Betcha didn’t know that June is National Iced Tea Month.
Well, now you do, and there’s no better beverage to enjoy on a hot summer day!
The way the story goes, Richard Blechynden, a tea plantation owner, attended America’s first World’s Fair in St. Louis. He had planned to give out free samples of his hot tea, but it was such a warm day that no one was interested! So, he threw in some ice and offered his beverage “on the rocks.” The treat was so refreshing, he quickly had a long line of people waiting to taste it.
There are many ways to make iced tea, and countless variations on the basic recipe. If you haven’t tried iced tea before, maybe one of these variations will pique your curiosity. And if you’re not a fan of iced tea, it’s worth trying a new version – there’s probably one out there that suits you.
The basic method for making iced tea is:
- Boil water (the amount depends on how much tea you’re making!)
- Steep tea (loose or bagged, whatever flavor you like)
- Strain the tea if you used loose leaves, or remove the tea bags.
- Add sugar to taste. Some people prefer unsweetened, and some people use up to 2 cups of sugar for a 2 quart pitcher. It depends on personal taste.
- Cool. Some people refrigerate it, others pour it over ice (which also dilutes it a bit), and some people mix it with ice water.
- Serve and enjoy.
Sounds simple (and vague) enough, right?
Right! Anyone can make iced tea and its variations:
- For a true Southern Iced Tea, read this entertaining recipe by Lemon Tartlet. She adds a bit of baking soda to the water before boiling. This cuts down on bitterness from accidental over-steeping and reduces cloudiness in the tea.
- There’s a step-by-step guide to making Lemon Iced Tea (with photos) at Cooking For Engineers.
- Poppytalk gives us the easiest method of all. Brew loose tea in a special pitcher that has a removable diffuser, remove the diffuser, and refrigerate. No sugar, no flavoring, just pure iced tea!
- Tea Party Girl, an advocate of loose leaf teas, gives us a simple method for making loose-leaf iced tea, which ends up costing pennies per pitcher.
- But if you’re a tea bag person, you can try CFWhitney’s mother-in-law’s tried and true tea bag method.
- Thai iced tea is made from a specially flavored tea and is absolutely delicious. Try topping it with coconut milk or sweetened condensed milk for another twist on this Asian favorite!
- If you’re into more exotic iced teas, try tea sangria, which has fruit mixed into it.
- Rhubarb iced tea sounds amazing – it calls for rhubarb stalks to be boiled before adding tea and sugar.
- Ginger peach iced tea is one of many delicious-sounding iced tea recipes
Whether you brew for 3 minutes or overnight in the fridge, prefer a simple black tea or a raspberry herbal, enjoy your iced tea this summer!
Tip: You may have heard of “sun tea”, which is made by starting with room-temperature water and tea bags in a jar, then brewing the tea by placing the jar in a sunny spot for a few hours. This method, however is not recommended. Bacteria can develop in the tea and it can become a potential health risk. Sorry!
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