Cold Brewed Iced Tea

Just in time for a very early summer day, I have been experimenting with cold brewed iced tea. It’s amazingly easy, and the possibilities are endless. I plan to have a pitcher brewing in my fridge at all times this summer.

Fresh Mint and Ginger Lemonade

1/2 cup fresh ginger root, thinly sliced
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, strained
4 cups cold water
Dissolved honey* to taste
Lemon slices and mint leaves to garnish

Combine ginger, mint, and water in a lidded jar or pitcher. Refrigerate overnight. Remove mint leaves and about half of the ginger slices. Stir in lemon juice and dissolved honey. Garnish with fresh lemon slices and mint leaves.

Hibiscus Earl Grey Elixir

2 hibiscus tea bags
2 earl grey tea bags
Zest from one orange
4 cups cold water
Dissolved honey* to taste

Combine tea bags, orange zest, and water in a lidded jar or pitcher. Refrigerate overnight. Strain, extracting as much liquid as possible. Stir in sweetener to taste. Garnish with orange rind.

* In a small pot, combine 1 part boiling water and 1 part honey. Stir to dissolve. Let cool and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Fortify your infusion with chia

Stir 1 teaspoon of chia seeds into 1 cup of liquid and let it sit for 15-20 minutes. The chia seeds will begin to absorb some of the liquid, forming tiny gel beads that add a pulpy texture. For a thicker texture, use more chia (up to 1 tablespoon). This drink (Agua de Chia or Chia Fresca) is often used by runners for sustained energy.

Chia is rich in omega-3 fatty acids which have an anti-inflammatory effect. Thanks to the gel beads and a healthy dose of fiber, chia also helps to slow digestion, regulating blood sugar and providing slow-release energy. Chia is also rich in powerful antioxidants and provides some protein, calcium, phosphorus, manganese and zinc.

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