- Food and Cooking
National Iced Tea Day and Month
Celebrating Iced Tea
Not only is June 10th National Iced Tea Day, but the whole month of June is National Iced Tea month. Now here is a subject worth celebrating.
I am a health nut. I have said it before and I will repeat it again. So when a month has a holiday that celebrates something healthy, I'm right on it.
It is hard to believe that something so refreshing on a hot summer day can also be healthy. I kid you not, tea in any form is both satisfying and good for you.
It is no wonder the whole month of June is devoted to a celebration of iced tea. June is the beginning of summer. With summer comes pitchers of tea at the pool, beach, picnic, porch and any place where an iced cold drink soothes the summer heat.
Have you ever put a glass of iced tea to your face or arms to cool you off after a round of tennis, golf, swimming or sporting event? I have, and I must say it such a nice feeling. While using the glass to cool you off is great, drinking tea is even better.
All photos were taken by me unless otherwise noted.
A Little History
Enjoy with a Glass of Iced Tea
Iced tea became popular in America, so the tall tale goes, by way of Richard Blechynden, India Tea Commissioner and director of the East
India Pavilion at the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair.
Mr. Blechynden took the opportunity to brew his tea at the fair and give samples of his drink to thirsty patrons.
Since the fair ran from April to December, the need was greater for a cold drink than the hot one that was normally served in India. So being the entrepreneur that he was Mr. Blechynden poured his hot tea through iced lead pipes to cool it off.
Not to give credit where it is not due, Mr. Blechynden did not invent iced tea nor was he the first to serve it in America. His real claim to fame is that he sold it as a commercial product.
It is unknown exactly when Americans were first exposed to iced tea, but for certain it was around by the early 1800s as a combination of green tea and alcohol. Is that anything like Long Island iced tea?
It took the invention of some type of refrigeration to make iced tea a popular and cheap drink. Tea was not officially sweetened until about 1879 when the first known recipe for it was published in a Virginia cookbook. This was not a positive event, even if you think otherwise.
Source for History: Nashua Telegraph, June 10, 2010
Health Benefits of Tea
Gold Star for Tea
Although I am concentrating on iced tea, health benefits are similar for hot tea, since the same tea leaves are used for both.
Before I go into the details of why iced tea is a health food, it is important to point out that adding lemon to tea, which boosts the tea's antioxidant properties, adds vitamin C and potassium. So don't just leave the lemon on the edge of your glass. Squeeze some of the juice into the tea for an even healthier drink.
Cholesterol can be good and bad. The goal is to increase the good and lower the bad, which is what iced tea does. Several types of tea, including green, black and oolong tea contain the antioxidants that help keep your cholesterol where you want it to be. The result is less heart attacks.
Since tea contains fluoride, caffeine and flavonoids, studies have shown that it decreases the risk of osteoporosis. The result is less hip fractures.
Catechins, a type of flavenoid, which is found in tea can help lower cancer risk. These cancer fighters can slow cancer growth and fight those nasty free radicals that we keep hearing about before they wreck havoc on the body. I mention here that studies on this subject are not conclusive, meaning some show benefits in drinking tea others do not. The result on this one is still out.
The fluoride in tea helps prevent cavities. Adding lemon juice can help with gum bleeding. The result is less time spent with the dentist.
The topper for many Americans is the recently published study that showed drinking tea, especially green and oolong, may help with weight loss. Something to do with increasing the body's energy. The study also showed that tea helped keep the weight off. Adding that squeeze of lemon increases the potential for weight loss. The result is a slim and trim body, especially if you add exercise.
Do not add sugar to your ice tea if you want the healthiest brew possible. Sugar adds calories and nothing beneficial, so try your tea flavored but unsweetened.
Information from this article comes from www.livestrong.com article as well as studies from the Harvard Medical School and the National Cancer Institute
Hope I Convinced You To Try Tea - If You Have Not Already
I am curious to know how many readers drink tea, hot or cold, so I would appreciate it if you would take this poll.
Do You Drink Iced Tea
Loose Leaf Brewed vs Tea Bags
Is There Really a Difference
A lot of argument exists over whether brewed tea is better than tea bags. The consensus is that health-wise they are very similar, but taste is another story.
Many tea shops have sprung up over the last few years to reap the benefits of a renewed interest in both iced and hot teas. Teavana is one of the most popular stores that sells tea leaves and accessories for brewing tea.
Also making debuts are tea cafes where made-to-order brewed leaf tea can be purchased along with lots of other goodies that are not as healthy. Starbucks has sold tea, both hot and cold, since they opened, so the concept is not new.
Back to loose leaf brewed vs tea bags. Supposedly, and I am no expert, loose leaf tea is higher in quality, since you are getting the the unprocessed loose leaves. With a tea bag the oils are removed so the taste and quality is compromised. I, however, cannot tell the difference, so a connoisseur of tea I am not.
I can see where flavor can be compromised, since some of the teas I have sampled in the tea shops do have unique flavors. However, I usually buy plain green tea and have not tried the many flavored teas in tea bag form.
Loose tea can be reused several times and still keep its flavor. I've tried using tea bags over again and am pretty sure the little flavor I noticed when first using the bag has taken a plunge.
There is no question, that tea bags are much easier to use, especially if you want a quick cup of tea, than brewing loose leaf tea. But if you are going to make a pitcher of tea for a party or family gathering, try the brewed tea, and let me know what you think.
If all else fails you can use the tea leaves to tell fortunes.
Do you Use Brewed Tea or Tea Bags