For as long as I can remember, tea has been a part of my life.  Sometimes hot, sometimes cold; sometimes strong, sometimes weak; sometimes black, sometimes green, sometimes herbal – no matter the temperature or type, it seems like there is always tea.

My mother’s cure for tummy aches was a cup of what she referred to as “cambric tea,” which was a blend of very weak tea, sugar, and milk.  The tea, along with toast (often cinnamon toast), comforted my childhood recovery from illness.  Cambric tea also was what Mom provided for the dolly tea parties my sisters and I enjoyed “hosting.”

Hot tea was good in the winter; however, it all but disappeared in the summer months, supplanted by tall glasses of iced tea.  Dad drank his unsweetened; Mom loaded hers with sugar.  We had fresh peppermint growing in our yard, and they often used it for additional flavor.  Fresh-squeezed lemons added their own tang to our iced tea when Mom was in the mood to include them.

Making tea in the sun has been a favorite method for some people.  I used to make it in the refrigerator, placing six teabags in a quart of water and letting it sit overnight.  The next day, I removed the teabags and added another quart of water and some sugar.   Now I have an iced tea maker and I use it instead.  I also learned to drink my tea unsweet, as I don’t care for all the sugar most people use to sweeten it.  If I make mine sweet, I use a minimal amount.

Since June is National Iced Tea Month, what better way to start out the summer than to provide a variety of iced tea recipes:


Citrus Iced Tea

3 cups water

2 whole cloves

1 family-size tea bag (3 or 4 regular-size)

2/3 cup sugar

1-1/2 cups pineapple juice

1/2 cup orange juice

2 to 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Garnishes (if desired): fresh mint sprigs, orange slices

Bring 3 cups water and cloves to a boil over medium heat; reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and add tea bag(s); steep 10 minutes.

Discard tea bag(s) and cloves.  Add sugar; stir until dissolved.  Add fruit juices; blend well.  Chill 2 hours; serve over crushed ice.  Garnish, if desired.  Yield: 5 cups.


Cranberry Tea

3 quarts water

12 whole cloves

4 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks

4 whole allspice

1 cup sugar

10 regular-size tea bags

1 (12-ounce) can frozen cranberry juice concentrate, undiluted

Bring first 5 ingredients to a boil in a large pan.  Pour over tea bags, cover and steep 6 minutes.

Remove tea bags, squeezing gently.  Stir in juice concentrate; chill.  Serve over ice.


Lemon-Lime Tea

4 cups black tea

1 tablespoon fresh lemon peel, chopped

1 tablespoon fresh lime peel, chopped

Lemon and lime slices

Sprig of mint (optional)

Brew tea mixed with lemon and lime peel; strain.  Serve each cup with half a slice of lemon, half a slice of lime, and a sprig of mint if desired.  To serve iced, pour brewed tea in a pitcher filled with ice and 3 slices each of lemon and lime.  Sweeten tea to taste, if desired.


Almond Tea

6 regular-sized tea bags

4 cups boiling water

1 cup sugar

1 can (12 ounces) frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed

1 tablespoon almond extract

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

10 cups cold water

Place tea bags in heatproof container.  Pour boiling water over tea bags; steep for 5 minutes.  Removing tea bags, squeezing gently.  Stir in sugar until dissolved.  Let cool.

In a 1-gallon container, combine tea mixture, lemonade, and extracts; mix well.  Add remaining water, stirring well.  Chill several hours or overnight to allow for blending of flavors.