June 10th is National Iced Tea Day. Iced tea became popular in the early 1900s after the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904. In the 1920s-30s in home refrigeration became accessible to more people. This also increased popularity of iced beverages as ice cubes became readily available to the masses for the first time. An estimated 75-80% of tea consumed in the United States is iced.
Tea offers many different health benefits. Green tea and black tea are the most popular types in the US. Teas are rich in polyphenols, which are anti-oxidants that can reduce inflammation. Potential health benefits for tea drinkers are reduced risk of premature death, heart disease, stroke, and Type 2 Diabetes. Teas are a naturally low calorie beverage and are good beverages to drink for hydration. Adding sugars and syrups add calories, so be careful with the amount if you decide to add extra’s into your tea.
Making your own iced tea is easy and can save you money instead of buying premade bottle iced teas (and less plastic). A rule of thumb is to brew tea using a 1:1 ratio of tea bags to cups of water. For example, if you want to make eight cups of iced tea, use 8 cups of water with 8 tea bags. You can adjust depending on how strong you like your tea as well. There are many different iced recipes out there, here’s a couple of recipes to try. Mix and match different fruits/herbs/teas or enjoy a classic plain glass of iced tea.
Sparkling Iced tea w/ Lemon, Cucumber and Mint
Serves about 8 cups
4 cups water
4 tea bags (choose a green tea or an herbal tea that you like)
1/4 cucumber, sliced
1 bunch fresh mint leaves
4 cups unsweetened seltzer
- Boil water. Let it cool for 10 minutes. Add the tea bags and half of the mint leaves and let it steep for 5 to 10 minutes. This will make a less bitter tea infusion, which is perfect for iced tea.
- Squeeze the lemons and limes, reserving a few slices for decoration. Add the lemon and lime juice to the tea infusion. When the mixture has cooled down, add the cucumber slices and the rest of the mint leaves.
- Mix 1 part of the tea infusion with 1 part seltzer just before serving. Decorate with mint leaves, a lime or lemon slice, and some cucumber slices.
Black Iced Tea
Serves: 6 cups
6 black tea bags (English breakfast, Earl Grey, lipton.)
Lemons slices (per preference)
- Boil water. Pour over tea bags and steep for 10-15 minutes, depending on your preference. Take tea bags out. Let pitcher cool in fridge.
- Add lemon slices and ice cubes. Enjoy!