Search & Social

Let my videos help you become a wildly good cook!


Steamy but not explicit spoof of "Fifty Shades" has romance, laughs, and my favorite recipes.

buy @ Amazon local

100 recipes, 4 seasonal menus, 20-minute starter plan, tips, more!

buyAmazon IndieBound

Recipe Index
#SNAPcut acorn squash adzuki beans Afghan all-purpose flour almond flour amaranth Anna Thomas anti-shingles recipe apple cores apple peels apple sauce apple-cider vinegar apples aquafaba arganine Asian asparagus avocado baba ganoush bake @ 350 bake @ 400 bake @ 450 balsamic vinegar balsamic vinegar reduction banana bread banana pancakes bananas barbecued kale barely cooked tomato sauce barley basil basketball bay leaf bbok choy bean broth beartrack farm beet greens beet sauerkraut beet tops beets bell pepper bell peppers besan flour beverages black beans blackberries black-eyed peas blackstrap molasses blog tour blueberries bok choy braise bread bread machine breakfast breakfast hack broccoli broiled brown bagging brown rice buckwheat burgers burritoes butternut squash cabbage cacao cacao cake cacao powder cake callaloo candied orange peels candy cantaloupe caramelize onions carrot cake carrot tops carrots cashew cream cashew sauce cashews casseroles cast-iron skillet recipes Catherine Watson cauliflower ccompany celery chard chemotaxis chia seeds chicken soup chickpea broth chickpea flour chickpea flour crackers chickpeas chili chilled soup chinese recipes chipotle Chiradelli chocolate chips chocolate chocolate aquafaba frosting chocolate cake chocolate peanut cake cholesterol-free Christmas cinnamon cinnamon cashew cream cinnamon crackers cinnamon rolls cleaning beans cloves cocoa cocoa powder coconut coconut dream coconut drink coconut milk coconut oil coffee coffee cake cold soup cold-brewed coffee colds cole slaw collards comfort food company convection cook ahead cooked apples cookies Cooking Green corn bread corn on the cob cornbread coughs crackers cranberries cranberry sauce cream substitute crepes crock pot crockpot Cuban black beans cucumbers curry curry powder daikon dairy free dairy-free DAK bread machine dandelion greens daylilies daylily dessert dessert bar dinner party dip dips DIY Donvier Dr. Greger dried basil dried beans Easter easy easy vegan recipes edible flowers egg-free eggplant emergency preparedness fall family sized tea bags fat-free fennel fermented vegetables field roast sausages fig first course flaxseed Flying Dragon food presentation food safety free freezer French fresh corn fresh pasta fresh tomato sauce frosting frozen cashew cream frozen desserts fruit fruit sauce funny gajar halwa garbanzo bean crackers garbanzo bean flour garlic george foreman grill ggreen onions ginger gingerbread glaze gluten free gluten-free glycemic index grab-and-go grab-and-go lunches graham cracckers gravy greek dressing green beans green gumbo green onions greens grilled grilled cabbage grilling gumbo gumbo z'herbes hardy citrus healthy heart-healty hemp seed hen of the woods mushrooms high protein holiday homemade homemade barbecue sauce homemade rice milk homemade truffles honey horchata h'ors dourves hot vinegar How Not to Die hummus Hundred-Foot Journey IACP ice pops iced coffee improv Indian jalapeƱo jalapeno peppers jalepeno jester squash jicama Jif peanut butter John Griffith Just Mayo kabocha squash kadu kale Kate Heyhoe Kathy Hester kidney beans Kitchen Riff kitchen tools kiwis kohlrabi kraut-chi Larry's Beans lasagna leeks left-over pasta lemon lemon dressing lemons lentils lime local low fat low fiber low salt low sugar low-fat lunch lysine Madhur Jaffrey maiitake main-course salad make your own make-ahead making solar cookers mandarin orange spice tea maple syrup mashed meal in a jar meals in jars meatless meringues mesclun Mexican Michigan State microwaved miso molasses momentum Momofuku mother Mothers' Day muffins mushroom mushrooms mustard greens NC State new year's day nice cream no fat no garlic no knead no onions nooch noodles nutmeg nutrition nutritional yeast nylons oatmeal oilve oil okra olive oil one bowl one bowl recipe one pot meals one-bowl dinner one-pot cooking onion onions oranges organic organic brownies packaging paint parsley parsnips pasta pasta salad pasta sauce pea shoots pea tips peach peaches peanut butter peanut oil peanuts peas pecans Persian pesto pickles picnic recipe pie pie crust pinto beans pizza pizza alternative plant-powered plant-strong popsicles potatoes potluck potluck recipe power jars pre-baking probiotic probiotics pudding pumpkin pumpkin pie QT Luong quick quinoa radish pods radishes rainbow chard raisins raspberry raw raw cashews recipe recipe rescue recipes red lentils red onion red zinger tea refrigerator pickles reuse rhubarb rice rice cooker rice pudding roasted chickpeas roasted garbanzos roasted pumpkin roasting rocket pops romaine lettuce root vegetables rotini russian salad salad dressing salad mix salsa sandhills farm sandwich cookies sandwiches Santa Cruz Organic peanut butter sauce saving bean broth shisito peppers sliders sloppy joes slow slow cooker small bites smoothie smoothies snacks soaking beans socca solar cooking something for nothing sorbet sorghum syrup soup sourdough soy free spa cuisine spartans spice cake spinach spinach pasta splurge spread spreads spring spring onions stand mixer starters steamed steel-cut oats Steve Jobs stew stir fry stir-fry stockings strata strawberries strawberry sauce strawberry shortcake summer summer squash sun tea SunDrop candy super-food Super-Wok sweet potato sweet sixteen swiss chard tahini tamales tea tea cakes Thanksgiving Thanksgiving recipes The Vegan Slow Cooker thrifty toast toaster oven tomato tomato sauce tomatoes Tovolo trail mix travel recipes Treasured Lands truffles turmeric turnips Two Chicks Farm udon noodles unfrosted cake vegan vegan brownies vegan grilled side dishes vegan holiday recipes Vegan Slow Cooker for Two or Just You vegetable soup vegetarian Vegetarian Epicure video vinegar vvegetable soup walnuts watermelon Welbilt bread machine what to do with bitter dishes wheat berries wheat germ whipped cream white whole wheat flour whole grain whole wheat whole wheat berries winter winter squash wolfpack wwhite whole wheat flour yeast yogurt substitute zest zlaw Zojirushi bread machine zucchini
Follow me on Twitter

