Recipe: Low-Glycemic Minty Sweet Tea
Southern style sweet tea is a delightful, refreshing way to cool down on a hot summer day. But traditional recipes usually rely on a pretty hefty amount of sugar for sweetness. This recipe is made with stevia instead.
With zero calories and a glycemic index of zero, stevia is a fantastic natural alternative to sugar and artificial sweeteners. Since the FDA approved stevia for use as a sweetener in 2008, a wide range of stevia (or stevia-like) products have hit the market. Some are more highly processed than others and some have additional, potentially undesirable ingredients added.
My personal preference happens to be NuNatural’s alcohol-free liquid stevia extract. It’s the most pleasant tasting of the products I’ve tried, and because it’s a liquid, it’s convenient and easy to use for sweetening beverages. If you can grow stevia in your garden at home, that’s even better! This recipe is great when made with fresh stevia leaves, but a liquid extract or powder works fine too.
Stevia can be bitter in certain applications and when used in excess, but in my experience, stevia generally works well in cold beverages like iced tea, lemonade and fruit juice spritzers. Moderation is KEY when it comes to stevia, especially when you are using concentrated liquid extracts or powders, so I recommend starting out by using less than you might think you need, until you have experimented with it a few times. It’s easy to add more if you need to.
Makes about five 8 oz. servings.
Ingredients for the iced tea:
5 c. spring or filtered water
5 tea bags (Use your favorite black, green or oolong tea.)
Ingredients for the mint “syrup:”
1 c. spring or filtered water
¼ c. (packed) chopped fresh stevia leaves, 30 drops liquid stevia extract or 1 tsp. stevia powder
½ c. fresh mint leaves + a few sprigs for garnish
Step 1 Make the iced tea. Bring 5 c. of water to a boil in a large saucepan. Remove from the heat, add the tea bags and steep for 7-10 minutes. Remove the tea bags and refrigerate for at least an hour.
Step 2 To make the mint syrup, bring 1 c. of water to a boil in a small saucepan.
Step 3 Add the mint leaves. If you are using fresh stevia leaves, add those now too, and simmer gently for about 10 minutes. Then, remove from the heat and allow to cool.
Step 4 Strain into a mason jar or other container. Mash the leaves down with a wooden spoon to release more flavor. Then, discard the leaves.
Step 5 If you are using liquid stevia or stevia powder, add that now and stir.
Step 6 Place the syrup in the refrigerator until your tea is ready.
Step 7 Once the tea is cooled to at least room temperature, pour about 8 oz. (a cup) over ice in a tall glass.
Step 8 Add 2-3 T. (or to taste) of the mint syrup to each 8 oz. glass of iced tea to sweeten. (You may have some syrup left over.) Give it a quick stir, garnish with a sprig of mint and enjoy!