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Callie’s Cabin: June is national Iced Tea Month

Glass of ice tea with mint and lemon on wooden table outdoors.
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It picks you up and calms you down, warms you and refreshes you. With black, white red, green, and herbal varieties, there’s a tea for every taste, and now this time-honored superfood is trending as the drink of choice for health-conscious people of all ages and cultures.

Spring — It’s the season: Once winter days are almost over, it’s time for renewal and to make your home and body lighter for warmer days ahead. It’s common for me to brew a pot of white tea in the afternoon and a chamomile flower blend at night to welcome sleep during the Daylight Savings Time change. Healthful sandwiches paired with teas, vegetarian entrees, and green salads with tea-infused dressings come into play. It’s the ideal time to shed extra unwanted pandemic winter pounds and get a move on with lighter fare.

Healing Seasonal Teas: Detoxifying green tea and citrus tea (hot or iced) are popular during this time of lightening up. Organic spring jasmine, chamomile citrus, organic white peony, and rooibos blends are superb springtime teas that are perfect for the season of fresh beginnings. Superfoods with Tea: Apricots, artichokes, carrots, and spinach.

Summer — It’s the season: Summer is a time to get a light touch and change of linens, clothes, opened screen windows, and fresh air, it’s time I relax in the morning with a cup of flavored black tea (for the caffeine boost) so I can get more physical and be more active in the longer days and nights of summertime. Iced tea makes a splash during this season of sun and frolic. Brewing black tea and infusing it with fresh citrus including limes, oranges, and lemons, in a pitcher filled with ice is a must-have. Pairing a glass of iced tea with summer fruit mini scones or cucumber tea sandwiches and fresh vegetable and fresh fruit salads to grilled fish is ideal.

Healing Seasonal Teas: Fruit teas (such as blackberry and strawberry), white peony with fruit notes, and iced black tea are summer favorites to help the body cool down and feel energized. Other fruity profiles include blood orange, citrus hibiscus herbal, mango black, and peach fruit teas are ideal for the summertime. Superfoods with Tea: Blueberries, peaches, pineapple, and tomatoes.

Iced Tea with citrus and mint

This recipe is California-inspired from when I was in my twenties and lived in Fresno, a farming region in the central state where orange groves are plentiful. During the hot summer afternoons I’d drink iced orange pekoe — a grade of orthodox black tea — to get energized so I could enjoy riding a ten-speed bicycle accompanied by my soulmate with paws, a young and healthy black Labrador retriever, Stone Fox, who had dark brown soulful eyes and a smile to melt your heart. He’d run free through orange groves, and we’d race until we were whooped.

From my backpack, I’d treat myself to cold tea in a plastic container and let my dog drink water from a hose or fountain outdoors to refresh ourselves.

4 cups water (fresh tap or filtered)

5 tea bags, orange pekoe

Granulated white sugar or honey to taste

Lemon or orange slices

Fresh mint

Bring 2 cups water to boil and pour it over tea bags. Cover and brew 3 to 5 minutes. Remove tea bags and add 2 cups cold water. Stir. Pour into chilled, ice filled tea mugs. Add sugar or honey to taste. Garnish with lemon slices and mint. Serves 4.

Cal Orey, M.A., is an author and journalist. Her books include the Healing Powers Series (Vinegar, Olive Oil, Chocolate, Honey, Coffee, Tea, Superfoods, Essential Oils, Herbs and Spices) published by Kensington. (The collection has been featured by the Good Cook Book Club.) Her website is http://www.calorey.com.


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