Sunday, July 5, 2015

Homemade Iced Tea

I am writing this in the midst of a heat wave, on the warmest day of the year so far.  Needless to say I couldn’t possibly imagine using my stove in this weather, much less heating my house up with the oven! As a result, most of the recipes I’m making these days are of the no cook/serve cold variety.

During said heat waves (and most summer days for that matter), keeping cool and well hydrated is essential.  Homemade iced tea really does the trick on both counts.  Not only is it cool and refreshing, it’s also really easy to make from scratch. In less than 20 minutes from start to finish, you can be enjoying a nice cool refreshing glass of iced tea too. Not a fan of lemon in your iced tea?  Simply omit or swap out the lemon for your favourite fruit (peach tea is another favourite in my house!) or garnish with a sprig of fresh mint instead.  

If you want a sweeter tea, something more along the lines of traditional Southern Sweet Tea, simply add more sugar to taste.  I’ve seen recipes that call for up to a 1 cup of sugar for the same quantity of water that’s in this recipe, though I find 1/3 of that amount just right for me.

If it’s a hot summer’s day, be sure to make a double batch!  For a more adult beverage, add vodka to the mix, or pour into popsicle molds for a cool summer treat!

[Sweetened iced tea first gained it’s popularity in the early 1900’s as an item of luxury amongst the wealthy due to how expensive tea, ice, and sugar were at the time. The very first known recipe for iced tea was published in 1879 in a cookbook called “Housekeeping in Old Virginia” by Marion Cabell Tyree, a resident of Texas.  The original recipe called for green tea, though now most iced tea is made with black tea, most commonly Orange Pekoe.]

Recipe makes 2 Liters (8 cups)

- 3 Orange Pekoe tea bags
- 4 cups boiling water
- 1/3 cup sugar (or honey)
- 1/8 tsp baking soda
- 4 cups ice
- 1 lemon (optional)

In a 1 L mason jar (or another container that can withstand boiling water) pour 4 cups boiling water over tea bags.  Add sugar and baking soda (sounds a little odd, however the baking soda will cut down on the bitterness of the tea and give the tea a smoother finish).

Allow tea to steep for 10-15 minutes or so (try not to leave it any longer than this or the tea will become really bitter regardless of how much baking soda you use!).

Once tea has steeped, add ice water and lemon and cool in the fridge until ready to drink. 

- Nutritional Info (per cup) -
Calories – 29    Fat - 0    Carbs – 7     Protein - 0   Fibre - 0


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