Sunday, June 12, 2011

Mint Ice Tea with Honey

People are intimidated adding anything to sweeten drinks but sugar.  But you have to get over that and learn to add honey or maple syrup to your drinks (if you need it at all!).  It is easy to use honey and I'll explain how.

Mint is an easy plant to grow.  In fact, it's too easy to grow---it can be an invasive plant if you don't use a barrier of some sort in the ground to stop the excessive growth of this plant.  We brought a small, small clipping home from some Amish friends of ours and in only two years time, it has just about overtaken our herb garden.

It is a simple process to make mint tea.  After cutting off a bunch of it, wash it thoroughly.  I know some don't think this step is necessary, but I have just enough "city" in me to know that if my lawn furniture needs a daily washing of bird poop from fly-overs, my mint probably does too.  I spin it dry in a salad spinner, or you can let it dry naturally.  The fresher your mint is, the more flavorful it is, and the darker the color becomes.

I boil  about 2 cups of water and throw the leaves right in, taking off the heat and letting it steep.  You can also pack a tea ball with the leaves or put them up in a bag that you place in the water.  In fact, you can even omit the whole boiling thing if you want.  You can place the leaves directly in tepid water, and let it sit.  Occasionally stir up the leaves, squeezing them somewhat until you get the desired color.

Mint tea can be very dark if you allow the leaves to boil in the water.  I don't, letting it steep in the water, and obtaining a more natural "minty" color. When you have the desired steep-age, I filter the leaves out of my water and pour the mint water into a gallon glass jar.

Next, I add the honey.  There is a trick to getting the honey stirred into the water.  I first make a "simple syrup" out of it by simmering about 2 cups of water on the stove and then adding anywhere from 1/2 c to 1 c of honey to it.  It will dissolve in the warm water and can now be easily mixed into the mint tea mixture. 

Add water up to a gallon, add ice, and garnish with fresh mint leaves.  Delicious!

For hot tea, put mint leaves in a tea ball, place in your mug, and pour boiling water over the top, allowing it to steep for several minutes.  Add honey directly into the hot tea in mug. 


Bikermom said...

I just did the same thing but decided to try Maple Syrup and voila! It is pretty awesome too! Of course we will do some honey batches as well.

David Burns said...

I always love opening the fridge and seeing that you've made a batch! I love you, you are the best. Your Husband