Red, White, and Blueberry Iced Tea!
Excerpted from Infusing Flavors by Erin Coopey (Cool Springs Press 2016)
This is my favorite iced tea! There’s just something about the semi-sweetness of the blueberries that compliments the tannins of the black tea like no other iced tea I’ve tried. I prefer the cold infusion because the fruit tastes fresher but I’ve given you a quicker option if you are in a hurry.
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup caster sugar or bakers’ sugar
8 cups water, divided
6 tablespoons loose leaf black tea or 10 black tea bags* (See note below)
lemon twist (rind strips) for garnish, optional
Place blueberries, lemon juice, and caster sugar in a blender or food processor. Puree until smooth. Add 1 cup of water and puree until blended and the sugar is dissolved. You may need to scrape the sides of the blender to incorporate all the fruit pulp.
Strain the fruit juice through a fine mesh strainer into a pitcher.
Add the remaining 7 cups of water and the tea bags. Cover and refrigerate until the tea has reached the flavor you like – usually 8 to 12 hours. Remove the tea bags. Serve over ice garnished with lemon twists.
*Note: I used Smith Teamaker’s Yunnan Black Tea – Here’s Smith’s description of the tea – “The best teas from Yunnan (known as the birthplace of tea) are wiry and tightly twisted with distinct golden tips. This exquisite variety brews up rich amber-red in color, has a lightly sweet, floral flavor and aroma, and brings welcome notes of smoke, spice and leather.” If you ever have the chance to visit Smith Tea in Portland, you should jump at the chance! Try a tea flight or two. A fantastically fun, and educational experience.
Just can’t wait? Here’s a quick method instead!
Place the blueberries and lemon juice in a medium-sized saucepan. Heat slowly over medium heat until the blueberries are bursting and the mixture is simmering. Remove from the heat. Cover and let stand for 10 minutes.
Remove from heat; pour through a wire-mesh strainer into a small mixing bowl, using the back of a spoon to squeeze out juice. Discard the blueberry pulp. Rinse your saucepan clean.
Bring the water to just under a boil in the same saucepan. Add the tea and infuse for 5 minutes. Strain out the tea or discard the tea bags. Stir in the sugar and blueberry juice mixture. Pour into a pitcher; cover and chill 1 hour. Serve over ice. Garnish, if desired.