June is National Iced Tea Month; June 10th is National Iced Tea Day.
If you like a slice or wedge of lemon in your iced tea, here’s a way to infuse all the fresh citrus flavor into your tea before you pour it into a glass.
The technique also works with lime and orange wedges, and with herbs like lemongrass and mint.
By the way, fresh orange and lemongrass are excellent complements to iced tea. Try them.
Bonus: Citrus fruits have plenty of vitamin C and antioxidants; lemongrass is full of antioxidants.
This technique is for people who want a lot of lemon, lime or mint flavor.
For only a touch of flavor, a quick squeeze of the wedge is fine.
1. BREW the tea. While the tea is hot…
2. ADD wedges of fruit into the hot tea. You can squeeze the juice into the tea before adding the wedges.
With mint, crush the leaves and stems in your hand before adding; with lemongrass, crush the stalks (we pound them).
3. INFUSE the tea on the countertop for an hour or longer.
4. STRAIN the tea into another container and discard the spent fruit. Chill the tea.
Note that the tea will not be crystal-clear as it is when iced plain, but the flavor will be more intense.
If you always drink iced tea with sugar, you can add it into the hot tea as well. It dissolves very quickly, unlike stirring it into cold tea.
The reason the infusion technique works best with lemon, lime and herbs is because these items aren’t meant to be eaten, just to flavor the tea.
On the other hand, peaches, berries, and other fruits are meant as edible garnishes, rather than infusions.
IS IT ICED TEA OR ICE TEA?
Properly, the drink is iced tea: tea that has been chilled with ice. It is spelled this way in primers on editing and by the line editors of quality publications.
But, as more and more Americans care less and less about the rules of English, ice tea—tea with added ice—has been making inroads, even among some editors.
There is precedent: Ice water was originally, properly, “iced water.” We presume that editors in that era of transition were equally chagrined.