Celebrate Diwali, the Festival of Lights, or just fall itself with my Coconut Vegetable Curry.

« Strawberry-Banana Sorbet with Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar | Main | Beach Smoothies with Strawberries, Blueberries, Banana, and Chard »

Safer Solar Sun Tea

Keep cool and stay safe when brewing tea this summer. Brewing your own tea is one of the easiest ways to save money and cut your energy costs. Try my thrifty trick for flavoring a whole pitcher of iced tea with one bag of herbal tea.

Is brewing sun tea dangerous?

Probably not. In 1996, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control wrote a memo [PDF here]  to health officials saying that there were essentially no reported cases of sickness from iced tea but that brewing tea slowly in the sun had a "higher theoretical risk than brewing tea at higher temperatures." Why take any risk when you can get more robust flavor by brewing sun tea in hotter water using a simple solar cooker?

For safer, greener iced tea, dilute tea after brewing. Sun tea can be safe.

Key tips

  • Make as much tea as you'll drink in a day or two, not more
  • Use easy-to-clean containers and keep them clean
  • Heat just enough water to extract flavor from your tea bags
  • Use a simple solar cooker to heat water quickly
  • Add tea bags after water is hot
  • Remove tea bags, then add ice or cold water to dilute
  • Cool tea quickly
  • Throw out tea that becomes cloudy or that has ropey strands in it

My experiments brewing solar sun tea

Make safe, thrifty iced tea with 3 family-sized tea bags and 1 bag of herbal tea such as Mandarin Orange Spice

  1. Big glass jug. I tried brewing a full gallon glass container of tea using my wind-screen solar cooker. Even after six hours of full sun exposure on a bright, 80°F day, the water never got above 125°F. Problem? I was trying to heat too much water. And as my Taster pointed out, the tea darkened the water nearly immediately but the liquid was still translucent. Most of the sun's energy passed right on through.  The teabags floated for hours in the most dangerous part of the temperature danger-zone: between 70° and 117°F.  This bacteria-encouraging warm bath would let any microorganisms on the tea bags multiply, multiply, and multiply again. Cooling so much water was also going to take time and energy. Verdict: why risk it?
  2. Small black casserole. Next, I tried heating just six cups of water in a little black metal casserole. I used the wind-screen solar cooker this time too. The black casserole captured the sun's energy efficiently, heating the water from 80°F to 162°F in just two hours. Temperatures over 140°F are hot enough to kill micro-organisms lurking on the tea bags. I added the tea bags to the hot water, let them steep for 10 minutes, and then removed the bags. I poured the warm tea into a half-gallon container and added two cups of ice. The ice melted quickly, producing tea at a perfect strength to pour over more ice to serve immediately or to refrigerate. Verdict: success!

Safer Solar Sun Tea

Active time: 10 minutes. Total time: 2 hours and 10 minutes, depending on the weather. Yield: 8 cups or 6 servings.


  • 6 cups water
  • 3 family-sized tea bags
  • 1 herbal tea bag, such as Mandarin Orange Spice or Red Zinger
  • 2 cups ice or water
  • sugar or agave syrup as a sweetener (if you must)
  • fresh mint sprigs or lemon slices as garnish (optional)


  1. Heat water in a dark container until at least 150 degrees.
  2. Add tea bags and steep for at least six minutes or up to two hours. Remove tea bags. They make dandy compost.
  3. If you add sugar or other sweeteners to your tea, stir them in now. (I don't recommend using sugar, but you will probably add less sugar than makers of bottled tea. Adding it to warm liquid will allow it to dissolve.)
  4. Pour tea into a jar or pitcher. Add ice or water. Serve tea over ice, garnished with mint sprigs or lemon slices if desired.



Reader Comments (1)

I personally love using the Peach herbal tea in mine for a nice summer treat.

Jun 11, 2014 | Registered Commentermuddles
Please join before posting - it's easy and free!
To help keep conversations on the forum civil, only registered members can comment or start new threads. Joining the community is easy and free.