FrugaliTea:

..The name may be silly; the tea is delicious:
(c) 2015, Davd

I like iced tea with citrus and some sugar; and it turns out i like hot tea with the same. What i don’t like in the way of tea, is soaking a two cup tea bag in one cup of hot water until the result is enough to tan the inside of your mouth. In fact, i’ve discovered, a good two cup tea bag can make two litres [a little more than two US quarts] of tastier, healthier tea… along with some dried orange peel and a Vitamin C tablet, that is.

I use “King Cole” brand tea for this technique; it is an Atlantic Canadian favourite. Of the name brands of regular [black] tea, it seems to me to be the best. If you can’t get “King Cole” or know you prefer a different brand, use your favourite.. but don’t use generic cheapest-price tea unless you actually prefer it to the name brands, for flavour. When one bag makes two litres of tea and costs maybe a nickel, who needs to save a penny on two litres of tea?

The orange peel should be dried. When i eat oranges, i peel them first (rather than quarter them and suck the fruit off the peels). The peel, i then cut into small strips an eighth of an inch wide, [3mm, or about the width of a paper match], or a bit narrower; and up to an inch long. I put these tidy looking strips of orange peel on a plate (a metal pie plate does a good job and won’t break) in a warm place to dry (meaning, not near the shower but rather near the woodstove or a heat register.) When they are good and dry, i put the strips in jars (pint canning jars, for instance, or the ones that commercial pasta sauce comes in.)

While the two litres of water are heating to a boil, i add abut a teaspoon of that dried orange peel, get out one of those “two cup” tea bags, and a pair of thin kitchen tongs—the ones i use are just over a quarter inch wide [but less than a centimetre], and seven inches long, made of stainless steel. The tongs help work the tea bag through the boiling-hot water quickly, which may be essential to this technique.

When the water is at a lively boil, shut off the power or the gas (if it’s on a woodstove, the heat of the stove shouldn’t be so much as to keep the water boiling once you begin to stir.) Hold the bag with the tongs so that the grip end is just over half way across—meaning the tongs block the water flow to only one of the four sides of the bag. Work the bag back and forth fairly slowly, and with the lid off, the water will stop boiling. I give it about a dozen back-and-forth strokes, then rotate the bag one quarter turn and grab it again, and repeat the dozen strokes. When i’ve rotated the bag all the way ’round, meaning gripped it from each of its four sides in turn, the water is a good brown tea colour… all two litres of it, from one bag.

Then i put the lid back on the pot, and put the pot somewhere to cool. Usually, that’s an electric stove element that hasn’t been “ON” recently. If you’re going to put it on a counter top or varnished table that might not take boiling heat, put a board between the pot and the surface.

After a half hour or so, he tea will be cool enough not to break glass. Pour am inch or two of tea into a one or two litre jar (I use pickle jars, washed and de-labeled) and add a half-gram [500 mg] Vitamin C tablet. (For some reason, Vitamin C costs three or four times as much in powder form, as in tablets; so in addition to getting a pre-measured amount, you’ll save a little money.) Stand the jar, with the lid on, next to the pot with the rest of the tea, until the tablet breaks down and mostly has dissolved. Then swirl the jar to finish dissolving the vitamin, take the tea bag out of the pot, squeeze the tea that’s in it, and add the tea from the jar. I usually pour some tea from the pot into the jar and back, to be sure all the vitamin gets into the main pot.

Next, add four rounded soupspoons of sugar, and about one level soupspoon more. Three rounded tablespoons, or nine rounded teaspoons, should be about the same amount. Stir the pot, but don’t expect the sugar to fully dissolve right away. Put the spoon down near the pot, or trap the handle under the pot’s lid, and come back in half an hour or an hour to stir again. Maybe you’ll have to come back more than once, depending on room temperatures.

Once the sugar is dissolved, pour the tea into a two-litre jar or two one-litre jars, and if you’re not going to use it soon, put in the fridge. It seems to keep well in a fridge, for at least a week.

This tea is good hot or cold. The Vitamin C is acidic, and gives it the same tang that lemon juice would, while being even better for your nutrition. The orange peel gives a citrus taste that i actually prefer to lemon. And for maybe 15 cents, you’ve made two litres of a beverage that would cost you dollars to buy ready made.

These directions will make a fairly good approximation to what i make, but spoon sizes and how high the sugar rounds aren’t totally uniform, and this is your tea now, not mine… so taste it and if you think it should have more sugar or less, more stirring of the bag when it goes into the boiling water, or less—adjust the technique to your liking.

The least satisfying thing about it, frankly, is the pun for a name. At home, i call it “my special tea”, but that’s even more awkward as a title.

So give it a better name… write to replies at this domain if you have one to offer..

 

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About Davd

Davd (PhD, 1966) has been a professor, a single father keeping a small commercial herb garden so as to have flexible time for his sons, and editor of _Ecoforestry_. He is a practicing Christian, and in particular an advocate of ecoforestry, self-sufficiency horticulture, and men of all faiths living together “in peace and brotherhood” for the fellowship, the efficiency, and the goodwill that sharing work so often brings.

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