It’s never going to be a major holiday, but June 10 is National Iced Tea Day. People everywhere seem to enjoy a glass of iced tea during the summer days. I do, too, as long as it is decaf. Also, I used to make sun tea by placing a glass jar of water and tea bags out in the sun to brew. But one day it looked cloudy and had long, white stringy things in it. I looked it up on the Internet and discovered what I had was a jar of bacterial brew.
After that, I use an electric tea brewer or place the glass jar of teabags and water in the refrigerator to do its brewing. Works just great and no more gross, dangerous beverages.
There are a lot of prepared and bottled teas on the market these days, but if you’d prefer to make some yourself, browse through this week's collection and see if something looks good to you. Happy sipping.
Peach iced tea
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
4 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
8 cups cold water
8 individual-serving size tea bags
3 cups peach nectar
1. Using the back of a spoon, crush the mint leaves with the sugar and lemon juice in a small bowl. Set aside.
2. In a medium saucepan or tea kettle, over high heat, bring the cold water to a boil. Pour over the tea bags and mint mixture in a heat-proof pitcher or container. Stir briefly. Allow to steep 4 to 5 minutes or until desired strength.
3. Strain tea into another container and add peach nectar. Refrigerate until cold. To serve, pour into ice-filled glasses. Garnish with peach wedge and mint sprig, if desired. Makes 2 quarts.
Raspberry iced tea
1 gallon water
3 (3-oz.) gallon-size tea bags
1 cup fresh raspberries
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup powdered lemonade mix (such as Country Time)
1. Bring the water to a boil in a large pot, and stir in the tea bags, raspberries, and sugar until the sugar has dissolved. Allow the mixture to steep until the desired level of tea flavor is reached, 3 to 5 minutes; remove tea bags, and stir in the lemonade mix until dissolved.
2. Pour tea into pitchers, and add ice to cool. Makes 1 gallon.
Sweet tea concentrate
2 medium lemons
4 cups sugar
4 cups water
20 black tea bags
1/3 cup lemon juice
For each serving:
1 cup cold water
1. Remove peels from lemon and save fruit for another use.
2. In a large saucepan, combine sugar and water. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 3 to 5 minutes or until sugar is dissolved, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat; add tea bags and lemon peels. Cover and steep for 15 minutes. Strain tea, discarding tea bags and lemon peels; stir in lemon juice. Cool to room temperature.
3. Transfer to a container with a tight-fitting lid. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
4. To prepare tea: In a tall glass, combine water with 1/4 cup concentrate. Add ice. Makes 5 cups concentrate, which is 20 servings.
The perfect iced tea
* For hot brewed:
8 cups water
3 tablespoons loose tea or 6 tea bags
1. In large pot, bring water to a simmer; remove from heat and add the loose tea or tea bags. Allow to steep about 4 minutes or until it has reached the strength you prefer. If using loose tea, strain through a fine sieve; if using bags, remove them. Let cool, transfer to pitcher, cover and refrigerate.
For cold brewed:
8 cups cold water
6 tablespoons loose tea or 10 tea bags
1. In a large pitcher, combine water and tea. Cover and refrigerate 15 to 36 hours, or until it has reached the strength you prefer. Strain or remove bags.
* For sweet teas:
1. In a saucepan, combine 3/4 cup each sugar and water. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Makes about 1 cup syrup, to use as needed.