There's nothing complex about this iced tea recipe I discovered while browsing for something unique and refreshing. That said, this recipe has refreshing and flavor written all over it! Cucumber, fresh berries, mint and your favorite tea. What I like about it is the combination of savory and sweet (naturally, of course). Rachel (the blogger) uses mate, but I would recommend trying black tea, green tea or even rooibos. Here's the full recipe...enjoy!
How to Make Your Own Tea Smoothie
Whether you're a fan of black tea, green tea or any other type of flavored tea for that matter, it may surprise you to know that transforming your favorite flavor of tea into a delicious tea smoothie is actually easier than you may think.
All you need in order to make a tea smoothie is 1 cup of brewed and chilled tea, 1 to 1 1/2 cups of frozen or crushed fruit, 1/2 cup of crushed ice, and 1 cup of a liquid base. (This can come in the form of yogurt, milk, ice cream or even soy/almond milk as well). Some people like to add 1 tablespoon of honey to give the smoothie a little extra flavor, however, this is only optional.
First brew your desired flavor of tea, and then pour it into a bowl or leave it in the refrigerator to cool for 45 minutes. Next, add all of the ingredients into a blender and blend until the mixture is smooth, (make sure you add the crushed ice last).
When it comes to choosing what type of fruit you want to include in your smoothie, this truly depends on the flavor of tea you are using; however, the general rule of thumb in making tea smoothies is that you should add at least 1/2 a banana into the mix because it helps with both the texture and the flavor of your smoothie.
Some of the most popular kinds of fruit you could add to your tea smoothie include strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, pineapples, mangos and blackberries, or you could even try mixing them all together if you're feeling exceptionally experimental.
However, green tea smoothies taste best when combined with bananas, blueberries and strawberries, black tea smoothies mix well with strawberries and raspberries, and rooibos smoothies taste great with peaches. (And perhaps it goes without saying that berry teas taste the best when mixed with different types of berries).
You can even try experimenting with different types of flavored yogurt to use as your liquid base if you don't feel like buying different fruit each time you make a smoothie.
If your smoothie did not turn out as you had hoped, keep in mind that making your own smoothies usually requires a sort of trail-and-error process. So if you can, try to experiment with not only the different types of ingredients you add into your smoothie, but the amount of ingredients as well.
Bio: Aside from school and working part-time as an Assistant Chef, Bridget Sandorford is the resident Culinary Schools blogger where recently she's been researching culinary masters programs specifically culinary colleges in California. Her passion for food has followed her research into many different areas, such as nutrition, fitness, organic foods, gardening, and cooking on a budget. She lives outside of Charleston, South Carolina.
There are so many fantastic uses for tea other than drinking. Teas can be used for cooking and in recipes, adding a little extra flavor without overpowering the taste of food. Substituting tea in your favorite foods and beverages sounds tricky but is so easy, delicious and may just become your "cup of tea!"
Tea Flavored Ice Cubes and Popsicles
One of my favorite ways to make iced tea is to take some of the tea I've made, pour it into ice cube trays and add them to your glass of tea. It's such a great way to make iced tea without it getting watered down as the ice melts. You can also try to add different flavored tea ice cubes to regular iced tea to give the tea a great fruit flavor. Along the same lines as tea flavored ice cubes, freezing fruity teas in popsicle holders is the new, grown up way to enjoy a frozen treat on a hot summer day.
Mint Teas in Chocolate Recipes
I love chocolate mint, but using mint extract tends to be too strong for me. So in place of the extract, when cooking, I brew a fairly strong cup of mint tea and add a portion of this in place of the mint extract. This gives my recipes a softer flavor as opposed to that kick that the extract has.
Teas to Enhance Recipes
Raspberry or lemon teas specifically, along with pretty much any other fruit flavored teas can be added to glazes, icings or mousses to give the recipe a subtle taste without overpowering. Brew your tea as usual, making it as strong or mild as you like and in place of the portion of the water you would normally add to these recipes, substitute that liquid with the tea. I would advise you to add the tea slowly, less is better since you can always add more!
Bio: Alexis Bonari is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She often can be found blogging about education and scholarships for college. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.
A local Executive Chef, Trevor Lymam from Bella Brava, has been experimenting with our loose tea in some of his recipes. He hit paydirt with his latest creation, Ahi Tuna rolled in Lemon Ginger Green tea, lightly seared in a pan and then topped with a relish of tomatoes, red onions, and balsamic vinegar. Let me tell you, it was fantastic! In fact, it was so good, we had to try it at home. With delicious recipes like this, we are eager to taste more from Chef Trevor!
Next time you reach for sugar, splenda or similar sweetener, think about adding fruit instead. You can add fruit with regular black tea or even with flavored tea. Adding pieces of fresh fruit really enhances the flavor of the tea without consuming the tea itself, which is what often occurs with sugar and other sweeteners. We all know that lemons are commonplace in black iced tea. Why not get creative and try strawberries, raspberries or even orange slices in your next glass of Mango flavored iced tea. A slice of a Grannysmith apple is a great complement to a chilled green tea as well. Fruit is much healthier than sugar and just tastes more natural anyway.
