Herbal Iced Tea & Popsicles

On a hot day there is nothing like a cold glass of herbal iced tea. Maybe a refreshing peppermint or a lovely lemongrass and hibiscus. It’s like getting a kiss from mother nature.

Fresh herbs are wonderful when you have access to them. When you don’t, dried herbs are the next best thing. Remember, dried herbs should look and smell like the original plant. Peppermint should be green and have a strong peppermint smell. No smell, no good.

It is full blown summer here in the desert and we struggle to keep hydrated. A person can only drink so much plain water. Caffeine free and no need for sugar, herbal iced teas are a healthy way to stay hydrated. And they taste good!

Extremely simple to make, herbal iced teas start out just like regular hot tea. The herb to water ratio varies depending how strong you want the finished tea to be. A good ratio is 1-2 Tbs of herb for each cup of water or 4-6 Tbs of herb per quart of water.

For iced teas you want to make a slightly stronger brew to allow it to be iced down. You can make herbal iced teas by the glass or make a big pitcher to keep in the refrigerator for immediate gratification!

To make herbal iced tea simply put fresh or dried herbs in a suitable container, pour boiling water over herbs, cover and allow to steep. Remove herbs, add ice and enjoy.

Once brewed, an herbal tea should be stored in the refrigerator. Left at room temperature for several hours it will begin to sour. Stored in the refrigerator, an herbal tea is good for 3-4 days.

Herbal Popsicles

Did you know you can make herbal popsicles? It is a great way, especially in the heat of the summer, to enjoy your herb tea. Easy to make, tastes great and even the kids will love them! Made with the right ingredients, a popsicle can even be a great remedy for fevers. And who doesn’t want a popsicle when they’re feeling hot!

All you need is a popsicle mold and a batch of herbal tea. Prepare the tea is directed, pour into the mold and freeze until solid….it’s that simple.

Herbal iced teas and popsicles can be made with just one herb, such as mint, or with a blend of different herbs to create your own unique tea. One of my favorite blends is our Desert Delight Herbal Tea. A refreshing combination of Lemon Balm, Lavender, Peppermint and Hibiscus, it freezes into popsicles that make even big kids smile.

Some herbs and flowers suitable for iced tea include: Peppermint, chamomile, spearmint, lavender, lemon balm, dandelion flowers, elderflower blossoms, lemongrass, licorice, hibiscus, ginseng, jasmine flowers, marigold flowers and rose petals.

Looking for some cool herbal iced tea recipes? Try one of these:

Citrus Hibiscus

This colorful beverage brings a vacation on the beach to mind.

1 teaspoon peppermint
1 teaspoon rosehips
1 teaspoon orange peel
2 teaspoons hibiscus
2 teaspoons lemongrass
2 cups water
1 cup orange juice
1 cup cold sparkling water
2 tablespoons honey (or to taste)

Steep peppermint, rosehips, orange peel, hibiscus, and lemongrass in the two cups of water. Strain. Add orange juice and refrigerate. When ready to serve, pour over ice cubes and add a splash of sparkling water to each glass. Sweeten if desired.
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Lemon Balm Punch

Here’s an easy and economical party beverage.

2 tablespoons lemongrass
2 tablespoons lemon balm leaf
2 cups water
1 tablespoon honey
2 cups natural ginger ale
lemon slices (optional)
1 tablespoon crystallized ginger, sliced (optional)

Steep lemongrass and lemon balm leaf in the water. Strain and add honey and ginger ale. Add floating slices of fresh lemon to your punch bowl, and/or include a slice or two of crystallized ginger in each glass.

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