I love iced tea, but I really don’t like the overly sweet commercial products sold in stores and restaurants. Syrups used in them are typically made from corn, and almost always way overdone. Gag! So, I make my own, at home, with as much or as little sweetenings as I like. It’s not hard. I make three large bottles on a weekend or a weeknight, and store them in the fridge for the whole week.
Doing this has allowed me to avoid soft drinks, milks and more coffee than I need to consume at night with dinner and afterward. I try to keep my calorie consumption to about 1400-1500 per day, and this is one of little tricks I employ since a 1/2 teaspoon of sugar in each 8 ounces of iced tea cup doesn’t add up to much. It’s mostly water, and then the sugar and then the teabag extract. Cool, huh?
Here’s my method for Homemade Iced Tea:
1. I fill up a 12 oz mason jar with clean water and stick it into the microwave for 3 minutes to heat it up.
2. Carefully I remove the jar from the microwave when it’s done and drop one or two teabags into the hot water depending upon how strong I want my brew to end up at.
(For teas like Earl Grey I may use one bag, whereas with the herbal teas like Strawberry or Mojito Lime, I will use two. I like a strong herbal punch to my iced tea.)
3. I let the bags steep in the water till it’s completely cooled down. This can take 30-45 minutes.
4. I run the facet till the water is as cool as I can get it, or I pull a few bottles of water from the fridge and get them ready.
5. Using a small funnel, I pour the brews into each of the jars and top them with as much cold water as will fit, cap them and then stuff them in the fridge to chill for at least two hours to overnight.
6. I don’t add sugar to the iced tea jars, so I tend to add my half teaspoon to a cup, run a bit of water over it, and then swirl both around to dissolve the crystals before I add the iced tea and ice cubes over top.
If you like at this point, you can top the iced tea with things like fresh basil leaves you’ve muddled a bit in jar or bowl, or just drop a wedge of lemon or lime into your glass to punctuate the natural tea flavour.