Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Iced Tea

Summer weather has finally decided to return to Northern California.  After a week of low- to mid-70’s, we finally had a high in the 80’s yesterday!  So I filled up the kiddie pool, made homemade ice cream, and enjoyed the front yard with my kids.  And of course, I had to complete the summer fun with some iced tea!

On hot days like today, I grab my tea basket!

Before I dive into my iced-tea-making-method, a few concessions to you tea aficionados out there.  Yes, I understand that “herbal tea” isn’t really tea.  And that tea bags are the worst way to buy tea.  And that some of you don’t believe the words “iced” and “tea” should ever be put together.  Ever.  But my family likes herbal tea from tea bags.  And loose tea isn’t frugal and therefore is not near to nothing.  And I wouldn’t want hot tea on a day like today.

Mmmmm!!  Raspberry!  From the bulk bins at WinCo, of course!

Even among iced tea drinkers there are very strong opinions.  Just talk to anyone from the south.  Our mom (not from the south) doesn’t add a granule of sugar to her tea.  But in the south, they add sugar while the tea is still hot so it can hold more sugar than mixing it into cold tea.  I have a sweet southern belle friend, Joy, who says the key to good sweet tea is to add the sugar into the boiling water.  She adds peach slices to the boiling water and removes them after adding the tea bags.  Sounds yummy!  Some people also add a pinch of baking soda to the water to help prevent bitterness.

That’s one of the great things about iced tea—you can make it however you like it!  That being said, my “recipe” is actually just a guide for how I make it.  Come up with your own that suits your family.

Iced Tea
Tea bags
Sugar (optional)

Decide how much iced tea you want to end up with.  Bring half that much water to boil.  (e.g.  boil 1 qt. of water if you want to make a 2-qt. pitcher).

I boil the water in my Pyrex in the microwave.

Remove from heat, add tea bags, one for each cup of finished tea (8 for a 2-qt. pitcher).  Steep no longer than 5 minutes.

Remove and discard tea bags.  If adding sugar, pour desired amount into bottom of pitcher.  Add a small amount of hot tea and stir or swirl to dissolve.

The amount of sugar you use is up to you!

Fill pitcher with ice cubes.  Pour remaining hot tea over.  If necessary, add cold water to fill pitcher.

Arnold Palmer (Lemonade Iced Tea)
Tea bags

Follow directions above to brew tea.  Fill glasses with lemonade ice cubes.  Pour concentrated hot tea over.  Stir until chilled and mixed.


StaceyN said...

Wow, I love the idea of lemonade iced tea. I LOOOOOOOVE iced tea. My favorite is just plain black tea (decaf because I unfortunately cannot tolerate caffeine) with lemon. But lemonade ice cubes in tea? Too fun!

Around here, mint grows wild in the creek beds, so we often have yummy mint tea available for iced tea (and it's free!). It is good hot and super yummy iced. If you have walking parks where you live, you might try and see if you can find any mint growing in seasonal creek beds. The stuff is prolific, like a weed. You might check with Parks and Recreation first to make sure nothing is sprayed though...

I'll think of your blog as I sip iced tea this week!

BTW, did you ever get my email? I sent it a couple of weeks ago... hopefully to the right email address ;-).

Crystal said...

Sugar is a must! I'm in South Texas, and can't even imagine drinking unsweetened tea. I add superfine sugar to the water as soon as I take it off the heat. It almost makes a simple syrup of sorts. Soooo good! I'll have to try the lemonade ice cube idea!

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