Friday, June 20, 2014

How to Make Iced Tea

Ah Ohio summers. Like they say, it’s not the heat, but the humidity that makes us look for ways to stay cool inside and out.

How bad is it? So bad that my neighbors who had relatives visiting from Africa complained the humidity made Ohio too hot.

Yep. That. Hot.

That means it is iced tea weather!

howtomakeicedtea
Iced tea mix would be the lazier way to make iced tea but it is fraught with problems.
  • First off, it tastes too gross and sickly sweet and is filled with a bunch of unnecessary yucky stuff.
  • Next, I’m guaranteed to sweat buckets getting into a hot car that won’t cool off until I get to the store and vice versa.
  • Most importantly, the house is air conditioned and I don’t want to leave it. Humidity, remember?

Making ice tea from tea bags I already have is the only logical and lazy solution. It is cheaper too.

How to Make Iced Tea From Tea Bags

You can make traditional iced tea using black tea bags. You can also use green tea if you like or you can go crazy and use flavored tea. I’ve made iced tea with all three types of tea bags with excellent results. Peppermint tea makes a tasty and refreshing iced tea!

I’m using black tea in this example because it is the first container on the tea shelf in my pantry. I don’t want to risk overexerting myself in an air conditioned house moving the black tea to the side to get to the peppermint tea behind it on the shelf. Safety lazy I’m all about that.

howtomakeicedteafromteabags

You will need:
6 tea bags of your favorite tea
Approximately 1 teakettle full of heated water + enough room temperature water to fill your iced tea pitcher
Optional: 1/2 to 1 cup of sugar
Optional: lemon or lemon juice to taste

Make it:
1. Put 6 tea bags in an empty room temperature pitcher. (I’ll get to why in Step 2.) You can add or subtract the number of tea bags you use depending upon how strong or weak you like your iced tea. Six works for us.

2. Heat one tea kettle full of water and pour it over the tea bags in a room temperature pitcher.

Why make iced tea in a room temperature pitcher?

If you pour hot water into a cold glass pitcher, the hot cold reaction can cause the glass to crack and break. Remember that from science class?

I use an electric tea kettle to heat iced tea water so it is hot enough to allow the tea to steep but not super boiling hot enough to break a room temperature glass pitcher. Even so, I often put my glass pitcher on a trivet or towel before I pour hot water in it just in case the counter temperature creates the perfect storm of science to crack the glass pitcher – just like what can happen when you pour hot food into cold canning jars.

Of course you may be saying,” Why go to all the trouble Ms. Lazy Budget Chef? Use a plastic pitcher.” I could, but I’m not fond of pouring hot liquids into even BPA free plastic containers because the reports on them leaching or not leaching potential extras into my food seems to change with the rise and fall of humidity outside. Also, I don’t have any plastic pitchers, I have have glass. I like glass better because it doesn’t stretch, stain, leach, and needs to eventually be replaced because it looks dirty with it is clean. Budget Chef too, you know.

If you like to use plastic or silicone pitchers, be my guest. No judgey judgments here. Do what works for you. I’m not your mom.

3. Fill the rest of the iced tea pitcher with room temperature water and allow the tea bags to steep for 4-15 minutes depending upon how strong you like your iced tea or in my case, don’t want to wait any longer before I can drink it.

4. Remove the tea bags from the iced tea. Tip: If you have a compost bin, compost bins LOVE spent tea bags!

5. Optional: Stir in 1/2 cup to 1 cup of sugar.The amount of sugar you use depends upon how sweet you like your tea. Most of the time, I skip the sugar altogether. When I add sugar, I start by adding a 1/2 cup of sugar and add more if I get complaints from guests that my sweet tea t isn’t sweet enough.

6. Optional: Stir in lemon juice to taste if desired.

7. Pour a cup and drink it up!

Do you like your iced tea sweetened or unsweetened?

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