately I don’t have an ice maker, just a couple silicone trays from Ikea. If you want to speed up the cooling process, fill up the jar only 2/3 full. Then, when the tea is done, fill up the remaining space with cold water. The idea of iced tea is that the tea is strong & then diluted by the melting ice. So it’s ok to forgo the melting process & just add cold water.

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My Inspiration for the Cherry Harvest!!

I was so inspired by this post I decided to harvest my own cherries!

Read on below for the details . . . (following is the post from the Lazy Homesteader)

The Lazy Homesteader

Last weekend while at my in-laws’ house, I noticed that my mother in-law’s very ripe cherry trees had not been picked.  Lucky me, she told me to have at it!

Rick’s younger brother, was there and he helped us pick.  The cherries were so ripe that some were almost sweet.  As we all picked, the adults all remembered being kids, waiting for the cherry trees to ripen (we had cherries at the house I grew up in too), thinking that this year, this year, the cherries would be sweet.  I always expected them to taste like a maraschino cherry.  Of course, they never, ever did. They were always sour and I was always disappointed.

As a child, I assumed that these small, sour fruits were not real cherries.  That they were just for birds and to look pretty.  I didn’t know how good they really were. Rick, on the other…

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Very Cherry Day

Today I picked cherries! Fifteen pounds, cleaned, pitted & bagged to be exact! I was very inspired by the Lazy Homesteader’s last post about drying cherries. Tuesday I helped mom can her Shelley’s Jelly Cherry Jam. She had enough cherries to make 6 dozen half pints of it! So anyways, I was out in the garden picking peas & Devon had the sharp eyes to spot some leftover cherries on the tree. I was so excited about the dried cherries thing I asked mom if I could pick the rest of the cherries on the tree. She mentioned that the neighbor across the street has a tree that they never pick. She said I should go across the street & pick their tree. So I DID!

Sour Cherries on the Neighbor’s Tree

I started picking some of the lower branches & again, Devon had the brilliant idea to grab the step ladder for me (he is SO considerate, he even went & grabbed it for me!) so we could reach the upper branches. I picked, picked, picked for quite a while. By the time I was done I had about half the bucket filled.

Bucket of Picked Cherries

Since I’m a little new at this I needed my mom to help me through preparing them. I want to dry some but I also want to freeze some so we decided the best thing to do would be to wash & pit them, then stick them in the freezer. I am going to buy a dehydrator (I have ALWAYS wanted one but it’s not in the budget forecast until early next week – too long to let them sit out) so I needed them to remain whole.

Freshly Cleaned Cherries

Mom helped me pit them (THANK YOU 🙂 & between the two of us it only took a few hours. We pitted them & separated them into bags of 4 cups, or 32 ounces, or 2 pounds, or 2 pints. As soon as the bags were filled we stuck them in the freezer to keep them as fresh as possible.

Pitted 2 lb. Bags of Cherries

Mom Pitting Cherries

Measuring Bags of Pitted Cherries

Once everything was cleaned, pitted & bagged, I ended up with 6 bags filled with 4 cups each, plus one bag of 1 3/4 cups, plus about 2 pounds of questionable cherries I may or may not use.

Wow!

Stay tuned for my first experiment in drying fruit. . .

Tea of the Day: June 19, 2012

So today I moved on down the herb list to Apple Mint! This morning I made some Apple Mint Tea.

Apple Mint Tea: Enjoying a Quiet Moment

Apple Mint Tea: Enjoying a Quiet Moment

I try to get up a little bit early now days so I can enjoy some quiet, alone time. I decided to work on my knitting for a moment, while enjoying my tea. 🙂

Apple Mint Tea

Apple Mint Tea

Apple Mint Tea

Ingredients

  • 7 sprigs crushed fresh apple mint
  • Honey
  • Cloth spice bag
Directions
  • Put mint in a spice bag. Place in cup.
  • Cover with boiling water.
  • Sweeten with honey to taste.

Tea of the Day: June 18, 2012

I got some new herbs from Sunflower Market. They were on sale but more importantly they had stuff I’ve never seen! Apple mint? I had to get some. I ended buying a pineapple mint, apple mint, a cilantro plant, silver thyme & a couple bunches of green onions. My sister gave me an AWESOME mothers day gift, a tea garden. It was so cute! It was a container with lavender, mint, pineapple mint & a tea ball. Such a perfect gift. Anyways I’ve never tried pineapple mint before that. The plants didn’t do very well so when I saw another plant I was exited. I made some sun tea (I’ll post that tomorrow) & I wanted to really get a taste of each plant’s flavor. So today I tried the pineapple mint which resulted in Pineapple Mint Tea.

Pineapple Mint Tea

Pineapple Mint Tea

Pineapple Mint Tea

Ingredients

  • 7 sprigs crushed fresh pineapple mint
  • Honey
  • Cloth spice bag
Directions
  • Put mint in a spice bag. Place in cup.
  • Cover with boiling water.
  • Sweeten with honey to taste.

*A note on using fresh herbs & loose teas: there are a couple options for steeping fresh herbs & loose tea. You can use a tea ball, a tea grabber (? If there’s a real name for this contraption please let me know, it has a mesh ball that is squeezed open with attached tong type things) or tea bags, also called spice bags. Personally I prefer the bags. The tea balls can be hard to clean & sometimes leave a funky metal taste if old or dirty. Plus the holes can leak smaller pieces & that’s not appealing to have black things floating in your cup.

Spice Bags

Spice Bags

These are the bags I like to get & they’re very cheap.