Lemon Ice Tea using the Microwave
Cooking For One - Beverages
This recipe works great in my Zuko popsicle maker (story is under construction right now, working on more flavours first)
I find that store bought ice tea in cans, bottles or even worse the powder format are not really what I am looking for in a refreshing cold drink so I started out on a quest to find a recipe that would meet my personal and discerning palette. (Just a joke)
I try to stay away from soft drinks and other bottled beverages (other than beer) because I am not really that trusting as to what goes into the manufacture of these beverages. They use a lot of stuff to adjust the flavour and colour that don't leave me with a comfortable feeling.
So I found a lot of different recipes on the Internet but virtually all of them want you to use real lemons that come from a tree thousands of miles from where you live. I seldom have those at home so I thought well why not try this Real Lemon stuff in a bottle. It was on sale for something like 2 and half dollars a large bottle so not too much to lose there.
When you do all the math, it works out that a batch of this stuff comes out to be less than a dollar so you do end up saving a lot in the long run.
The stuff you need
- 1 2 cup microwaveable measuring cup, this Pyrex one was perfect
- 1 Microwave, or you can use a kettle or boil the water in a pot
- 1 Large drink pitcher, to prepare the tea
- 1 Large recycled beverage bottle, the heavier guage ones are better
- 4 cups Filtered water, 2 cups for the tea concentrate, 2 cups to dilute later
- 6 tea bags 3 Orange Pekoe and 3 Green Tea, that's my mix but you can use your own favourite blend
- 1/2 cup Real Lemon juice
- 1/2 cup 100% Pure Cane sugar
- 1 Kitchen Timer
- 1 Kitchen Funnel
Here's the tough part
- Boil the water in the microwave on high for 4 minutes
- In the meantime, spoon the sugar into a measuring cup, dump it into your mixing pitcher, measure the lemon juice over the mixing pitcher and dump it in as well
- When the water is boiled, carefully take the measuring cup out of the microwave. Put the 6 tea bags into the water and let it steep for 5 minutes. Time it carefully with a good kitchen timer. We don't want bitter tea.
- Pour the hot tea concentrate into the mixing pitcher with the lemony syrup that is there now and add the cold 2 cups of water to dilute. Give it a good stir with a long stainless steel spoon. The type that came with your cocktail mixing set is perfect.
- Pour the tea into your recycled storage bottle. If you didn't already give it a good rinse in hot water then that is your fault. If there is still some sugary residue in the bottom of the mixing pitcher just pour the tea back in from the storage bottle and give it another stir. Use a funnel that you hold in your other hand just above the storage bottle neck so there is air flowing out of the bottle when you pour.
- Chill the bottle in the freezer for about an hour. Use your timer again since we aren't trying to make an ice tea pop. I am going to try that when my Zuko kit arrives. We'll talk about that when that high end designer store ships it. They ran out of the Oxo measuring spoon set or mixing cups so I have to wait a bit longer. I bought them online since the Zuko would be next to impossible to find locally.
A Useful Timer App
Since I do most of my cooking in my apartment, my computer is really quite handy so I can jump back and forth to each task. In order to not end up with burnt or overdone everything, I use a series of timers. Initially, I had one on the microwave and one battery-powered Kitchen Aid timer.
It's interesting that the computer gets disrupted when the microwave is running and that has to do with the frequency of microwaves and wi-fi signal in my wireless setup. I did some checking on the Internet and you get everything from they don't run in the same frequency bandwidth to that is very dangerous and you should check your microwave for leaks. I think the Internet is full of self-made experts who really don't know what they are talking about. It is up to the reader to decide what is truth and what is fiction. I lean on the mutual frequency theory since the disruption stops as soon as the microwave does.
Since I got Windows 8 in my new computer, I broke down and paid the extra $1.49 for the infinite timer upgrade to an app called Asparion Clock which I got from the Microsoft Store. It lets you set up as many timers as you want with different lengths and lets you assign one of 5 tones. That is where it really was worth it. The tones are all the type that won't make you jump out of your chair when they go off. The timer pops up on your screen and chimes away until you dismiss it that is if you set it to the sound tone to loop instead of once. The loop is a good idea because you might not hear it the first time because they are fairly subtle.
I'm going to write a separate hub on how I use it in conjunction with saving money by using the Internet. The other option is to buy a bunch of timers and batteries so this is a really quick and cheap solution to a simple problem.
100% Pure Cane Sugar
You could use alternate sweeteners in your mix. I would recommend honey as a first choice. Personally, I don't use white sugar anymore. I prefer the taste of the cane sugar which has a lot to do with the fact that I made many trips to the beautiful island of Barbados where cane sugar is quite common. The local rums have a much better flavour than the over-processed blends that you get from North American distilleries which are really more like vodka. It has a lot to do with the fact that the molasses in the sugar is not removed.
As in all my recipes, there is a great reliance on what you have available in your kitchen cupboard so if you only have white sugar then go ahead and use it. Experiment with the amount of sweetener that you use in your particular mix and also in your tea concentrate until you get the flavour and colour that works for you.
So I tried making a smoothie with one cup of this ice tea, two ice cubes and an overripe banana (always have lots of those). It was good but it was missing something and then a voice in my head told me what I should do.
"Mon, me tinkin' it be needin' the assistance of a shot or two frum a bot-till of Cockspur. You need to go to da store and get one or two."
My response was a simple "Yah mon". Barbados is a special place.
The Cockspur site runs you through an age of majority test before you can gain access to it. "Strut your stuff responsibly"