It's hot outside, which means…it's time to make iced tea! Make your own iced tea at home instead of using a powdered mix or buying it bottled and save a ton of money. Plus you can control the calories by limiting how much sweetener you add and flavor it just the way you want. (Scroll down for recipes)
Iced Tea Tips:
- Use spring or filtered water. City water or well water will give the tea an off-flavor.
- Don't overbrew or boil tea for too long or you will end up with a bitter taste.
- If you don’t have time for the tea to cool down, brew it double-strength to compensate for the resulting water from melting ice cubes.
- Avoid making "Sun Tea." According to the CDC, "Foodborne pathogens can survive in brewed tea, but for tea brewed at an appropriate temperature, with water hot enough to kill pathogens, the issue of safety is primarily one of storage conditions and ensuring the tea dispenser has been cleaned and disinfected before use." So…just to be on the safe side, heat the water on the stove so it gets close to boiling. If you sit your tea in the sun, it will only get as high as 130, not hot enough to kill any beasties that might be lurking.
Some iced tea recipes to try…
Peppermint Iced Tea
3 green tea bags
1 quart boiling water
1/4 cup natural cane sugar
1/2 large lemon, sliced into 1/4-inch slices
1 bunch fresh mint, washed
2 cups cold water
Bring water to a boil in a large saucepan and add tea bags. Let steep for 3 minutes. Remove tea bags and pour brewed tea into a serving pitcher. Add sugar and lemon, using the mint to stir, holding it by the stems to dissolve the sugar. When sugar is dissolved, drop mint into pitcher and add 2 cups cold water. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled. Strain mint out before serving.
Jasmine Mint Iced Tea
1/4 cup loose green jasmine tea
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
4 cups simmering water
juice from 1 lemon
1/3 cup honey
4 cups cold water
Steep loose tea and mint leaves in simmering (not boiling) water for 2 to 3 minutes. Strain the tea and remove mint leaves and pour into a large pitcher. Stir in lemon juice and honey until the honey is dissolved. Add cold water. Refrigerate until chilled. Serve over ice garnished with mint sprigs.
Ginger Iced Tea
4 green tea bags
4 cups water
1/4 cup sliced peeled fresh ginger
agave syrup to taste
Put tea bags in a quart-size glass measure or heatproof bowl. In a saucepan bring water with gingerroot just to a simmer and pour over tea bags. Steep for 5 minutes and remove tea bags. Steep gingerroot 1 1/2 hours more and strain ginger tea through a fine sieve into a pitcher. Cool tea and chill in refrigerator. Stir in agave syrup.
Lavender Iced Tea
1 large bunch lavender, about 3 cups, loosely packed, stems, leaves, and flowers
1 black tea bag
6 cups water
1/2 cup natural cane sugar, or to taste
Rinse the lavender stems thoroughly in cold water. Place the lavender in a heat-safe pitcher or sauce pan, along with the tea bag. Bring 4 cups of water to a simmer. Pour it over the lavender and tea bag and let steep for 10 minutes. Remove the tea bag and lavender. Strain the liquid through a fine mesh strainer. Pour the brewed tea into a large pitcher and stir in sugar. Chill and serve over ice. Makes about 1 1/2 quarts.
Basil Mint Tea
3/4 cups mint leaves
3/4 cups basil leaves
1/4 cup natural cane sugar or to taste
2 quarts water
6 black tea bags
2 cups cold water
Combine mint, basil, sugar and 1 quart water in a pot. Bring mixture to a boil, turn off heat, and stir until sugar is dissolved. Strain mixture and reserve. Pour 1 quarts of boiling water over tea bags and steep for 1 hour. Remove tea bags and pour the sweetened mixture into tea and stir well. Pour 2 cups of cold water into tea then chill for at least 1 hour. Serve garnished with mint and basil leaves.