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Today, a bit of refreshment inspired by the greenmarket.
Last summer, when I was newly pregnant with my now 6-month-old daughter, there wasn't much that I was interested in ingesting. Three of the few things that didn't nauseate me (most of the time) were citrus, ice and mint. To my delight, I discovered that the guy selling honey, maple syrup and free-range chickens at my local greenmarket also peddled a seriously refreshing iced mint and citrus tea, sweetened with his own maple syrup. I don't think I missed a single Saturday greenmarket visit that summer -- I looked forward to those icy, lightly sweet cups of non-caffeinated tea all week long.
This summer, I decided to get smart and make some myself. The helpful ingredient list on the self-serve cooler reads: "Mint tea, lemon juice, lime juice, honey, maple syrup." So, a few weeks ago, armed with a huge bunch of mint, I set to work.
First, I poured boiling water over the mint leaves, covered the pot and let the tea steep until the water cooled to lukewarm. Then, I strained the tea, gently pressing the leaves to extract all possible mintiness.
While the tea was still slightly warm, I stirred in a combination of honey and maple syrup (Grade A). The residual heat helps dissolve the honey more quickly.
Once the tea was completely cool, I juiced a lemon and a lime, straining out any fibers and pips (you want nice, clear tea), and stirred the juice into the tea.
I chilled the finished tea, and once it was nice and cold I poured it over plenty of ice to serve. I still get a cup whenever I pass by the maple syrup/honey/chicken guy at the market, but now I don't have to limit myself to Saturdays -- I can have this tea all week long!
Makes 3 quarts
- 1 large bunch mint (I prefer spearmint to peppermint)
- 1/3 cup mild honey (plus more to taste)
- 1/3 cup maple syrup (plus more to taste)
- 1 large lemon
- 1 large lime