Savoring End of Summer with Mint

Friday, August 20th, 2021

As another summer evening comes to an end may you find refreshment that eases the exhaustion of your labors. May you be able to smile as you reflect on the day you have lived and may you have the ingredients for the iced tea we are about to introduce to you!

Southern California has had it’s share of blazing heat in the past month (along with many other areas here in North America) and the high temperatures send us off in search of hydration, and preferably cold hydration. We’ve been craving the fresh garden tea mom taught us to make from the various mint varieties our family grew, and decided to share a few recipes with all of you.

Pretty much any herb can be turned into iced tea, but starting with peppermint and spearmint is never a bad idea. We also love throwing in some lemon balm or chocolate mint for added flavor. Adding the chilled berries ushers in a deeper level of dignity, deliciousness, and health!!

Since mints are usually hardy perennials, simply plant a small patch in your herb garden and water it as appropriate for your climate. Most times it will take over whatever space you allow it to grow into.

Harvesting herbs for tea is as simple as cutting the amount you want and rinsing the leaves in cold water. Allow them to drain on a towel for a few minutes before using them.

Iced Peppermint Tea 

  • 3 handfuls of freshly rinsed and drained Peppermint stalks
  •  2 qts boiling water
  • sugar to taste ( or your choice of sweetener)
  • 2 qts ice
  • Fresh berries for garnishing purposes

In 1 gallon heat-safe pitcher, pour hot water over peppermint and allow to steep for 10 minutes or until tea is a deep golden color. Add sugar and stir well until dissolved. Add ice and refrigerate until ready to serve. When serving, drop chilled berries into glasses along with tea. Peppermint can be substituted for any other variety of mint, and adding a handful of lemon balm will also elevate the flavors and bring in citrusy tones. 

Over several generations now, our family has had a tradition of making a gallon ( or 3 ) of this tea a week. We keep it in the refrigerator for those fresh-in-from-mowing-grass moments, the random evening picnics at the lake, the neighbor who dropped in, or the gigantic pile of towels-to-be-folded-but-first-i-need-a-drink moments. =) Fresh, healthy, nearly free, and made by your very own family members, this is a true picture of sustainability.

Peppermint is not just a flavor that has sentimental value. The health benefits are increasingly being studied and utilized as many people experiment with using peppermint to possibly bring relief to anything from headaches to indigestion ( hit google up for lots of wholesome studies on the subject) .

Another great summer drink we’re loving is a cucumber refresher. Use up the last of those cucumbers and stay hydrated while you wrap up your summer plans!

Cucumber Refresher 

  • 2 qts. cold water
  • 2qts. ice
  • 4 washed and sliced cucumbers
  • 2 washed and sliced lemons

Wash cucumbers and lemons, slice, and add them to pitcher with ice and water. Store in refrigerator. Garnish with fresh mint leaves when serving.

As the summer comes to a close, remember to make notes of the things that worked well for you in your gardens (whether they were pots on the balcony or acres of vegetables) and new things you want to try next year. This winter when you go to plan next summer’s garden you’ll need those reminders and inspiration. =)

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