Next time you have an abundance of citrus fruit, try my homemade citrus iced tea recipe. So refreshing, hydrating & bliss on a warm day, this citrus ice tea packs a punch if citrus & bitter fruits is your thing! You can of course add more sugar or use any fruit you have and use this recipe as a guide. A perfect cold brew recipe for no food waste.
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Homemade Citrus Iced Tea Recipe
By CaroJump to Video
Why Make Citrus Iced Tea?
- Make Use Of Left-over Or Old Fruit
- Control Your Sugar Content
- No Artificial Sweeteners, Additives, Flavourings, Colourings Or Preservatives
- No Food Waste At All
- Very refreshing & Ice-cold!!
- Homemade Is Always Best!
You can use any citrus fruit (or any fruit really), to make a refreshing fruit ice tea. Today I am showing you how to make using a lot of oranges, limes, lemons, a pink grapefruit and a Cantaloupe melon. I only used the grapefruit and melon because they were well past their best.
- Other Citrus Fruit You Have
- Tea Bags (any favourites)
- Sugar (granulated)
- Boiled Water
- Spices & Vanilla Extract (optional)
*Note – any variety of oranges/lemons/limes can be used. Same for the tea bags.
How My Iced Tea Tastes & Feels
This citrus iced tea recipe is bitter by nature, due to the high bitter notes from citrus and in particular from the lemons, limes & pink grapefruit. Sugar is added when the fruit is cooking and later to taste, but if you use more oranges to the other more ‘bitter’ fruits mentioned, your iced tea should naturally be a bit sweeter. You can also opt for adding real honey at the very last taste test.
This fruit iced tea is not going to go down quite like what you buy at the store in bottles. I press the cooked fruit and juice really well through a sieve, so you will be tasting and feeling the pulp & fibrous tissue with every sip. And in the photos you can see the thickness of the tea.
You can of course add a lot more ice if you want it a thinner consistency and add some more flavour to your taste.
Using Different Fruits Or Amounts
To use different fruits or amounts of fruits compared to this recipe, see the notes in the Recipe Card, for ratios of sugar to water.
Not Just For Summer
You can make this iced tea any time of the year of course, but in colder months, you can make in the same way, but omit the ice and add some of your favourite warming winter spices. Like more ginger, cardamom, mixed spice (pumpkin spice) etc. Any spices you put in mulled wine would work too.
The Process In Detail
For an abbreviated version of the recipe, without photos, ingredient amounts and saving/printing abilities, jump to the Recipe Card further down. (Click below to jump to that).Jump to Recipe
1.Begin by seeing what fruit you have had for a while and not used. The oranges, limes, lemons, pink grapefruit and melon, I had bought weeks before, if not longer. You will need quite a lot of it. (See my Recipe Card below, for a base line on fruit to sugar to water).
2. Trim off any ends or bad bits in the peel. You don’t need to remove all the peel. See Photo 1 where I also topped and tailed the fruits to make slicing easier.
3. Slice the fruits and be sure to remove any stones.
4. Next add the tea bags to a large pot with the boiled water. (I used a variety of different tea bags – Red Bush (Rooibos), Early Grey, cardamom Chai and Coconut Chai, but you can use your favourite.
5. Next add the sliced fruits to the boiling water & tea bags and mix together.
6. Add in the first batch of the sugar, (Sugar No.1 – 134g, 4 ⅔ oz, ⅔ cup) and mix through.
7. Place on the stove on medium to high heat and let the mixture come to a boil.
8. Let the mixture come to a rolling boil before adding in more sugar, (Sugar No.2 – 67g, 2⅓ oz, ⅓ cup), and mix through. The mixture will be very foamy, see Photo 4. Let it continue to boil for about 15 minutes.
9. Reduce the heat to a low-medium setting and allow to simmer for about 30 – 45 minutes, or until the fruit slices are soft, and the fruit tea is now coloured (see Photo 4).
10. Remove from the heat, take out the tea bags & have a taste test of the liquid. If you want more sweetness, go ahead and add more sugar now while it is still warm and allow to dissolve. I added all of Sugar No.3, (67g, 2⅓ oz, ⅓ cup). For bitter citrus fruits you will need more sugar, but you could add honey now instead.
