Iced Tea Season Begins

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Cool off with these iced tea ideas

When I say "iced tea," I really mean "cool tea," because I don't put ice in drinks (it's bad for digestion). But you know what I mean!

June is National Iced Tea Month, so I thought I'd take a sec to share some iced tea ideas and links with all y'all.

Go chai!
Get a little Indian flava into your life and try chai! There are pre-mixed black teas with chai spices added. I like Stash and Yogi, and have both around the house. But when I find myself out of pre-mixes, I have successfully made chai by adding whole pickling spices (one of my great culinary cheats, that stuff) to black tea and letting it steep. I can't tell you how much, you'll need to experiment yourself to find the amount you like.

For a really different drink, try a real traditional chai, cold, with milk and honey. You can either use concentrate, like Oregon Chai, or make a very strong spiced tea yourself, dissolve honey in it, let it cool, and add milk. It's a great way to get your kids to drink their milk.

Go green!
Green teas are lower in caffeine than black teas (which are lower than coffee). Consequently, you can drink more of it. I don't believe in putting sugar in green tea. It spoils it. So if you like your tea sweet, I'd stick with black. Oolong, a step between green and black, is all right cold, but really it's more of a hot tea to my taste.

Go fruity!
Going half and half tea and fruit juice. Not only does this allow you to stretch one serving of juice into two or even three servings, but it also replaces straight sugar if you like your drinks sweet.

Go fizzy!
I like adding soda water to tea, and even tea with juice. It's a great replacement for pop. And speaking of fizzy...

Go fermented!
Kombucha is a fermented drink you can easily make yourself, but if you can't wait, you can now find bottled kombucha in health food stores.

Go herbal!
Tuesday I shared one idea with you for a summer tonic tea that's really good cold as well as hot. Louisa's favorite herbal tea right now, both cold and hot, is fresh mint and lemon balm, both of which we have growing in our yard in abundance. She likes grabbing a handful of each and bringing it to me in the kitchen. Herb teas also take well to the fizzy and fruity treatments above, and try experimenting with green tea and herb mixes. I find for my own taste that herbs don't mix as well with black teas.

More recipes:

Please share your ideas and recipes with us, too!

It is true that brewing your tea in the sun can be a health hazard, but I have found that black teas brew so quickly in the sun--and since caffeine is a deterrent to microbial growth--I'm not worried about it. I do, however, make my 100% herbal teas with boiling water and then allow them to cool rather than brewing them in the sun. Remember: I Am Not a Doctor. Use common sense.

Lynn Siprelle is the editor of The New Homemaker.


jennye's picture

Iced tea has a season? I've always drank it year round! LOL! It's a staple at my dinner table, and very sweet, too.

Shaun's picture

Luckily this time of year I don't envy your weather, Jenny, so it's not hard to laugh at the idea of drinking iced tea during a MN blizzard. Make that crack in February, on the other hand . . .

To tell the truth, for my iced tea I am a big fan of Lipton, I suppose because my hillbilly granny used it too.

I sweeten while it is still hot, so everyone has to drink it to my sweetness preference. But I find that about 1/2 teaspoon per serving or less is fine. I do the "super steep" -- maybe 8 tea bags to a quart? -- for at least 15 minutes, then after it cools a bit put in a pitcher with tons of ice to dilute. I find this produces a fairly clear tea (I'm told that cloudy tea is undesirable). It is not the most exacting method, but then, it's more fun to be surprised sometimes. :-p

I am a great lover of the Arnie Palmer -- half lemonade, half tea -- and I like Republic of Tea's ginger peach black tea. I may try making a ginger syrup myself and see how that goes. (I also had a brainstorm for making cinnamon rolls into orange-ginger-pecan caramel rolls after trying a ginger caramel candy at the coffee shop today, so I've been planning to make a ginger-flavored sugar syrup.)


jennye's picture

Hey! It gets cold here! Ok, not MN cold. But most winter nights are in the teens and twenties (it did drop below 0 a few times this last winter), sometimes the highs don't get above freezing. And we had at least a foot of snow total (8" at one time during one storm. Another storm gave us 2 inches of ICE). We have seen many a White Christmas living here. And I STILL drink Iced Tea nearly everynight.

I drink hot tea when I'm sick only. I drink hot chocolate if I've been out in the snow. I drink coke for breakfast. But every night for dinner it's sweet iced tea year round.

We drink Decaf tea, since the kids like to drink it sometimes, too. I had gotten in the habit of decaf when DH was doing low carb dieting and just never went back to regular. I usually get the Walmart brand if I'm out of Lipton or Luziane (which I get in the jumbo box at Sam's). And I always sweeten with Sweet n' Low (two packets for a 12 oz glass, or 10 packets for a pitcher). And I nuke it or boil on the stove top. I do 2 family sized bags for a pitcher. My MIL makes it with 4 and I have to dilute it, it's just way to strong for me! They hate their tea sweet.

Lynn's picture

But for some of us, it gets cold in the winter. ;)

Lynn Siprelle, Editor

Lynn's picture

...except I dilute mine further with fizzy water. :)

Oooh, ginger syrup! I've been meaning to make some syrups anyway. That's one I'll have to do! Maybe I'll do a followup post in a couple of weeks on syrups for flavoring teas and coffees an' stuff.

Plus also? I wnat the recipe for those orange-ginger-pecan caramel rolls when you perfect them. :)

Lynn Siprelle, Editor

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