Thursday, May 12, 2016

Cold Brewed Tea with Rhubarb Simple Syrup

 “When you have a watch, time is like a swimming pool. There are edges and sides. Without a watch, time is like the ocean. Sloppy and vast.”
-Carol Rifka Brunt, Tell the Wolves I'm Home

It's a funny thing, time.  Right now I feel as if I don't have nearly enough of it but at the same time I have no idea how I am filling all of it.  Case in point- I just logged onto my blog hosting site and read that I hadn't posted anything in a month.  A month!  How on Earth did that happen?  Has time really passed so quickly to me that those 4 weeks can seem like the blink of an eye?  I know that I've been busy with pulling together a move of my household to yet another country and keeping my kids healthy and happy and saying goodbye to friends who are moving on and...well, you know the drill.  Life.

And in the meantime, time keeps marching on.  Did you know that this is my 250th post?!  Oh, and that I've been blogging for 5 years now.  That's an average of 1 post a week for the past 5 years.  Mind blowing.  Don't even get me started on the fact that my husband's 40th birthday is in less than a week.  That means that mine is just a few short months away.

Stop.  Right.  There.

I can't even wrap my mind around that one.  I was just sitting in the optometrist's chair (remarking on how blind I am, a sure sign that the crest of the hill is right in front of me) talking with him about how no matter how old you are, in your mind you're still a perfect age.  For him, 22 years old and for me it's always 23.  Funny isn't it?  That was nearly half my life ago and I still can't quite comprehend that I'm really any older than that.

So here I am giving you a recipe that requires very little of your time so that you can enjoy the passage and not wonder where it all went.  Put some loose tea in some water, set it in your fridge or a cool spot and walk away.  Take your kids for a bike ride.  Go see a movie with your fellow.  Take a nap.  Do something that makes you happy and when you return, magic will have happened and you will have a pitcher of tea ready to sweeten as you wish (but I humbly suggest the rhubarb syrup I'm sharing today too).

Cold Brewed Tea with Rhubarb Simple Syrup
Makes 1 quart of tea and 2 cups simple syrup
For the printable recipe, click here.

This tea is good with just about any loose tea you enjoy.  I like a good strong black tea like English Breakfast or even Earl Grey (which is the pretty tea that I used for this batch), but a green or even white tea would do just as well.  You may need to adjust steep times for a stronger flavor.  The simple syrup is easy to make and you can really flavor it any way you wish.  Rhubarb was in season and my youngest loves it any way he can get it.  This was the perfect way to make the season last just a little bit longer.  Any berry you like would be a great alternative to the rhubarb.

For the tea: 
5 tbs loose tea of your choice
1 quart (about 4 cups) of cold water

Scoop the tea leaves into a 1liter container.  Add the cold water and cover the container.  Give the container a few shakes to distribute and bruise the tea leaves a bit.  Place in the refrigerator or a cool spot for 5 hours or until tea has reached desired strength.

Remove the container from the refrigerator.  Set cheesecloth in a fine mesh strainer over a large bowl.  Pour the tea through the strainer to remove the tea leaves.  Bundle tea leaves into the cheesecloth and give it a bit of a squeeze to extract any remaining liquid.  Discard the used leaves.  Pour the tea into a jar or bottle and refrigerate until ready to use.

For the simple syrup:
2 cups water
1 cup sugar
1 cup thinly sliced rhubarb

Combine all the ingredients in a medium saucepan.  Bring to a simmer to dissolve the sugar then turn off the heat and let the rhubarb steep in the sugar syrup for 5 minutes.  Strain through a fine mesh strainer to remove the rhubarb solids.  Place in an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use.  Syrup will keep for up to two weeks.

To make a glass of iced tea:
Add 8 oz of the cold tea and a handful of ice to a glass. Sweeten to taste with the rhubarb simple syrup (try 2 tbs to start) and stir.

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