[I've decided to offer a mini-post every once in a while, for a dish that comes together incredibly quickly, or else is so easy to make that no recipe is required. Here's today's "Flash in the Pan."]
[Thanks to everyone who hazarded guesses about what type of peppers I've got flourishing in my backyard. . . I think we all agree they're not jalapenos, but as to what they actually are, we may never be sure. They're definitely spicy, yummy, and abundant--all I need to know, I guess!]
Another plant that grew beyond any sense of propriety in my back yard this past summer is mint. In my eternal quest to find as many uses as possible for the wayward herb, I began to drink this refreshing, ridiculously simple-to-prepare iced tea almost daily. I’d mix a huge batch of the beverage, pour it into a pitcher in the fridge, and just add ice whenever I felt parched, tired, or even a bit peckish. It always worked to perk up my spirits and leave me reinvigorated.
And no wonder: mint has long been used to help soothe digestive problems, and the oils may also aid in preventing bacterial or fungal infections (perfect for someone like me, who’s been rather slack with her ACD lately). Ginger is renowned as an anti-nausea remedy (which is why real ginger ale is so great for pregnant women). It’s also an effective anti-inflammatory and has been shown to help prevent various types of cancers while boosting the immune system.
With all these benefits in a delicious and easy drink, there’s just no reason not to sip some every day.
Fresh Ginger Mint Iced Tea
about 2 cups (480 ml.) unpacked fresh mint leaves
2 2-inch (2.5 cm) pieces of ginger, peeled and sliced into think disks
8 cups (2 liters) boiling water
agave nectar, to taste
splash of lemon juice, if desired
Either coarsely chop the mint, or place In the bottom of a large glass or other non-reactive bowl (big enough to hold 8 cups or 2 liters) and then muddle with the end of a wooden spoon or muddler (but really, who actually owns a muddler??). Add the ginger disks.
Pour boiling water into the bowl and stir gently to submerge all the leaves. Cover if possible while allowing to steep (I used the lid from my wok, which was large enough to cover the entire bowl). Allow to steep 5-10 minutes, or longer if you prefer a stronger brew. Add agave and lemon juice, if desired. The tea can be used immediately if poured over lots of ice (the ice will cool it sufficiently). Refrigerate any leftover tea and use as needed. Will keep up to a week in the fridge.