Iced Spearmint Tea with Strawberry Nectar


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Don't be intimidated by the size of this recipe. The use of fresh herbs is well worth the extra effort.

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  • Sugar Syrup:
  • 1 C. granulated sugar
  • 1 C. water
  • Zest of 1 orange, cut into strips
  • 4 1/2 C. water
  • 1/4 C. dried spearmint, or 3/4 C. fresh spearmint
  • 1 C. sliced strawberries
  • 1 C. strained freshly squeezed orange juice
  • Ice cubes
  • Fresh spearmint sprigs and strawberry slices, for garnish (optional)

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To make the sugar syrup, in a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, water and orange zest. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat and let cool. Pour the syrup through a fine-mesh sieve placed over a bowl, pressing down on the orange zest with the back of a spoon to extract as much of the flavorful oils as possible. Discard the zest and set the syrup aside. In a medium saucepan, bring the water to a boil, then remove from the heat. Crumble the spearmint and add to the water; let steep for 5 minutes to obtain a strong infusion. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve placed over a large bowl. Discard the mint and let the infusion cool. Meanwhile, place the strawberries in a fine-mesh sieve set over a medium bowl. With the back of a spoon, press the berries through the sieve, leaving the pulp and seeds behind. Scrape any purée clinging to the bottom of the sieve, and then add all the purée to the cooled infusion. Add the orange juice and 1/2 C. of the sugar syrup to the tea and stir vigorously. Taste and add more sugar syrup as desired. (Store any remaining sugar in the refrigerator for when you make another batch of tea.) Cover and refrigerate the tea until well chilled. Just before serving, fill a large pitcher with ice and add the tea. Pour into chilled glasses. Garnish with a sprig of mint and a slice of strawberry, if desired. Serves 6.

From: Herbs: A Country Garden Cookbook by Rosalind Creasy and Carole Saville 

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