Give Me Iced Tea, with Extras!
It’s a thirsty season, Summertime. The heat, the glorious sunshine, and the sure knowledge that Minnesota summers are fleeting all conspire to motivate me to get outside. And with all that biking and gardening and relaxing strolling by the creek, comes thirst. Water is great, but now and then, I crave something a little fancier. Iced Green Tea with Turmeric is a tasty way to rehydrate, and to chug a hefty dose of healthy turmeric, ginger, and other good stuff.
It’s Iced Tea Month, if You Needed an Excuse
Yes, in the social media calendar, June is Iced Tea Month. If you are a tea drinker, like me, the switch to floating ice cubes in your brew is as natural as switching from jeans to shorts. The origin story of iced tea goes back to the World’s Fair in 1904, but who knows. It seems natural to cool your beverages when it gets hot out. But I do sometimes forget to take that extra step, and make something a little nicer than my usual straight, plain tea. Once you have some hot water, you might as well infuse it with antioxidants and brilliant color, with a few slices of fresh turmeric root. I always add some black pepper to recipes with turmeric in them, because it helps you absorb the active ingredients of the orange roots. A bashed stalk of lemongrass will give up a citrusy tang and fragrance that can’t be missed. Green tea is famously healthful, helping with everything from weight maintenance to memory.
Use Up that Rogue Spearmint Plant!
My garden is in danger of being overtaken by spearmint, garlic chives, and catnip, so I’ve always got to have some recipes ready to take advantage of the bounty. In this iced tea, I just threw handfuls of mint stalks and leaves into the hot tea and let them infuse. Then, they make a lovely edible garnish at serving time.
One Trick for Clear, Not Cloudy Iced Tea
Folks who make iced tea on the regular know that there is one step you can’t leave out, to keep your tea looking pretty. If you rush, and put hot or very warm tea in the refrigerator too soon, it will become cloudy. There’s nothing wrong with it, should you make this mistake, but you can avoid the faux pas by letting the brewed tea cool completely before chilling.
Once you have this golden elixir in the refrigerator, you’ll have a quaffable, beautiful drink to get you through the summer heat. It’s just barely sweet, and if you like a little more sweetness, you can add more palm sugar. It will still be a better beverage than soda from a can.
So enjoy the summer, and drink golden iced tea. Your thirst will thank you.
Iced Green Tea with Turmeric and Mint
- 1 large lemon zest pared, juiced
- 8 cups water
- 1/4 cup palm sugar or other sweetener
- 4 slices fresh turmeric
- 1 inch fresh ginger thinly sliced
- 1 stalk lemongrass split lengthwise
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 6 green teabags or 2 tbs tea leaves
- 2 handfuls fresh mint sprigs for tea and garnishes
- Pare the zest in a long strip, and juice the lemon. Place zest (not juice yet) in a large pot with the water, palm sugar, turmeric, lemongrass, ginger and peppercorns. Bring to a boil, reduce and simmer for 5, then take off the heat. Add tea and mint and steep for 4 min. Strain into a large pitcher, stir in lemon juice, and let cool completely before chilling.