Raspberry Iced Tea with Mint and Fresh Raspberries
This raspberry tea over ice recipe is simple and makes an incredibly delicious and refreshing flavored tea. There is nothing like simplicity in recipes, especially when it comes to flavored teas. Too many ingredients, and you miss all the unique natural flavors.
Makes approximately two 16 oz. servings
2 teaspoons Very Raspberry Tea from Teajo
4 sprigs fresh mint leaves
1 dozen red raspberries
Cranberry juice (1 oz. or less)
16 oz. boiling water
Raw Agave nectar (you can get this at Whole Foods, Trader Joe's or most natural food stores)
Two 16 oz. glasses
1 Smart Tea Maker
A note about the ingredients:
Raw Agave nectar - Agave nectar is a raw and natural product that is very similar to honey in taste and consistency but much lighter and probably better for you. It is a wonderful sweetener for those watching their sugar intake, because it has a very low glycemic index. Agave also provides just enough sweetness so that you can maintain the flavor of your tea. Of course, another great advantage of using Agave is that it dissolves in cold liquids. No more clumping sugar at the bottom of your glass!
Bring 16 oz. of hot water in small pot or kettle to a boil. While water is heating up, drop 2 teaspoons of Very Raspberry Tea into your Smart Tea Maker. Note: if you decide to use a granular sweetener in place of Agave, place it into the Smart Tea Maker at this time. Set aside your Smart Tea Maker and begin to prep your glasses. Fill each glass with ice about half way, then layer in 1 sprig of mint leaves along with a handful of red raspberries. Fill the remaining half of each glass with ice again.
Brewing the tea:
Pour boiling water into the Smart Tea Maker just below the lid. The Smart Tea Maker is approximately 16 -18 oz. in capacity. Close the lid and let the tea brew for approximately 3-4 minutes. Remember that the longer the brew, the stronger the tea.
Dispensing the tea:
If you have never used the Smart Tea Maker to brew iced tea, we encourage you to watch the following video link, which illustrates the dispensing of hot brewed tea into a glass of ice: http://www.gourmetfoodmall.tv/play.php?vid=93.
Place your Smart Tea Maker on top of the 1st glass just for a few seconds (long enough to fill about 1/4 of your glass. Now immediately lift the Smart Tea Maker from the glass to stop the flow. Move to the 2nd glass and repeat. Now, go back to the first glass and dispense until glass is full to the top. Move to the 2nd glass and repeat.
You may be wondering...why not just fill one glass completely at a time? The reason for going back and forth between the two glasses is that the first pour of brewed tea out of the Smart Tea Maker is always the strongest. To avoid one glass of iced tea being too strong and the other too weak, you move back and forth between the glasses to balance out the strength of the brewed tea. If you are worried about the hot liquid melting all the ice, don't be. Some melting of ice cannot be avoided, but a full glass of ice will chill the hot liquid in a minute or so.
Garnish the top with remaining fresh mint and raspberries. Splash with a little cranberry juice and drizzle with raw Agave nectar to taste. Now it is time to delight your taste buds and quench your thirst!
Tip: Don't throw out the brewed tea leaves. You can rebrew a second time by just adding more hot water!
If you have ever been to a traditional tea shop, you will find that the most commonly served foods are scones, biscuits, assorted pastries and light finger sandwiches. Today, teas are becoming more common in cafes, casual and fine dining restaurants, which allows for some more creative food pairings. Below is a food pairing that I recently experienced and wanted to share:
If you have ever had green tea with lemon and ginger, you know how light and refreshing this tea can be and that it goes well with just about any food. However, I recently found that Vietnamese or Thai food, specifically stir-fried rice noodles or rice vermicelli with shrimp or pork, pairs up very nicely with this tea. The lemon and ginger in the tea really complemented the pungent flavors in the noodle dish. The slight bitterness and earthiness of the green tea also truly enhanced the Asian flavors.
I will be sharing more food and tea experiences in subsequent posts.
It is said that your customers often give you the best ideas. I have had many customers tell me that they combine 2 or more of our flavored teas together to create their own recipes. Customers are mixing black teas with green teas and even rooibos. I guess I was too much of a purist to try such combinations in the past, but I couldn't resist their suggestions and was pleasantly surprised at the results. I realize now that, as long as you enjoy the taste, there is no wrong combination. I even had one customer at the Friday Downtown Market in Tampa ask for 3/4 cup of Assam Chai mixed with 1/4 cup of Lemon Ginger Green. If you have ever tasted either of these two teas or similar, you would probably wonder how anything good could come out of such a combination, but she loved the taste.
My advice is to get creative and mix flavors and tea types that you normally would not consider. We are currently considering adding a product to our store that combines black tea, green tea and natural flavoring from multiple fruits. If you have a recipe that you want to share, please send it to us, and we will gladly post it on our recipe blog.