As the days heat up for summer, many are looking for ways of staying cool. One favorite beverage for helping quench the summer thirst is iced tea. June is National Iced Tea month, so in its honor here is a short history of the beverage and some different recipes for it.
Many credit Richard Blechynden, India Tea Commissioner and Director of the East Indian Pavilion, at the 1904 Saint Louis World’s Fair for being the creator of iced tea. The truth is that was where iced tea was commercialized and popularized. As the icehouse, the icebox (refrigerator) and commercial manufacture of ice developed in the middle of the 19th century, the popularity of iced tea increased. The oldest sweet tea (iced tea) recipe actually comes from a community cookbook that was published in 1879 called Housekeeping in Old Virginia, by Marion Cabell Tyree. This recipe used green tea instead of the black tea that is more prevalently used today.
Although this recipe came from the South, another published in 1884 may be not only the first printed recipe using black tea, but also the earliest version of pre-sweetened iced tea. This recipe can be found in Mrs. Lincoln’s Boston Cook Book: What to Do and What Not to Do in Cooking published by Mrs. D. A. (Mary) Lincoln who was the director of the Boston Cooking School.
After 1900, black tea, with the import of inexpensive exports from India, Ceylon, South America, and Africa, became the tea of choice in most cookbooks. By 1917, Americans were purchasing special glasses, spoons and lemon forks especially for iced tea. The Prohibition Era (1920 – 1933) also led to an increase in iced tea consumption. During WWII, the routes for importing green tea were cut off, but black tea could still be imported through British-controlled India. So black tea rose to 99 percent of the tea consumption.
Today a variety of iced teas are available: black tea, green tea, white tea, sweet tea, flavored tea, pre-brewed; tea bags or cut tea for brewing. In other words, there is probably an iced tea for any thirst. (whatscookingamerica.net)
Traditional Iced Tea
4 to 8 tea bags
4 cups cool water
Using 4 cups of water and 4 to 8 tea bags, bring fresh cool water to a full boil. Pour into a teapot (or the jar you are going to keep it in, Just be sure to rinse jar with very hot water so it will not crack). Cover and let steep for 3 to 5 minutes. Remove tea bags and let tea cool for 2 hours at room temperature. Serve over ice. Refrigerate leftovers.
Refrigerator Brewed Tea
This takes longer, but does not depend on the sun.
6 to 8 tea bags
1-1/2 quarts cold water
Place the tea bags in 1-1/2 quarts cold water; cover. Let brew in the refrigerator about 24 hours. Remove tea bags and serve over ice. If this is stronger than you like add some very cold water to it in the glass. I would use half tea and ice and water to fill glass.
simplyrecipes.com, Elise Bauer
4-6 tea bags
Put 4 to 6 tea bags into a clean 2-quart glass container. Fill with water and cap. Place outside where the sunlight can strike the container for about 3 to 5 hours. Move the container if necessary to keep it in the sun. When the tea has reached its desired strength, remove from sun and put it in the refrigerator. You may or may not want to remove the tea bags at this point. I usually don’t.
The tea will probably taste mellower than what you are used to from using boiling water. The slow seeping has a way of bringing out a slightly different flavor from the tea. Also, because you didn’t use boiling water, you should refrigerate the tea and drink it up pretty quickly - a day or two. It will not keep as well as iced tea made from boiling water.
Good Ol’ Alabama Sweet Tea
2 cups sugar
1/2 gallon water
1 tray ice cubes
3 family sized teabags of orange
3 cups cold water, or as needed
Pour the sugar into a large pitcher. Bring water to a boil in a large pan. When the water begins to boil, remove from the heat, and place the teabags in. Let steep for 5 to 6 minutes.
Remove tea bags, and return tea to the heat. Bring just to a boil, then pour into the pitcher, and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Fill the pitcher half way with ice, and stir until most of it melts. Then fill the pitcher the rest of the way with cold water, and stir until blended. Makes one gallon.
Cherry Ginger Infused Tea
1 cup pitted cherries
2-inch piece fresh ginger,
peeled and sliced
3 tablespoons white sugar
4 cups filtered water, divided
4 (2 g) bags green tea
4 lemon slices (optional)
1 tablespoon lemon juice, or to
Combine cherries and ginger slices in a glass bowl. Sprinkle sugar over the cherries mixture and cover with 2 cups filtered water.
Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate 2 hours to overnight.
Bring 2 cups filtered water nearly to a boil; pour over tea bags in a pitcher. Steep tea for 90 seconds. Squeeze tea bags into pitcher and discard bags.
Strain cherry-ginger water into pitcher with green tea, squeezing out excess liquid. Serve with lemon slices and lemon juice. Makes 4 servings.
Boston Iced Tea
1 gallon water
1 cup white sugar
15 tea bags (regular sized)
12 fluid ounce can frozen
cranberry juice concentrate
Put water in large pot, and heat on high until boiling. Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Add teabags and let steep until desired strength is acquired. Stir in cranberry juice concentrate, and allow to cool. Makes 14 servings.
Mint Tea Punch
3 cups boiling water
12 sprigs fresh mint
4 tea bags
1 cup white sugar
1 cup orange juice
1/4 cup lemon juice
5 cups cold water
3 orange slices for garnish
3 lemon slices for garnish
Place the tea bags and mint sprigs into a large pitcher. Pour boiling water over them, and allow to steep for about 8 minutes. Remove and discard the tea bags and mint leaves, squeezing out excess liquid. Stir in sugar until dissolved, then stir in the orange juice and lemon juice. Pour in the cold water. Serve over ice cubes, garnished with orange or lemon slices. Makes 10 servings.
Strawberry Iced Tea
3 cups fresh strawberries
1-1/4 cups sugar
Pinch of baking soda
4 cups boiling water
2 family-size tea bags
2-1/2 cups cold water
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon
Garnishes: fresh strawberry
slices, wedge of lemon, fresh
Combine strawberries and sugar in large container. Crush strawberries with a wooden spoon. Mix in baking soda and lemon juice. Set aside.
Pour 4 cups boiling water over tea bags; cover and let stand 3 minutes. Squeeze and discard tea bags.
Pour tea over strawberries and sugar; let stand at room temperature 1 hour. Strain the tea by pouring it through a wire-mesh strainer into a large pitcher. Discard the solids. Add 2-1/2 cups cold water, stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved.
Cover and chill until ready to serve. Garnish with mint, strawberries, or a lemon wedge.
Contributed by writer G. Elaine Acker.
Raspberry Iced Tea
Wilson, Sellersville, PA
8-1/4 cups water, divided
2/3 cup sugar
5 individual tea bags
3 to 4 cups unsweetened
In a large saucepan, bring 4 cups water to a boil. Stir in sugar until dissolved. Remove from the heat; add tea bags. Steep for 5-8 minutes. Discard tea bags. Add 4 cups water.
In another saucepan, bring raspberries and remaining water to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 3 minutes. Strain and discard pulp. Add raspberry juice to the tea mixture. Serve in chilled glasses over ice. Yield: about 2 quarts.
Lemonade Iced Tea
tasteofhome.com, Gail Buss, Westminster, MD
3 quarts water
9 individual tea bags
3/4 – 1-1/4 cups sugar
12 ounce can frozen lemonade
In a Dutch oven, bring water to a boil. Remove from the heat; add tea bags. Cover and steep for 5 minutes. Discard tea bags. Stir in sugar and lemonade concentrate. Cover and refrigerate until chilled. Serve over ice. Yield: 12 servings (about 3 quarts).
Sweet Citrus Iced Tea
14-1/2 cups water, divided
10 individual tea bags
1-1/2 cups sugar
2/3 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup thawed orange juice
In a large saucepan, bring 4 cups of water just to a boil. Remove from the heat. Add tea bags; let stand for 10 minutes. Discard tea bags.
Pour tea into a large container. Stir in the sugar, lemon juice, orange juice concentrate and remaining water. Refrigerate until chilled. Serve over ice. Yield: 1 gallon.
The COOK OF THE WEEK 3rd Edition Cookbook is available. Cost per copy is $10.70, plus $4.80 shipping/handling. Order a copy today by sending a check or money order, along with name and shipping address, to: Humboldt Independent, 512 Sumner Ave., Humboldt, IA 50548.