Enjoy the season's bounty
By Lisa Boykin Batts Times Life Editor
It’s strawberry season in this part of the country.
And for many of us, that means plenty of fresh fruit cut up for breakfast or served in a yummy dessert.
I’ve picked strawberries twice and made strawberry pie, cake, ice cream and shortcake this season, and on Tuesday, I made strawberry tea.
James Sharp, who operates Deans Farm, said there should be fresh strawberries here until June. He has 20 acres this year and said it’s a great crop. Once the berries recovered from heavy rain earlier this month, the days full of sunshine have done their job and made the berries nice and sweet.
School groups are making their annual trips to the farm this month and learning about the plants and how to pick their own berries, and families are turning out to pick their own as well.
My friend Karen Coleman at J&K Veggies said that in addition to having strawberries at their roadside market on Rock Ridge School Road, they will also be selling them at today’s Downtown Farmers Market. Look for her stand today at 207 Green St. from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and for other fresh produce from local farmers.
So back to the strawberry tea.
This spring, I’ve purchased strawberry tea at two local fast food restaurants and enjoyed it, so I thought I’d make my own. What I made was less sweet than what I had purchased, and I liked the citrus aftertaste with the lemon juice I added. I found my strawberry tea to be refreshing and something I would enjoy on a hot day. The fast food version was more like a dessert drink, but it was very good as well.
I also used strained strawberry juice in my tea and didn’t add whole berries as some recipes call for.
This recipe can be altered depending on if you like strong tea or weak tea, sweet or very sweet tea. Next time I make this, I will add a third tea bag to make mine a little stronger.
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9-10 cups of water, divided
2-3 family size tea bags (I use decaffeinated)
1 pint of fresh strawberries
3⁄4 to 1 cup sugar
Add 3 cups of water and tea bags to saucepan and bring to boil. Let boil one minute and remove from heat. Cover pan and let steep for 10 minutes.
While tea is steeping, place berries in food processor or blender and puree. Pour 1⁄2 of puree into strainer with a fine mesh and let juice drip into a bowl. Occasional stir the strawberry mixture with a spoon to loosen the juice so it will flow better. Remove what’s left of puree in the strainer and repeat with the second half.
After the tea has steeped, pour it into a pitcher, keeping bags in pan. Add sugar to hot tea and stir. Add additional 6 to 7 cups of cold water to tea. (I always pour the first few cups of water into the pot with the tea bags first before pouring it into the pitcher to get more of the tea flavor.) Pour in strawberry juice and juice from half the lemon. Stir to combine. Let cool in refrigerator.
Serve chilled tea over ice, adding lemon slices for garnish.