Flower Foraging and Sun Tea

While exploring our campground this week we’ve noticed an abundance of red clover, white clover, and dandelion flowers. They are everywhere. It’s delightful to see them and the kids keep picking Katie one every once in a while as a gift. This is, of course, adorable and makes our hearts so happy. So we decided to go flower foraging and make sun tea!

Our friend Kate posted on Instagram an amazing sun tea she made with her kids and we just had to try it.

On our morning nature adventure Katie and the kids set out to collect clover and dandelion flowers to make their very own batch of foraged sun tea. We found both red and white clover too, which was an exciting discovery for the kids. They learned that there are different types of clover.

Our basket of foraged flowers.

This is a simple, fun, and educational activity for the whole family. What kid doesn’t like making potions with their nature finds? Might as well teach them to make some that are edible!

We are new to foraging, but find so much pleasure in knowing which plants are edible and which are not. It helps us feel more connected to the earth too, which for us is a wonderful feeling. It’s also incredible the health benefits these common so-called weeds have. See a break down of each flower’s nutritional value down below, as well as a quick breakdown of what our young kids learned during the process.

Steps to make sun tea

1. Pick the flowers.

If you aren’t sure what each flower looks like, a local wildflower guide, plant identifying app, or even Google are your friend. We were careful not to pick too many, so the bees and the butterflies still have plenty. We gathered enough to cover the bottom of our little basket, so maybe 1 to 1 1/2 cups total.

2. Rinse them.

After we finished our morning walk, we took our basket of flowers back to our home on wheels for a quick rinse. We removed the long stems, placed them in our strainer, and ran them under the water to rinse them.

3. Put them in a glass jar and add water.

We took our freshly rinsed flowers and put them into a 1/2 gallon mason jar and added water until the jar was half full.

4. Place your jar in direct sunlight.

We screwed the lid on our jar and found a good sunny spot for our tea to brew. We left it in full sun (moving it as the sunlight shifted to keep it in the sun) for about 7 hours. It was about 72° out, so in warmer temperatures the brewing time could likely be reduced.

Our tea steeping in the sun.

5. Strain it.

Once the tea brewed, we strained it using cheese cloth to separate the flowers from our tea. The flowers are edible, so this isn’t necessary, but the kiddos are picky about texture. I simply attached the cheese cloth with the jar’s ring, then poured it into cups.

This is how we strained the flowers out of the tea.

6. Enjoy!

After 7 hours our tea was pretty weak, the water hadn’t changed color much, but it did have a nice mild (and a bit bitter) flavor. We all tried it right after we finished straining it and the kids decided it was better with a bit of honey.

The boys taking their very first sip!

What did the kids learn?

The kids learned quite a bit and the best part was, it was mostly an organic and self directed learning process (which if you didn’t know, often allows for children and adults to retain and learn more).

First both the 5 year-old and 3 year-old can identify all three flowers. After being shown what to look for, they helped to gather both red clover and dandelions and enjoyed doing it too. This might be because we usually stress not picking wildflowers.

While picking the flowers, the 5 year-old found white clover and immediately recognized it as clover and asked if it was edible too. To his delight, it is.

Katie also brought up how these wild flowers that people mow over or try to kill because they see them as weeds, are actually healthy for our bodies.

Later, as we checked on our still brewing tea, Katie again mentioned how the flowers in the tea are healthy and gave a couple examples of each flower’s nutritional value.

This is how we try to homeschool. We want our children (and let’s be honest, ourselves too) to be more connected to our planet. In an attempt to do this our school and everyday activities tend to be focused on nature. It often (but not always) allows for organic learning conversations and moments. And we cherish those moments.

And if you are looking for any additional resources on wildflowers, Katie’s Wildflowers of North America printables are in the Etsy Shop.

Health benefits

Dandelion

  • Full of calcium, antioxidants, and Vitamin C
  • High levels of fiber, iron, and protein
  • Good for your skin
  • Help remove toxins, which can improve liver function
  • Natural diuretic

Source: The Science Times

Red Clover

  • Full of protein and fiber
  • Contains high levels of Isoflavones, which is similar to estrogen
  • Acts as a blood thinner, which helps with circulation
  • Has been used to treat whopping cough, asthma, cancer, and gout
  • Natural diuretic
  • Boosts immunity
  • Contains a variety of vitamins, such as “A, E, C, B-2, and B-3, calcium, chromium, lecithin, magnesium, potassium and silicium”

Source: National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health and Health Benefits Times

White Clover

  • Full of protein and fiber
  • Contains a variety of vitamins, such as “A, E, C, B-2, and B-3, calcium, chromium, lecithin, magnesium, potassium and silicium”
  • Has been used to treat coughs, colds, and fevers

Source: Health Benefits Times and Livestrong.com

This is why we love foraging. We discover the benefits plants offer, even the ones that many consider to be annoying weeds. Next time we make tea with these flowers, we may try to combine it with a favorite herbal tea! The options are endless!

What do you like to use to make sun tea?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s