Healthy Eating: Iced Tea the Old-Fashioned Way

Iced tea is my favorite beverage to drink during the summer months.  During my single days, I owned a Mr. Coffee 3 Quart Iced Tea Maker with the Extra Pitcher.  My mother bought it for me because she knew how often I drank iced tea.  I used the iced tea maker so often that, eventually, I killed it.  Recently, I have been lobbying my husband for a new iced tea maker to replace my dearly departed machine.  My husband claims that we don’t have any more counter space for another appliance.  He’s right.  But, I’m still disappointed.  So, we have been making iced tea the old-fashioned way.  We boil tea bags in water, wait for the pots to cool, pour the tea into the pitchers, then add sugar or lemon.  Aside from the fact that this process is much slower than using a Mr. Coffee Iced Tea Maker (I’m still lobbying), the process generates a lot of heat in the kitchen.  It is summer after all.  Even with central air, we don’t need more heat.

I think that my lobbying days are done.  Recently, I read a short article in the June 2012 issue of Better Homes and Gardens magazine stating that brewing iced tea the old-fashioned (read “slow”) way actually yields a healthier beverage.

1. Start with hot water.  Brewing with boiling water releases far more polyphenols from the tea leaves than cold brewing or sun brewing.  Steep for three minutes for maximum potency.

2. Hold off on the ice.  Pouring hot tea over freezing cubes makes polyphenols tougher for the body to absorb.  Instead, chill tea in the fridge and add ice just before drinking.

3.  Finish with a twist.  On the downside, black tea contains plant chemicals called tannins that can thwart the body’s absorption of iron.  The fix:  Squeeze in some lemon juice.  Its Vitamin C counteracts tannins.

So, my husband has some support for his iced tea brewing system.  The Mr. Coffee Iced Tea Maker and I will not be reunited…until I get a bigger kitchen.  (Still lobbying.)  Such is life.  Are you a fan of iced tea?  Please share some of your favorite recipes.  Remain encouraged.