Just the other day I was reading some research about how citric acid in bottled iced tea is not so good for the enamel on our teeth. That goes for the citric acid in any bottled drink or for the citric acid also present in those powdered drink tubes sold to add to bottled water. I also know the sugar from bottled teas isn’t doing our teeth or our waistlines much good. Both sugar and high-fructose corn syrup are sources of empty calories which are going a long way into making our nation a hefty place to live. (Latest statistics show 2/3 of adults are obese. Kids are rapidly catching up.) The acidity of regular and diet soft drinks isn’t good for our bones. The excess phosphorus in the soft drinks we lap up, all in the name of thirst quenching, leaches calcium from our bones leaving them weak and brittle.
One of my pet rants is about bottled drinks. We’ve become a people who can’t drive our cars, nor walk around the mall, without a large drink in our hands and a straw stuck in our mouths. Unfortunately our health is suffering from this beverage addiction: poor oral health, thicker than should-be waistlines, and Swiss-cheese bones. For this reason, my go-to drink is iced black or green tea. It’s simple to make at home, stores easily in the refrigerator, less expensive than bottled drinks, and because I store tea in a pitcher and drink out of a reusable tumbler, easier on the landfill. Everyone is happy. Not to mention, black and green tea are both full of antioxidants, powerful naturally-occuring plant chemicals that may have health benefits in the areas of aging, heart disease, and cancer. And it doesn’t contain citric acid. And it doesn’t contain any added sugar. Again, everyone is happy.
Since today is Tip Tuesday I offer tips on clear, cold tea. I can’t let summer leave without one more mention of iced tea:
Don’t make iced tea the same way you make hot. Hot and cold temperatures create different flavors. Cold water dampens flavor so brew iced tea stronger than you would hot tea.
Make a tea concentrate. Use 2 family-sized (or 6 regular-sized) tea bags. In a heat-proof container steep the tea in 4 cups boiling water for 10 minutes. (For iced green tea cut the steeping time to prevent bitter overtones.) This concentrate makes a more tea-flavorful final product and offers you more control in the final strength of the tea.
Use cold water. Once you’ve made the concentrate, add COLD water. I like to add about 4 cups COLD water to the concentrate. Adjust the flavor to you liking by adding more or less COLD water. The cold water helps the tea stay clear and gets it down to room temperature quicker.
Cool to room temperature. Tea needs to be stored in the refrigerator, but hot tea in a cold refrigerator will result in cloudy tea. Cooled tea in a cold refrigerator will result in clear tea. So the upshot is: before you refrigerate your tea, make sure it’s at room temperature.