If you're looking to brew up refreshing iced tea without making your kitchen hot or putting your health at risk with sun tea, give refrigerator tea a try. Refrigerator tea is the perfect alternative to sun tea and it is a great way to save money on drinks.
For just a dollar or two, you can make a pitcher of tea while you sleep. Make as much as you like in each batch and add fun flavors with ingredients you already have. This trick is an easy way to cold-brew tea. As the technique suggests, there is no heat used in this process so you will need to allow the tea to steep for eight to 10 hours for the best flavor.
You'll just need six to eight tea bags and two quarts of cold distilled water. Use more or fewer tea bags depending on how strong you like your iced tea.
Refrigerator iced tea is so simple to make. Fill a two-quart pitcher with the chilled distilled water and add the tea bags. Put the pitcher in the fridge and let the tea steep overnight. If you like sweet tea, add sugar just before you serve the tea.
Customize Your Refrigerator Tea
You don't need fancy tea bags for refrigerator tea. The standard tea bags you would use for sun tea are perfect and inexpensive. You can enhance the flavor without spending much green. Here are some ideas:
- Toss in some mint with Earl Grey or a chamomile tea bag with a few regular (and cheap) tea bags.
- Cut herbs fresh from the garden or break into your dried herb stash and add them to a tea ball to enhance the flavor.
- Garnish with slices of citrus fruit, berries, fresh mint, or edible flowers.
- Sweeten your tea with or without flavor by using a homemade simple syrup instead of sugar. It's cheap and easy to make yourself. Almost any flavor—mint, lavender, or lime, for example—can be added to the syrup.
- Arnold Palmer, anyone? Add a little flavor by mixing tea with lemonade or fruit juice for a nice change.
- Bring in a little sparkle by topping your tea off with club soda, ginger ale, or another light soda.
- Fill an ice cube tray with tea and freeze to create ice cubes that won't water down your drink.
- Add fresh or dried herbs like rosemary or mint to the tea before freezing for a little extra flavor. Fresh berries work well, too.
What's Wrong With Sun Tea
While sun tea has long been a favorite summer drink, there are concerns about brewing tea for a long time in the hot sun. The primary reason for concern is that the heat and rays from the sun can cause bacteria to grow in your tea. If you have ever noticed long strands in your sun tea, that's bacteria.
This is particularly true if you are like many sun tea brewers and allow your tea to steep for many hours, three to four hours is the recommended maximum. Refrigerator tea might take a little longer to brew, but the results are the same. You can also feel good about serving this safe tea to your family and friends.