Lavender Iced Tea


Another inspiration from our friends, Ennio and Teresa, lavender iced tea.  We were at their lovely South Jersey home over the weekend for brunch and they plied us with the most delicious food, drink and desserts.  A feast of grilled vegetables and meats, a variety of beers and iced teas and a delectable dessert array of blueberry pie and home-made toffee.  I could write a blog post a day for a week all about our visit and the luncheon.  Their garden alone is worthy of a photo essay.  Of the many tastes I discovered at the luncheon the one I was most struck by was Teresa's lavender iced tea.  Again, why have I never thought of this before?  Maybe because I get hung up on details and doing the same old things over and over again.  Or because I'm exhausted from getting up at 5:50 am most mornings, biking 24 miles, coming home, showering, going to work and then coming home to spend a bit of time with our rambunctious 21 month-old toddler, Nate.  Yeah, that's what it is, motherhood and full-time work where I use my brain at least 50% of the day!

Teresa and Ennio have a lovely herb and flower garden that spans two patio areas.  There is a raised bed of herbs by their back patio door within easy reach of their kitchen and dining room area.  Along a back wall is a rosemary bush that has grown huge and woody, all the better for cutting large bunches to use as aromatic grilling skewers.  They have climbing vines, shrubs and cypress trees (a little touch of Italy!)  It's a haven for bees and humming birds and other flora and fauna of the garden set.  There is also an abundance of lavender - a wonderful natural insect repellent, herb for cooking and as I tasted, a delightful and refreshing herb for iced tea.

The recipe is easy to make and all you need is some fresh, non-sprayed lavender.  I happened to have a huge pot of lavender growing in my South Philly "Out-door" living room; inspiration could turn into a reality as soon as we got off the Walt Whitman Bridge and came down Broad Street!

 
 Lavendar Iced Tea Ingredients:

  • 1 Large Bunch of Lavender - About 2-3 cups worth, loosely packed.  Use the stems, leaves, and flowers
  • 1 Earl Grey Tea Bag (optional)
  • 4 to 6 Cups Boiling Water
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar - more or less, to taste

Directions:

  1. Clean the lavender stems in  cold water to remove any dirt, dust or insects. Loosely shake off excess water.  Place the lavender into a heat-safe pitcher or a 4 quart sauce pot, along with the Earl Grey Tea bag, if using.
  2. Bring 4 cups of water to a boil.  When water reaches the boil, pour it over the lavender and tea bag and let steep for 5 to 10 minutes.  
  3. Remove the tea bag and lavender - discard or toss into the compost bin! Strain the liquid through cheese cloth or a fine mesh strainer to remove any sediment.  Pour the brewed tea into a large pitcher and stir in the sugar, to taste.  Chill and serve the lavender iced tea over ice.  
  4. Makes about 1& 1/2  Quarts of Iced Tea.

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