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June 10 is National Iced Tea day. It’s the perfect time to cool off with a refreshing icy drink as temperatures soar.
Most people think of iced tea, sweetened or unsweetened, as the traditional drink made from black tea. I drank the unsweetened version for years. After adopting the practice of afternoon tea, and realizing that my body reacted to traditional teas, I switched to herbal teas.
Herbs make flavorful teas, served hot or cold. And they offer health benefits as well.
Try one of these amazing herbal iced teas for summer.
History of Iced Tea
Iced tea is primarily a drink served in the US. Ask for iced tea in England or Scotland and they wonder why you’d ruin a good cup of tea!
South Carolina first grew and produced tea commercially. Tea plants arrived in the late 1700s when French botanist Andre Michaux imported them for Charleston planters.
By the 1800s American cookbooks offered recipes for cold tea in the form of green tea punches. Added liquor often flavored those punches. At the 1893 Chicago World Fair iced green tea and lemonade sold briskly.
By the early 1900s less expensive black tea replaced green tea as the preferred choice for iced tea drinks. The 1904 St. Louis World Fair helped popularize iced tea. Due to the hot summer weather, fair goers sought out cold drinks. Richard Blechynden, India Tea Commissioner, offered free iced tea when he realized no one wanted hot tea. After the fair, he continued to promote iced tea as a desirable summer drink.
Today we drink iced tea year around in the US, with sweet tea common in the southern states.
Herbal Iced Teas for Summer
Try one of these herbal iced teas, for a burst of flavor and a boost of nutrients.
Hibiscus and Lemon
This tart and tasty combination of dried hibiscus and fresh lemon juice refreshes on a hot summer day. It’s one of my favorite herbal iced teas.
4 cups of water, divided
2 teaspoons dried hibiscus or 1 hibiscus tea bag
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
4 tablespoons raw organic honey
Bring 1 cup of water to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from heat, add dried hibiscus and cover. Allow to steep for 10 – 15 minutes. Strain tea and chill in refrigerator.
In a small bowl combine remaining water, lemon juice and honey, whisking until honey dissolves. Chill lemon water while hibiscus tea cools. Combine cold liquids to create hibiscus lemon tea. Garnish with lemon slices.
Lemon Balm with Wild Blueberries
Lemon balm grows easily in the garden or a container. It’s delicately flavored leaves create a delicious tea. Combine lemon balm tea with berries for a colorful and nutritious drink.
1/2 cup fresh lemon balm leaves or 3 teaspoons dried herb or 1 tea bag
2 cups water, boiling
1/4 cup frozen wild blueberries, thawed
Add lemon balm to cup and pour in boiling water. Cover and steep for 15 minutes. Strain tea and chill in refrigerator until cold.
Place thawed blueberries in bottom of large glass. Pour lemon balm tea over berries, add ice and sweeten with organic honey if desired.
Thyme and Raspberries
This tasty combo is high in antioxidants and helps destroy viruses. Thyme is another herb easily grown in the garden.
1/3 cup of fresh thyme or 2 teaspoons dried herb or 1 tea bag
2 cups water, boiling
1/4 cup fresh raspberries or frozen raspberries, thawed
Combine thyme and boiling water. Cover and steep for 15 minutes. Strain tea and chill in refrigerator until cold. Pour thyme tea into a large glass. Add 1/4 cup raspberries and ice. Sweeten tea with organic honey if desired.
Foraging for wild foods provides fun ingredients for iced teas. Sweet violets, honeysuckle, purslane, cleavers, dandelion and white clover grows in yards and fields. Gather these wild herbs from areas free from pesticides and create a tasty iced tea.
3/4 cup white clover blossoms
2 cups boiling water
Combine clover blossoms and boiling water. Cover and steep for 15 minutes. Strain tea and chill in refrigerator until cold. Add ice and sweeten with organic honey if desired.
Create Your Own Herbal Blends
The above basic tea recipes are extremely adaptable. Combine mint leaves with cucumber slices, fresh ginger with lemon slices, bee balm with lime juice and fresh strawberries, hibiscus with orange juice, or lemon balm with strawberries.
Herbs and fruits or veggies go well together. However, combine two or more herbs, or foraged wild foods with herbs.
The possibilities truly are endless and that’s perfect for the long, warm summer months ahead.
Tea Making Goodies from Amazon:
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