|Sweet southern iced tea enhanced with a puree of fresh peaches and freshly squeezed lemon juice.|
Fresh Peach Sweet Iced TeaIt's gettin' to be southern peach time and we've got the early Georgia peaches already showing up in our markets down here in south Mississippi. The first batch I picked up were nice and ripe and supremely juicy, so I thought it'd be a good time to use some for peach tea.
I love a good iced tea and for a change, all manner of fruited iced teas, with peach being right there at the top of the list, though I've had some that were not all that tasty and kind of uninspiring and blah. The secret for me that many of them leave out - besides using only fresh peaches, rather than a commercial peach nectar - is also including some freshly squeezed lemon juice.
I think that fresh lemon juice just makes the flavor of the peaches pop and Meyer lemons, which are much sweeter than their more acidic cousins, are an excellent lemon to use for drinks if you can get your hands on some. I happened to have some in the fridge, so I used two of them, but good ole grocery store acidic lemons are perfectly fine to use too of course. Just be sure to test this the first time with just one of those, before adding in the juice of a second lemon. You may only want one acidic lemon, again depending on the sweetness of your peaches. Summer peaches tend to be sweeter than these early ones.
I also love using simple syrup in summer beverages, so I pretty much make up a batch and keep it stored in a mason jar in my fridge to have on hand anytime the urge strikes say, for a homemade sno-cone, or a cherry limeade, or maybe one of those iced tea cocktails. Of course, if you need to use artificial sweeteners, there's not a single thing wrong with making that substitution, and, if you aren't up to making a simple syrup, regular granulated sugar is just fine.
By the way, if you love peaches but hate the peeling part of them, let me tell you about your new best friend... in case you haven't already met. A soft skin peeler.
Couple of swipes and easy peachy! Okay. I know that was corny, but seriously, this gadget makes such an easy job of peeling peaches, it's fast and there's no having to fool around with that whole boiling and shocking thing. It's a perfect gadget for tomatoes too.
Admittedly the peeler doesn't get a huge workout in the winter months, but, with the early fruits and veggies we're getting in abundance, I've already used it numerous times this spring. Not only does it save time, but it cuts away such a tiny and thin strip of skin that you reserve more of the fruit, so there's much less waste. It's become one of my favorite gadgets! I purchased mine through Amazon last year using my Prime Membership free shipping, while I was ordering some other kitchen stuff. You can purchase through my store here, where I share all of my favorite gadgets, cooking tools and cookbooks, or look for it at your local home goods store next time you're out and about. If you love soft skin fruits like peaches and tomatoes, you will love having this gadget this summer.
Early peaches are generally speaking on the smaller side, so instead of giving you peaches in numbers, I've written them in by the pound, so be sure to use that scale at your market. Remember those? I use them, but I rarely see anybody else using them. Yesterday this lady was piling a ton of these huge first of the season Creole tomatoes in a bag that I wondered if she realized they were still priced a little high at $1.69 a pound! She never even looked at the scale. I also have a counter scale at home I purchased during one of my past lives of dieting and I actually do still use it a lot. Another handy gadget. Hey, if I had one of those big dream walk-in pantries, I'd probably have one just like this in there to be honest!
This next step is optional - if you don't mind a lot of pulp in your drinks. Personally, I like to push it through a mesh strainer to get most of the puree, but leave behind the larger pieces of pulp. I like a little pulp with some drinks, but not too much. It's a texture thing for me.
From there it's just piling it all into a half gallon pitcher and enjoying it.
Strawberries are still in too of course, though we're back into the California harvest here mostly, but Mississippi blueberries are just beginning to show up now, so I've suggested those as a garnish to the peach tea... even though I didn't take the time to do it for myself. This was just one of those 'get on with it I don't feel like styling' recipes that I was lucky enough to stop long enough to even take a picture before I drank it all. Sometimes even those of us who write about food just want to eat, or in this case drink. If you're serving this to guests, for a prettier presentation, just throw a cup of either sliced strawberries, chopped peaches or fresh blueberries, or any combination of that into the pitcher. Skewer some on a cocktail pick for each glass, which is exactly what I would have done here had I not been feeling lazy. Let's just blame spring fever, shall we? Maybe next batch!
Here's how to make it.
Recipe: Fresh Peach Sweet Iced Tea©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 15 min | Yield: 1/2 gallon (8 servings)
- 5 individual tea bags
- 4 cups of boiling water
- 1-1/2 pounds of fresh peaches, peeled, pitted and sliced
- 1 cup (1:1) simple syrup
- 1 or 2 lemons, juiced
- 5 cups of ice cubes
- 1 cup fresh peaches, cut into bite-sized chunks, sliced strawberries or blueberries, optional
Steep tea bags in boiling water for 5 minutes; set aside to chill. Meanwhile puree the peaches and push pulp through a strainer. Add the strained puree to a 1/2 gallon pitcher, stir in the simple syrup and lemon juice, top with ice and pour tea over the top; stir. Cover and chill in refrigerator until needed, stirring in fruit just before serving.
Cook's Note: I used Luzianne tea and Meyer lemons, which are sweeter. If you're using a regular lemon, you may want to add only one and taste the tea before adding a second lemon. Can substitute 3 family sized bags for the individual tea bags and granulated sugar for the simple syrup if you like. Depending on the sweetness of the peaches you're using you may want less sugar or simple syrup.
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