Refreshing Drinks from the Garden for the Hot Days

by Christine Sine
Chocolate mint makes great iced tea

Chocolate mint makes great iced tea

Citrus and Mint Iced Tea

I make this tea throughout the summer, though with the way the weather has been in Seattle this year I have not thought about it until this week. It is both refreshing and thirst-quenching, and uses some of the garden produce. We always have an abundance of mint as I grow apple, chocolate and spearmint. All of them work well for this recipe though the chocolate mint is stronger in flavour and so you will need less.

I am hoping that when my seaberry bushes start producing I will be able to substitute their juice for the orange juice. If you grow it in the garden substitute lemon verbena for the lemon juice.

Last year I posted an article about how our food choices are manipulated by the global mall.  I talked about Stevia:

which is 10 times sweeter than sugar, easy to grow  and with virtually no calories.  However it was banned from the American market about the same time that Monsanto introduced its artificial sweetener aspartame because an “anonymous firm” lodged a complaint with the FDA  Read more

This year I  don’t have any stevia plants because the harvest last year was so abundant.  I miss the enjoyment of getting our visitors to sample the incredibly sweet leaves.  So now I find myself needing to experiment with using it as a sweetener.  I harvest the leaves when the branches look as though they are about to flower and dry them in the microwave – it only takes a minute or two.  I usually start with 30 seconds then continue in 10 second increments until the leaves are just dry.  When they cool down they will be totally dry.

At this stage I use stevia mainly for beverages, though my friend Cheryl has found that adding 5 stevia leaves straight off the plant to a pot of pears before she cooks them is ample to sweeten home preserved fruit.

I make a Ginger Stevia syrup that I then add to different summer beverages.


  • 2 cups water
  • 1 – 2 tablespoon dried stevia, crushed – I use a mortar and pestle
  • ¾ cup ginger root, finely chopped or grated
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla
  • ¼ cup lemon juice or 1/2 cup lemon verbena leaves chopped
  • 1 cup mint leaves (optional)

Bring water to boil. Add ginger & stevia, as well as the lemon verbena and mint if you are using them.  Boil for 10 minutes, strain into a heat resistant container. Add vanilla and lemon juice. This syrup will store in the refrigerator for several weeks.

Homemade Stevia ginger ale

I first started making this recipe when I discovered that most ginger ales have no ginger in them at all and were usually full of high fructose corn syrup.

Add 1-2 oz syrup to a glass depending on how sweet you like your drinks, top with 6 oz sparkling water and ice cubes. Enjoy.

Citrus/ Mint Iced tea punch

  • 8 teaspoons Loose Leaf red or black tea Or 8-10 Teabags (I like to use fruit flavoured teas
  • l cup (or more) Fresh Mint Leaves
  • 8 cups Boiling Water
  • 1 cup Orange Juice – or seaberry juice if you have this available
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice – or use lemon verbena from the garden
  • 1 Orange, Cut Into Thin Slices
  • 1 Lemon,Cut Into Thin Slices
  • 1 Lime,Cut Into Thin Slices
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup ginger stevia syrup
  • 2 litre bottle sparkling mineral water or soda water.

This is a favourite for our summer BBQs & picnics. Put tea & mint in a heat resistant glass or ceramic pot. Pour in the boiling water & steep for 30 minutes. Strain & refrigerate. Pour into a large pitcher. Add orange juice. Add orange, lemon & lime rinds. Add ginger syrup & mineral water and serve with ice cubes.  If you prefer a more lemony flavour add 1/2 cup lemon juice or a cup of lemon verbena leaves to the tea mix.

For more stevia recipes visit

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tammieandmark August 5, 2012 - 1:54 am

Reblogged this on creationsforhealing.

afwade (@afwade) August 7, 2012 - 8:13 pm

Love your citrus tea! Our stevia plants are growing great this year – and yes, it’s fun to watch people’s expressions as they taste stevia for the first time!

Christine Sine August 7, 2012 - 8:21 pm

Thanks Andy

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