Is anything more welcome on a summer day than a frosty glass of ice tea or lemonade? Not likely.
The good news is that you can brew the tea in an instant by microwave and even make big batches of lemonade, limeade and orangeade mixes without overheating either the kitchen or the cook or making a mess.
Perhaps fruit ades aren't something you usually heat. Maybe you just stir the water, fruit juice and sugar together cold.
A Boost From Heat
Nothing wrong with that except that the sugar never really dissolves as completely as it should, the flavors never mellow properly and the drinks always seem a tad cloudy.
Our spicy microwave tea, sweetened with honey, and our trio of fruit ades positively sparkle in the glass and taste intensely spicy or fruity.
Best of all, our three fruit ades are prepared from handy mixes that can be stirred together in minutes, days ahead of time, then stored in the refrigerator. If tightly capped, they will keep two to three weeks.
When you're in need of refreshment, all you need do is add ice and water or club soda and stir.
ICE SPICED TEA
3 cups hottest tap water
5 cinnamon sticks
6 whole cloves
6 whole allspice
2 (1/2x2-inch) strips lemon peel
5 teaspoons loose tea or 5 tea bags
3 tablespoons honey
4 thin lemon slices
4 mint sprigs
Microwave water, 1 cinnamon stick, cloves, allspice and lemon peel in uncovered 1-quart microwave-safe measure on HIGH (100% power) 5 to 6 minutes until boiling, then boil 1 minute.
Add tea and honey. Cover and steep 2 to 3 minutes. Strain through fine sieve and cool to room temperature.
To serve, fill tall glasses with ice, pour in tea, then add lemon slice, cinnamon stick and mint sprig to each. Makes 4 servings.
2 cups sugar
2 cups hottest tap water
Peel of 1 lemon, cut into 1/2x2-inch strips
2 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice
Water or club soda
Microwave sugar, water and lemon peel in uncovered microwave-safe 2-quart measure on HIGH (100% power) 5 1/2 to 6 minutes, stirring at half time, until boiling, then boil 1 minute.
Mix in lemon juice. Cool, strain and store in tightly covered jar in refrigerator.
To serve, shake mix well, pour 1/4 cup into 12-ounce glass, add ice, 3/4 cup water or club soda and stir well. (When making lemonade in quantity, allow 1/4 cup mix for each 1 cup water or club soda.) Makes about 20 glasses.
Limeade Mix: Prepare as directed, using lime peel and freshly squeezed lime juice instead of lemon peel and juice and increase sugar to 2 1/4 cups. If desired, tint mix delicate yellow-green. Makes about 20 glasses.
Orangeade Mix: Prepare as directed but use peel of 1/2 orange, 2 cups freshly squeezed orange juice, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water. Makes about 14 glasses.
Note: In ovens of less than 600 watts, increase cooking times about 15%.