The weather is starting to get pretty nice here in the middle of the desert; time to think about cold beverages. This may sound a little pedestrian to some folk, but iced tea can be a tricky thing to brew. Sometimes it’s bitter, sometimes it’s too weak. Yeah, you could go and buy the stuff that comes pre-made in a container, but have you looked at the ingredients and how many of them you CAN NOT pronounce! After five sweltering summers of over 100⁰ each day for more than 30 days in a row, I have found a couple of tricks.
1) Make Sun Tea
2) Find the type and brand of tea that you like
3) Add your own flavorings
4) Don’t make more than you can drink in a day or two
My adorable husband didn’t know that Sun Tea was actually made in the sun! Yup! I have found, for our house anyway, this method insures no bitterness. I think that the way my mom showed me was the reason I didn’t like tea. She brought a harvest gold colored whistling tea kettle (it matched the ‘fridge and stove) to a full-long-whistle and then poured that over the tea bags in a pitcher.
Nope, not for me. Gentle is my motto.
I fill a plastic pitcher that has a well sealing lid with filtered water and then add 2 family-sized Luzianne brand tea bags. Oh wait, I just jumped into #2 on my list, the brand and type. My DH likes a blended chai tea from Tevana, me not so much. So I make a small container of that for him every so often. I am of the camp that the teas that are made solely for iced tea are the better bet, but you make up your own mind.
Let’s move on to the flavorings. I like mint and lemon in my glass of iced tea, but not in hot tea. I tried to grow my own mint here in the middle of the desert, problem with that was the critters kept eating it! So, one day I was meandering the supermarket and found in the Hispanic section (that’s what they call it), dried mint in small packet, CHEAP! It’s less than a dollar for about ½ on ounce.
I put that into one of my stash of empty spice jars and Bob’s your uncle!
Here’s something else that I found at one of those high-end markets, little cheese cloth bags with a drawstring at the top that are meant for bouquet garni. I put about a teaspoon of the dried mint into a sachet bag and dunk that in with the tea bags while the Sun Tea brews. They are reusable too, just turn them inside out over the kitchen sink and rinse. I let them dry out on the drainboard with the dishes.
As to the lemon factor, did you know you can freeze them? I slice up a lemon when I bring it home from the market and IQF them on a half-sheet pan in the deep freeze. They keep from ever in a zip top bag!
I did say make only the amount of tea that you think that your house will drink up within a couple of days because, did you ever notice that funky looking stuff that develops on the bottom of the pitcher after awhile? UGH! Not tasty. And we did already talk about the honey for DH’s sweet tea, me, I like mine unsweetened.
Oh my gravy all over my two scoops of rice (that’s OMG! In my world), who knew that there was so much to say about making Iced Tea?! But there you go…