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Being from the South, I grew up drinking sweet iced tea. I think drinking iced tea is an unwritten law in Texas. We give our kids iced tea in their baby bottles and sippy cups and start them out young to enjoy a good sip of refreshing cool sweet iced tea on a hot summer day! Actually we drink iced tea all year long down here in Texas, but it’s especially refreshing in the sweltering heat of the dog days of summer.

I’m not a tea connoisseur and don’t particularly care about steeping rituals or “bling” name brands, I just want my iced tea to taste good. I’m all about speed and convenience too so I sometimes use instant tea over tea bags. Lipton has the best instant tea flavors in my opinion. For the most part though, I steep my own tea and use green tea as the base in all of my tea recipes. Everyone knows the health benefits of green tea, and the light flavor blends well with so many other flavors that it’s been easy to incorporate green tea into my lifestyle.

Over the years, I’ve tasted and enjoyed a great variety of iced tea, but the iced tea recipes below are my favorites.

Herbal Orange and Vanilla Sunshine Sensation Iced Tea Recipe

This tea is perfect for summer! Oranges always remind me of sunshine and warmth and the added scent of vanilla gives an extra special kick to this tea. Start with about 4 bags of your favorite herbal green tea and steep them in one quart of boiling water for about 6 minutes. Discard the tea bags and pour the green tea into your tea pitcher.

Mix in about 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract or 2-3 vanilla sticks – you can add more or less vanilla to suit your taste. If you use vanilla sticks, don’t leave them in the container for more than about 30 minutes or so. I also like to put a vanilla stick in my glass as a garnish to add a little extra flavor.

Next it’s time for the oranges. I use 2-3 navel oranges per pitcher of tea, or 5-6 of the smaller mandarin oranges. I like peel my oranges in long thin pieces so they come out in spiral swirls. Then I drop all the swirls in my container of tea, especially if I’m using a glass pitcher. The orange swirls are very pretty and add a festive look to the tea. Then I take the fruit of the orange itself and cut away all of the bitter white parts and peel the orange slices apart. I drop half of the slices in my tea as whole slices and take the other half of the slices and squeeze the orange juice into a separate container before adding the juice to the tea so I can be sure there are no seeds or pulp in the tea. Sometimes I put a few slices of orange aside to use as decor on the side of the glass of tea.

This tea usually does need some type of sweetener depending on how much vanilla extract you use. You can sweeten with honey, sugar, or the sweetener of your choice. I prefer sugar in the raw or honey. After you have all your ingredients in the tea pitcher, slowly stir all the contents for a few minutes to get all the tastes blended nicely. Then add ice until your pitcher is full to the top.

This orange and vanilla tea sunshine sensation is a great tea to calm your nerves and enhance your sexual mood. Research done by neurologist Alan Hirsch of the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago has shown there is a strong connection between the smell of vanilla and sexual arousal.

Herbal Strawberry Lovers Iced Tea Recipe

I love all things strawberry, so adding the delicious flavor of strawberry to tea makes for a wonderful summer time drink. Start with about 4 bags of your favorite herbal green tea and steep them in one quart of boiling water for about 6 minutes. Discard the tea bags and pour the green tea into your tea pitcher. Then it’s time for the strawberries. I like to use fresh strawberries, but will use frozen ones if I’m in a hurry.

If using fresh strawberries, be sure to take the time to find the freshest ones possible. Look for plump firm strawberries with a deep red color. Also inspect them closely to make sure they are free of mold. If you’re buying bulk pre-packed fresh strawberries, make sure they aren’t packed in the container too tightly because this can cause them to get crushed. Strawberries do not continue to ripen after they are picked, so make sure you pick out the reddest and ripest strawberries. That way you’ll get the best taste and nutrition from them.

Now back to the tea. You’ve steeped your green tea and it’s time to add the strawberries. Be sure to rinse them well before adding them and cut away any bad spots. I like to slice mine into quarters so that the juice is more evenly distributed throughout the tea. I also throw in a few handfuls of whole ones for aesthetic purposes. You can use as many as you like, but I find that a pound of strawberries per quart of iced tea suits my taste.

After you have all your ingredients in the tea pitcher, slowly stir all the contents for a few minutes to get all the tastes blended nicely. Then add ice until your pitcher is full to the top.

If the strawberries are sweet enough you most likely won’t need to add any type of sweetener. Strawberries are full of nutrients such as Vitamin C, folic acid, potassium, copper, magnesium, vitamin B5 & B6, and omega-3 fatty acids. So by not having to add any sweetener to this strawberry lovers tea recipe combined with the natural nutrients in strawberries, you’ll have a healthy refreshing summer time drink.

So ya’ll come on down and we’ll sit a spell on the porch with a tall icy cold glass of tea and have a good ‘ol gab session.

Sources: http://www.vanilla.com http://chetday.com/benefitofstrawberry.htm

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  1. Sweet tea
  2. How To Make Southern Sweet Tea – Tablespoon