Liven Up Your Iced Tea
Enjoyably Frugal Loose-Leaf Tea
As I was picking up a can of instant iced-tea mix the other day, it occurred to me that it was mostly sugar with just a little bit of tea and lemon flavor. And the last time I checked, plain sugar was quite a bit cheaper than the tea mix. Has anyone seen a recipe to make your own?
A favourite summer drink at our house is "Sun Tea". This is iced tea that is brewed naturally outdoors. Take a one-gallon glass jar (many of us buy our condiments such as relish in these) and fill it with cold water. I actually purchased a jar with a spigot at the bottom for this. Add 9 regular size teabags (3 family size) and put the cap back on loosely. Set the jar outside in the sun for about 3-4 hours to brew. When finished, take out the teabags and sweeten to taste. After a few batches you'll have it down to a science. The sun tea must be refrigerated within 5 hours of brewing and remember - this tea isn't brewed with boiling water so it will only last a couple of days.
Our family drinks a lot of tea. I make ours in the microwave. I get my gallon size pitcher, add 4 tea bags, 3/4 cup sugar (more or less, depending on your taste), and 1/4 cup lemon juice, and about 3-4" of water in the bottom of the pitcher. Put the pitcher in the microwave for 4-6 minutes. This will dissolve the sugar and you won't have sugar accumulating in the bottom of your pitcher.
Let the mixture steep for 5 minutes. I fish out the tea bags and give them one last good squeeze to get all the flavor out, then fill the pitcher the rest of the way full with water. It takes about 10 minutes, but my family and I love it. It's a lot less expensive than the store bought mixture. You may want to play around with the amounts of sugar and lemon to get it to your taste. I like my tea with a hint of sugar flavor and a hint of lemon.
I used to make my own this way. For 1 gallon of pre-sweetened -lemon tea, place one packagoe of lemonade Kool-Aid mix, 1 1/2 cups of sugar, and the correct amount of non-sweetened instant tea mix (about 1/2 cup) in a resealable bag: I made the mixture in baggies, and then I just had to put it in the water. I also used a one gallon milk jug for the container.
4 cups of water
8 individual tea bags
1 1/2 cups of sugar
Bring water to a boil and add tea bags. In a pitcher place sugar. Let tea bags boil for 20 minutes. Take tea bags out of water and pour tea into pitcher. Fill pitcher with cold water. Stir and enjoy. To add a different flavor you can add lemon juice to taste.
For the person looking for iced tea drinks, we found a recipe for Snapple iced tea on www.topsecretrecipes.com site that tastes exactly like Snapple. Here is the recipe:
3 Lipton tea bags
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons lemon juice
8 cups (2 quarts) of cold water.
Bring water to a rapid boil, turn off heat, add tea bags and cover and let it steep for one hour. Add sugar and stir till dissolved, add lemon juice. Put in container and refrigerate to chill. Makes 2 quarts. We like it a little stronger so we use 4 tea bags. You could adjust it to your own taste if necessary.
Your article reminded me of my revised Russian Tea recipe. I make it in bulk.
1 Jar (3oz) plain tea
1 Jar Tang or equivalent (says makes 6 quarts)
1/4 cup dry lemonade mix
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
Mix in large jar and use one heaping tablespoon per large cup. I usually do drink mine hot. I have eliminated the sugar that was added in the original recipe and it tastes just fine.
The person who asked about iced tea mix needs to look for plain instant tea. I've had some problems finding it in some stores, but it should be available in name brands. I used to be able to buy instant tea (for iced tea) with lemon flavor, but haven't been able to find it for a few years. The sweetened teas come in flavors, but I'm allergic to sugar and my husband prefers artificial sweeteners.
As for getting away from aspartame, your local health food store should carry a powdered product called "Stevia". This is a sweetener that is an herb, and it can be used for baking because heat doesn't destroy the sweetness.
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