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Author Notes: My grandmother always had her iced tea on hand. As soon as we polished off the blue plastic pitcher filled with it, a fresh batch would be on the way. I'm sure she just followed the directions on the box, but she would add in a sprig of mint while the tea steeped, and the juice of a lemon into the pitcher. Somehow those two things made that iced tea unique, something only she could magically put together. My mom never made it at home either, so it was a special thing I looked forward to when I went to visit my grandparents. I would dump some ice into a glass and then fill it to the brim with that iced tea. I remember many a time when I wouldn't even wait for the fresh batch of tea to cool. Grandma would playfully chide me that I should wait. I shrugged and added more ice.
I make her iced tea every summer as soon as my mint has woken up from its winter sleep. Recipes like that are precious, because even though my grandmother has been gone for years, I can still have her close to me when I sit down with a glass of that iced tea.
I decided it might be nice to mix tradition with innovation. So I added in some rhubarb to my grandmother's iced tea and came up with this version, a rhubarb iced tea. Perfect for those summer days. —Dabblings
Makes 2 quarts
stalks of rhubarb; cut into 1-inch pieces
cups of water; divided
inch piece of mint (or up to a 12-inch piece depending on how minty you like it)
bags of Lipton tea (Caffeinated or decaffeinated, whatever suits you. I used decaff so I can have it whenever I like)
Juice of 1 lemon
cups of sugar (That's what it says in my grandmothers recipe. I use 1 cup of sugar, but you can adjust to taste.)
- Put the rhubarb into a saucepan with 4 cups of water. Bring to a simmer, cover, and allow the rhubarb to stew for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes turn off the heat. Add in the mint and the tea bags, cover, and steep for 30 minutes.
- After the tea has steeped strain the tea through a fine-mesh strainer. Press out and extra tea with a spoon.
- Put the lemon juice and the sugar into a pitcher. Pour the tea into the pitcher and stir until all the sugar has melted. Add in the other 4 cups of water. You may find the tea a bit strong. If so add in another cup or two of water.
- Allow to chill in the refrigerator.
- Serve over ice.