June is National Iced Tea Month!
June is an awesome month. It’s the perfect weather in Virginia since it’s the tail end of spring. It’s my birthday month (which admittedly was a bummer as a child because school always let out at the same time meaning no one cared because SUMMER FREEDOM is way better). But more importantly and on a food related note, June is also National Iced Tea Month! If you’ve visited Virginia, you know iced tea is just part of the program for conference lunches, restaurant offerings or basically any to-go cup someone is holding out and about. In fact, it would be exceptionally weird to not have iced tea at some kind of luncheon.
Tea is the second most consumed beverage in the world and 80% of the tea we’re drinking in the US is specifically iced. Last year in 2016, Americans consumed 3.8 billion gallons of tea. The large majority of those 3.8 billion gallons were black tea like we’re using in today’s recipe and it’s the true classic iced tea base if I do say so myself.
Before we jump into the recipe let’s talk about tea from a nutrition perspective. Tea has some major health benefits. Beyond the fact that it’s a delicious beverage that’s naturally calorie-free (I know may people ‘don’t like water because it’s boring’) there are decades-worth of research that show that the flavonoids in tea play a big role in health. From cardiovascular health to weight management, improved bone health, improved attention, problem solving and even mood!
Over the next few weeks we’ll be sharing more iced tea information and recipes. Next week is something very cool and different and I hope it opens your mind up to think of the amazing possibilities with iced tea recipes. For today it’s a classic recipe with a twist. Chris grew up always having a batch of iced tea in the fridge at his house. And I mean always. They had a special enormous pan to brew it in and everything. Seriously, it was a pan just for tea. It’s a tradition that always seems to revive itself every year for us, so we’ve done a touch of adjusting over the years to the classic iced tea he always had with a simple change: flavor the simple syrup with lemon. This is not new at all in any way. The majority of iced teas in restaurants are served with lemon, but this way, you get maximum lemon flavor, thoroughly mixed and dissolved.
How to brew iced tea
For small quantities, proceed as for hot tea and pour over ice. (1) use a teapot, (2) bring fresh, cold tap water or filtered water to a full boil, (3) use one teaspoon or one tea bag per cup; (4) pour boiling water over tea and brew by the clock 3 to 5 minutes and chill.
For large quantities, prepare concentrate as follows: Bring one quart of cold water to a rolling boil. Remove from heat and add 8-10 teabags per quart of brewed tea as desired. Steep 3-5 minutes and pour over remaining cold water or ice cubes. To serve, pour into tall glasses filled with ice which will dilute the concentrate over time, garnish or sweeten as desired.
Lemon Black Iced Tea
6 ounces black tea, brewed and chilled
- 1 teaspoon lemon simple syrup (adjust to preferred sweetness)
- lemons for garnish
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup water
- juice and zest of 2 medium lemons, seeds removed
Directions: To make simple syrup heat equal parts granulated sugar and water into a sauce pan. Heat and stir to dissolve sugar. Add juice and zest of two lemons. Stir to combine. Cool and strain.
To make drink, add ice and lemons to glass. Pour over black tea and simple syrup. Stir and enjoy.
Do you have a classic iced tea memory? How do you make your family’s recipe?
Dietitian Nutritionist and cookbook author sharing flavor-forward recipes and simplified science-driven wellness.