by Lynn Kerrigan
A Harvest of Fruity Iced Teas
Although tea origins date back to ancient times, the iced variety wasn't popularized until Richard Blechynden introduced it at the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair. Since then, it's gained acceptance as a premier "anytime" beverage — about 80 percent of all tea in America is enjoyed chilled. Even major food companies are hopping onto the tea bandwagon, rushing to invent new varieties to sate the American taste for novel flavors. But bottled tea lacks the nutritional punch of antioxidant laced, home-brewed tea because reformulation to reduce "cloudiness" removes beneficial catechins. (These catechins are antioxidants—the chemicals that have been studied and proven to offer all kinds of health benefits. They are being hailed as "cancer prevention" agents.)
American Southerners enjoy iced tea year 'round— making it a distinctive regional beverage. But wherever you're from, savoring the soothing and nutritional benefits of afternoon tea gets an extra kick with the addition of fruit or other surprising ingredients. During June, National Iced Tea Month, learn how to easily turn ordinary tea into special, cooling, fruity refreshments for your family or guests.
The simple rules for making great iced tea are:
1) use a good grade of tea,
2) use freshly boiled water,
3) make the tea quickly and
4) never leave it standing too long on the leaves. You might also consider using a glass container for brewing and steeping.
Basic Iced Tea
3 cups water
3 family-sized tea bags or
3 heaping tablespoons of fresh bulk tea
(orange pekoe is a good all-purpose blend)
Pinch of baking soda (about 1/4 teaspoon)*
3 to 4 cups cold water
Sugar to taste (1 cup is normal)
Boil 3 cups of water. Add a pinch of baking soda and tea bags to the water. Remove from heat and cover. Steep for at least 10-15 minutes. Pour into pitcher and add sugar to taste. Stir until sugar is completely dissolved. Add 3-4 cups cold water. Refrigerate.
*Baking soda decreases bitterness and creates a darker, richer looking tea.
A Page of Tea Recipes
- Cranberry-Orange Iced Tea
- Vietnamese Lemongrass Iced Tea
- Thai Iced Tea
- Honey Raspberry Iced Tea
- Iced Blueberry Tea
- Special Occasion Iced Blue Brew
- Peppermint "Party" Punch
- Healthy Fruit Tea Slush
Current Culinary Sleuth Archive
This page created June 2000
Copyright © 1998-2001, Lynn Kerrigan. No portion of this article may be reproduced for publication without express, written permission of the author.
This page modified February 2007