07/19/2024

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Is the only thing better than a good recipe? When something is so easy to make, you don’t even need it. Welcome to It’s That Simple, a column where we will introduce you to the process of making dishes and drinks that we can make with our eyes closed.

I’m a big fan of fruity iced teas, but I don’t like the effort required to actually make some of them. I used to have a whole process: cook the fruit in sugar and water, brew the tea, blend the two, and most importantly, wait until everything cools down so the ice doesn’t dilute the flavor I’ve worked so hard for. It was worth it, but I’d be lying if I said I did it regularly. That is, until I started making iced tea with jam. Yes, jam iced tea.

Flavored iced tea is the ideal warm weather drink, especially for non-drinkers like me. It’s cold, refreshing and unpretentious, but not too sweet or boring. One sweltering day last summer, I couldn’t bear the thought of turning on the gas stove to make flavored syrup for iced tea. I opened the fridge for a refreshing drink, and there was nothing but a jar of raspberry preserves staring me in the face. It hit me: make a simple syrup with jam and then brew the tea directly with that hot, syrupy liquid.

Here’s how it’s made
All you do is boil 6 oz. water, add 1-2 tablespoons of jam to a tall glass, then pour the water into the glass. The amount of jam depends on how sweet you like your tea; 1 tablespoon. Very mild, just slightly sweet. Stir it all together to make a flavored syrup, then add the tea bags of your choice.

Then, make a mixture that I like to think of as a tea concentrate. Let the tea brew for 3 to 5 minutes – or a little longer than you usually need, so it’s stronger than you usually want – and then remove the tea bags. While the tea is still hot, fill the cup with ice, let it cool down, and then dilute it to the perfect less bitter, less mild strength.

Flavor combinations are endless: I’ve made raspberry jam with green and black tea, orange marmalade with black tea, and strawberry jam with mint tea. My preferred combination is raspberry jam and black tea, usually Earl Grey. I love the little bit of texture of the raspberry seeds and the sweet floral aroma of the raspberries that complements the earthy, almost citrusy taste of a good black tea. Now, I make an iced tea on a whim, because it really is that simple.

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