Rhubarb & Mint Iced Tea
A refreshing cocktail from the garden for a lazy sunny afternoon!
Rhubarb and mint are both very hardy perennial plants that do not require too much attention in the garden… You almost forget they’re there until their rhizomes awaken in spring and the plants go crazy! Rhubarb is technically a vegetable, even if used culinary as a fruit with sugar, and the taste is very tart. The leaves are toxic, only the stem (petioles) is edible and the roots have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for a very long time. Rhubarb is commonly cooked in pies and desserts but as it can be harvested in spring to late summer, why not make something cooler and just drink it! Rhubarb, like citrus, makes a refreshing punch full of antioxidants and vitamins. Another easy fast growing and spreading plant in the garden, which is at its best at the same time of year is mint. Yes, mint is lovely in the kitchen and garden, very hardy and low maintenance but the hardest thing is to keep this spreading one under control as it is a strong invasive plant (recommended to be grown in a pot or container). Various varieties of fresh mint can be infused to flavour green tea and there are many health benefits to it. I’m an iced tea lover when the weather is warmer, so rhubarb and common mint are the best match to flavour this season’s homemade beverage. Adding a bit of lemon and some local honey to sweeten this up makes a perfect hydrating low-sugar cocktail. If you wish to serve this for little ones as a red lemonade, you can just make this recipe without the green tea. No way would I return to any commercial powdered lemonade or iced tea that was popular in our childhood (even though at that age we just loved anything sweet). There might be more work behind home growing food but there are some easy ways to benefit from abundant and lazy gardening crops, just like this!
Mint and rhubarb flavours from the garden • Photos © Bottle and Brush Studio 2019
INGREDIENTS (for about 1 litre of tea):
Rhubarb (about a dozen stems, chopped)
Fresh mint (about two large sprigs)
Juice of ½ lemon (use the other half cut in slices to serve)
3 tbsp honey (local and organic preferably)
2 green tea bags (optional)
6 cups of water
PREPARATION: Simmer for about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large iced tea jug, infuse the green tea and mint with 4 cups of boiled water, to taste.
Remove the tea bags and mint and add the lemon juice.
Strain the rhubarb juice and add the liquid to the jug.
The rest of the rhubarb flesh, tea and mint can be discarded in the compost.
Let mixture cool and add lemon slices and ice cubes to serve.
Can be stored in the fridge for few days.