Orange-Mint Iced Tea

Welcome to the All-Star Break.  Hard to believe baseball and summer has approached the half-way point. I’m on the couch watching Big Papi and Prince Fielder launch baseballs to kingdom come in the Home Run Derby (who do I cheer for when Joe Mauer isn’t there?) and drinking my newest obsession.  When it’s 90+ degrees outside and the herbs are begging to be picked, iced tea is the only answer.

My orange-mint plant was a gift from my mom on a visit to the farmers’ market.  We’d been talking about how to replace or supplement the green tea I drink every day with something from the garden.  I’m not a huge fan of plain herbal teas; the lack of caffeine seems to get in the way.   But black or green tea bags don’t exactly fit in a locavore diet.  Orange-mint came up on a few Google searches for tea plants, and ended up in the community garden plot.  What was once a small little transplant is now a healthy bush, nearly 18″ tall.  It’s easy to grow and a must for mint lovers.

Orange-Mint Iced Tea

Ingredients

For the tea
6 green tea bags (use your favorite kind–I used Good Earth)
2 C. boiling water
3 C. cold water
For the syrup
1/2 C. sugar
1/2 C. cold water
1/2 C. orange-mint sprigs, washed
Instructions
1. Place tea bags in a pitcher and pour boiling water over. Allow to steep to desired strength, 5-8 minutes.
2. While tea is steeping, combine sugar and water in small saucepan. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Add orange mint and heat over medium-low heat until mixture just begins to boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. With a fork, carefully remove mint sprigs and discard. The mixture will be extremely hot so avoid touching sugar solution.
3. Pour syrup into pitcher and add remaining cold water. Chill 1-2 hours or serve immediately over ice.

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