Ahhh â€¦ Iced Tea Time!
By Patti Hermes
These long, hot, summer weekends, filled with alternating lawn mowing, gardening and naps in the lounge chair, I can really work up a thirst. And while I keep my trusty water bottle filled and chilled for the work part of the day, the lounge chair part needs a little more flavor.
Now I could probably just buy a case of pre-made iced tea in individual bottles, but when I'm at home I prefer to drink out of my own glasses, rather than add to my recycling bin already full of plastic bottles. Of course, I could buy it by the gallon, but it's still pre-made, with a bunch of sweeteners and other ingredients I don't need. Ditto for the canister of brown powder that you just mix with water; easy, but not exactly good for you.
Now green tea is a current favorite. There are lots of studies showing how it's good for weight loss, has lots of antioxidants and polyphenols which give it a multitude of benefits for your health. And, certain brands of green tea (okay, Lipton) have added superfruits, just to pump it up a bit more. Some studies show positive effects from drinking as little as two cups a day, which could be just one tall glass of iced tea.
Okay, so it's not pre-made. So you've got to work a little for all these great benefits. It's really easy. I start it in the evening so it's ready for me when nap time rolls around the next day. While some tea perfectionists will only brew tea with a kettle on the stove, I just heat it in the microwave.
I start by filling my 6 cup glass measuring cup, and add 4 or 5 teabags (current favorite is purple acai and blueberry!). Now you could always match one cup of water to one teabag, but I like to stretch it a bit. I put it all in the microwave and let it “brew” for 5 minutes. Microwaves will vary, but I like it to boil at least a minute before taking it out. Then I let it sit, with the teabags still steeping, for a couple minutes while I go out and pick a few leaves off my spearmint plant I have growing right outside my front door.
While it's still warm, I stir in a tablespoon of agave to sweeten it just a tiny bit, or honey would work just as well. Most people would probably want to put in a little more, unless you usually drink coffee and tea black with no sugar, like I do. By now the tea should be pretty well steeped, so I remove the tea bags and add the washed spearmint leaves (totally optional, tastes great without them, too). Then I put the whole thing in the fridge for the night. By morning, I'll have a small pitcher of perfect iced tea.
Now you could make this with any of your favorite teas; whatever you have in your pantry is bound to taste even better over ice on a hot day. But the green teas have the extra health benefits. And by making it yourself, you get to control the sugars/sweeteners and the caffeine or decaf. Go ahead and try it, and enjoy your summer lounge time.
Ahhh … now that's summertime!