Since living in the South, I’ve discovered the seductive allure of sweet tea. At first sip, you’ll imagine yourself gathered in an antebellum garden, hoop skirt hooping, parasol in tow, pinky out, gloved hands, and a playful laugh as you toss back your ringlet curled hair.
However, if you’re not from around these parts and were not weened on the syrupy flavors…brace yourself.
Not too long ago, we were driving across country. From the health-crazed sunshine of southern California where the “no-white-stuff” diet advice was running rampant to the sweet state of Georgia where sugar seems to fall right out of the sky and into the nearest glass of tea.
We stopped in at M’lady’s restaurant for an appetizer and sip of something cool. I ordered sweet tea. With mint. Forgetting what that meant…
It was diabetic coma at first sip! Delicious. Cold. But sweeeeet. So, with a little bit of hesitation, I called my waitress over, apologized, and asked if she could bring me a new glass “half-and-half.” Half sweet; half not; wholly perfect for my taste buds.
Poured over ice, tea has become the beverage of choice for many. It’s not soda, laden with sugar and who-knows-what else. Has more flavor than water. And, when you use green tea and various fruits, may actually provide you with some antioxidant protection.
As for how to make iced tea, the basics are, well, basic. You can seep tea bags in hot water and pour over ice; seep the tea in water that lazily sits in the sun all day, aka sun-tea; and even seep overnight in your refrigerator.
Summer Belle at the Wilmington Azalea Festival
Photo: Dawn Damico
But from that point on – your imagination is your only limitation!
And so, for this day in June when we celebrate National Iced Tea Day (just for the fun of it) here are some wonderful iced tea combinations to try:
Refreshing Honey Mint Green Iced Tea
Photo courtesy of Lyuba Brooke at WillCookForSmiles
The ingredients are easy to find: honey, mint, vanilla and green tea. For the full recipe, hop on over to WillCookForSmiles.
For the full recipe and instructions, head over to: http://wonkywonderful.com/strawberry-lemonade-sun-tea-recipe/
Photo courtesy of Sheena at Noshtastic
For the full recipe and instruction, head over to: http://www.noshtastic.com/peach-iced-tea/
For the full scoop, head on over to Living Chic on the Cheap, meet Jessica, and get the recipe at: http://livingchiconthecheap.com/orange-vanilla-iced-tea/#_a5y_p=1228840
Garden Flowers add Aroma and Color
Photo courtesy of Tieghan Gerard at HalfBakedHarvest
Absolutely heavenly! For the full recipe, head on over to Half Baked Harvest: http://www.halfbakedharvest.com/hibiscus-lemongrass-basil-and-honey-sweet-iced-tea/?crlt.pid=camp.FaSgGm9j4b4F
Powerful Antioxidants and Flavor
Photo: Dawn Damico
Blueberries have beautiful color, are filled with antioxidants and can be enjoyed all year long. I love to stock up during the season and then freeze them for use throughout the year. This should be a daily food!
And ginger…what can I say!? A little zing and a lot of anti-inflammatory action. Your body will love you.
Add a sweetener, like honey, only if you think you need it. Because I have cut down on sweet stuff (which I actually do love), I’ve discovered that for me, a little goes a long way. Try it. You may find cutting back on your sugar consumption is painless…one teaspoon full at a time.
Why should you remove sugar, you may wonder? Well, they are thinking it’s not so good for our health, mainly because of the process our table sugar goes through. When it’s processed, an enzyme is removed which, if left in, helps your body digest the sugar. However, in the name of food science…the enzyme is removed.
For that reason, I choose raw sugar.
Also, some researchers believe sugar breaks down collagen. As we get older, we need collagen to keep our beautiful skin looking beautiful. So, for that reason too…I’ve cut back.
Now, enough about all that…here’s how to make it:
- 4 cups Boiling Water
- 5 Green Tea Bags
- 2-inch piece of Fresh Ginger, peeled and cut into chunks
- 2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
Seep tea bags and ginger pieces in boiling water for 5-10 minutes. Remove tea bags. Pour tea through a strainer to remove the ginger pieces. Add blueberries and chill several hours.