Recipe: Raspberry Mint Iced Tea
(Healthcastle.com) Try this refreshing iced tea for a boost of anti-oxidants and a refreshing change from water on these long, hot days. Store-bought summer sips can cost you a lot in empty calories and added sugar – wreaking havoc with your energy as well as your waistline. Swap for this homemade version and relax knowing both your taste buds and body will thank you!
Beware the bottled beverage:
Commercial iced tea is packed full of sugar, and after all that processing likely also fairly low on the natural anti-oxidants present in tea. While it’s not going to make or break your health if you have a glass once in a while- we tend to overdo it in the heat and at all the BBQ’s and beach days where soda and iced teas are a regular addition.
Common brands range from 18-24 g of sugar per cup (8 oz or 240 mL). Keep in mind that most cans are 355 mL and the tall bottles can be up to 500 mL so you’re likely getting a much bigger sugar rush than you bargained for. . All that liquid sugar is absorbed quickly, causing a rapid rise in blood sugar and later insulin that cause energy to crash fairly quickly. When taken more frequently these spikes of sugar and insulin are associated with inflammation and fat storage. Our homemade version is less than 5 g of added sugars per cup making it a much cleaner choice, the carbohydrate load is lower and can be handled more easily.
Quench your thirst and give your health a boost:
Teas are naturally nutritious. All teas are high in polyphenols, a potent family of antioxidants. While green teas have had the most time in the limelight for the early research on linking intake to weight loss and cancer prevention, black teas are still great sources of these powerful nutrients. So you can heal your body and beat the heat!
Great iced tea tips:
- While water is always a great choice, sometimes I just crave something a bit more flavourful. You can check out this post for some great ideas on perking up water. Homemade lemonade and iced tea are also much more nutritious than store bought- the natural nutrients are preserved and you can control how much sweetener goes in. I like to use honey or maple syrup as it saves me the step of making simple syrup and adds flavour, but remember just because they’re natural doesn’t mean they don’t affect your blood sugar in a similar way to refined sugars.
- Don’t skimp on tea bags, using fewer but steeping longer will just give you a bitter tea due to the tannins.
- Don’t oversteep! Removing the tea bags when the time is up is key to making a great batch of iced tea.
- Get creative with your flavours- fresh blackberries, strawberries macerated with limoncello for an adults only version? Maple syrup instead of honey? The sky’s the limit.
Recipe: Iced Raspberry Mint Tea
1 L /4 cups of water
2 black tea bags (most recipes use orange pekoe, but I think Earl Grey would be wonderful here too!)
1 tbsp good honey, add slightly more if needed to taste
Small handful of fresh mint leaves (about 8 large leaves, 10-12 smaller leaves)
1/2 cup fresh raspberries, roughly mashed with a fork.
Bring water to a boil. Remove from heat and add the tea bags and honey. Steep for 3-4 minutes maximum and then remove the tea bags.
Pour in to a heatproof, pourable container (like a pyrex measuring cup, sturdy, non-plastic pitcher, or divided amongst mason jars) and add half of the mint leaves.
Cool in the fridge, stirring occasionally until chilled (about 30 minutes).
Divide mashed raspberries and remaining mint (roughly torn) amongst four glasses and top with iced tea. If you’re doubling or tripling the recipe for a larger crowd, you can easily put the raspberry and mint mixture in the bottom of a glass pitcher and top with iced tea to save the time of making individual glasses. If doing so, give it a good stir and let it sit for a few minutes to help the raspberry flavour infuse.
Do you have any tips or recipes for healthy summer drinks? Share with us in the comments below!