I’m sitting here sipping on some homemade brew, thinking about how fast the summer flew.
Recently I started making my own iced tea instead of buying pre-made tea at the grocery store. It’s simple, economical, healthy, and the result is clearly refreshing.
The instructions I followed for making it are right on the box of gallon-size tea bags: place one of the large tea bags in a 4-quart glass container. Boil a quart of water and pour it over the tea bag, letting it steep for 5 to10 minutes. Then discard the tea bag and add 3 quarts of cold water to the container of hot tea. Serve over ice and add some lemon if you like. That’s it!
The results were so good the first time that I now make it every few days. There’s something soothing about setting the kettle on to boil and listening for the sharp pitch of the whistle; you know the shrill sound is coming but it startles you anyway. It’s kind of fun and old-fashioned, and as I watch the steam sputter out and the clear water turn darker as the tea bag steeps it is all very calming. Fragrant lemons add a light flavor and color to the beverage. For the first batch, I put the lemons into the larger container. This can make your tea cloudy, however; so it may be better to add a wedge to each glass instead. The tea I’m drinking now has a bit of fresh peach juice in it; just squeeze some from a piece of fresh fruit into your glass.
Making iced tea at home also saves money. A box of 48 gallon-size iced tea bags at a restaurant supply store costs somewhere around 12 dollars. On Amazon it sells for 13 or 14 dollars. I am not that great at math, but I did some calculations and figured that homemade iced tea comes out to somewhere around 5 cents for a tall 24-ounce serving
The real savings, however, may lie in the calories you don’t drink, enhanced by having healthy options. If you have a pitcher of homemade iced tea in the frig, you may reach for that instead of a sugary soda. The benefits of tea are something to consider. On the Lipton Tea Web site there is a link to a study about beverages and health. Water, obviously, is rated as the healthiest drink, but tea is right up there. For more information, check out the report.
So, consider creating your own toast to summer, and beyond. A glass of iced tea without sugar is zero calories. If you like your tea sweet, you can control the type and amount of sweetener. For a twist, add fresh mint that you can grow in your garden. Or slice some citrus to change up the flavor, using lemon, lime, or even orange slices. I may continue making my tea long after Labor Day!