Monday, July 27, 2020

It's still true: Desperate times call for desperate measures ... like iced tea

And the times lately have certainly been desperate as far as heat and humidity are concerned, not to mention the ever-present stress and strain from our current world situation.  So I'm updating and adding to this post from two years ago, in hopes that others may find it useful.

As a rule at our house, we no longer drink sweetened beverages.  Mr. T does use a little stevia in his coffee.  But for cold beverages, our first choice is always nice cold water.  Sometimes we will have kombucha.  I enjoy unsweetened iced tea with lemon, but my hubby does not, so I don't usually bother making it just for me.  Usually, water is the most refreshing and most usual cold drink for us.

However.  There are times when a lightly sweetened iced tea is just the ticket.  We've had an unusually long spell of heat and humidity and I have found myself making a jug of iced tea nearly every day during it.

I think maybe it all harks back to when my mother and grandmother made iced tea every summer, and it also brings back memories of my first job, washing dishes in a very busy local restaurant.  No AC in the kitchen, of course -- not sure window air conditioners were even a thing in the mid=1960s.  I think there were a few strategically placed fans.  The dishwasher ran on propane, so there was a pilot light and it got very, very hot in that kitchen!  When the bus people brought in their overflowing bins of dishes, there would almost always be partially finished glasses of iced tea, complete with ice and lemon.  Oh, the clinking sounds of the ice and the zesty lemon scent tempted me!   But don't worry -- I never succumbed to drinking from a stranger's discarded glass.

I did, however, drink my share of iced tea at home and I still find it one of the most refreshing beverages I can think of.

I have often used my daughter's recipe,  which is a good bit healthier than my mother usually made iced tea.  (She used a can of lemonade concentrate, replete with high fructose corn syrup I am sure.  Though, in her defense, I do remember many, many years ago when she used lemons and sugar instead.)

I have copied and pasted Carrie's recipe just as I wrote it in a 2007 blog post.  When I've made this during those desperate times in past summers, I've  usually made half a batch.  And I've used brown sugar, which feels just a tiny bit healthier and adds a bit more depth to the flavor.


12 cups boiling water
12 green tea bags
1 cup sugar
4 Tblsp. orange juice
4 Tblsp. lemon juice

Pour the boiling water over the tea bags in a large bowl. Let steep 5 to 7 minutes only. Stir in sugar and juices. Stir well; let cool. Transfer to a pitcher and let chill in refrigerator. Serve over ice.

This recipe may easily be halved and is very adaptable. I often add in some lime juice along with the other citrus juices, and usually when I halve the recipe I still use the full amount of fruit juice. Sometimes I use regular tea in place of the green tea -- just as tasty! Sometimes I use 11 regular tea bags and 1 flavored one such as mint, raspberry, or peach. Gives a nice, different flavor.

Since our 40-day sugar fast this spring, however,  I decided to try and make a healthier iced tea that didn't use sugar.  So this is what I am doing, just about every day:


8 cups boiling water
7 black tea bags
1/3 cup agave nectar
1/4 cup lemon juice
Pour the boiling water over the tea bags in a large bowl. Let steep at least 15 minutes or according to your taste.  I often let it steep for an hour or more. Stir in agave nectar and lemon juice. Stir well; let cool. Transfer to a pitcher or jug and let chill in refrigerator.  Serve over ice.  Makes about a half gallon.

We had one of these!  How about you?
If heat and humidity (not to mention hype and hysteria) have you desperate, too,  you might like to give one of these recipes a try.


  1. Wow, your iced tea recipe sounds delicious! I may have to try that for a change sometime. We live in Florida, so Iced tea is pretty much a staple beverage year round. I drink mine unsweetened, and if I have lemon then I add it. My hubby and son (who lives here with us) both prefer it sweetened, so I keep mine separate from theirs. I do drink a lot of water too, and actually have limited my tea drinking to one cup of hot tea in the morning, and iced tea for lunch, and no more the rest of the day. Trying to avoid too much caffeine. But I love your idea and may try that whenever we are able to have guests again for a dinner. I love the Koolaid pitcher. I never had one like it, but I sure do remember it.

  2. Your recipe sounds delicious! I too have been trying to avoid sugar and artificial sweeteners. I usually make Celestial Seasonings lemon zinger iced tea as the hibiscus and lemon provide such a citrusy flavor I don’t feel the need to sweeten it.

  3. Oh yum! Not a fan of green tea, but I am going to experiment with your recipe and your daughter's making a third recipe. Thanks for the recipes.

  4. Sadly I don't care for tea. So iced tea, is not a temptation for me.

    but you enjoy it!!!!!!!!

    We all need something, during this heat and humidity!!!



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