11. Next add in the vanilla extract & some spices if you wish, that you like or complement the fruit you picked. I added cinnamon & ginger. Mix through and do another taste test till happy. And remember that once over ice, the flavour will be a little diluted.
12. Once happy, decant the fruit tea over a sieve, into a jug or some bottles or jars, with strong airtight lids. Be sure to push down on the fruit, so more juice goes through the sieve – get every last drop you can.
13. Place the used fruit peel in a food recycling bag or use for compost and nothing has been wasted. Place the iced fruit tea in the fridge to chill and store there till ready to use. Make sure you have plenty ice and make some up before-hand and place in a food baggie, so you can make more.
14. Serve in any glass you like, but over plenty of ice and enjoy! Your own citrus ice tea – homemade, no waste, no artificial sugars, flavouring, additives or preservatives. Will keep stored in the fridge for 2 – 3 days.
More Spring/Summer Fruit Recipes
In the photos below are some more Spring or Summer recipes, again using fruit! (click photo to go to recipe)
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Please see the sharing options or even printing, at the right/bottom of your screen (bottom of your screen for mobiles, and down the right-hand side on computers). You can even pin this to your own Pinterest page. Alternatively, you can save, print or share this recipe, via the Recipe Card. You could also leave some feedback if you like (at very bottom of the page).
Abbreviated Recipe Card
Here is the Recipe Card, an abbreviated version of the recipe with no process photos. This can be shared, saved or printed (with/without pics & notes). Use the cool ‘Cook Mode’ function by toggling the button to the blue on-position, and the screen on your phone or tablet, will not go black if using to bake along.
- Large Cooking Pot
- Chopping Board
- Measuring Scales (optional)
- Bottles or Jars for storing
- Measuring Spoons
- 4 Limes (small – medium)*
- 2 Lemons (small)
- 7 Oranges (medium sized)
- 1 Pink grapefruit (optional)
- 1 Cantaloupe Melon (optional)
- 8 Tea Bags (Any, I used 2 each of: Red Bush (Rooibos), Early Grey, cardamom Chai and Coconut Chai tea bags)
- 2 Litres Boiled Water (2000 ml, 67⅔ fl oz, 10 cups approximately, to cover fruit)
- 134 grams Granulated Sugar, divided into these 3 amounts* (4⅔ oz, ⅔ cup – Sugar No.1)
- 66 grams Granulated Sugar (2⅓ oz, ⅓ cup, Sugar No.2)
- 66 grams Granulated Sugar (2⅓ oz, ⅓ cup, Sugar No.3 ** to taste)
- ½ – 1 tsp Cinnamon (optional and to taste)
- ½ tsp Ginger (optional and to taste)
- ½ tsp Vanilla Extract (optional, make your own Homemade Vanilla Extract)
Prepare The Fruits
- Gather all the citrus fruits, including any with bad bits in the peel, and simply trim these off, before topping & tailing. Slice the fruits and remove any seeds.
Boiling & Simmering
- Add the tea bagsand boiled water to a large cooking pot, before adding in first batch of sugar,(Sugar No.1 – 133g, 4 ⅔ oz, ⅔ cup) . Mix to combine before adding inyour prepared fruit. Bring to a boil on a medium high to high heat, and add in Sugar No.2 – 67g, 2⅓ oz, ⅓ cup. Let come to a rolling boil, and boil for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat, simmer for 30 – 45minutes, or until the fruit slices are soft.
- Remove from heat, take out tea bags, and have a taste test. Add more sugar to taste and some spices if wished – Vanilla Extract, cinnamon & ginger. I used all of the remaining Sugar No.3 batch (67g, 2⅓ oz, ⅓ cup), as well as cinnamon and Vanilla extract. Sieve the citrus fruit tea into a jug or bottles/jars, pressing down on the fruit with a spoon to extract more juice. Discard the skins for recycling and place the fruit tea in airtight jars or bottle and into the fridge to chill.
Storing & Serving
- When ready, serve over lots and lots of ice, so much so that the glass starts perspiring! Any glass you like – see tall thin Turkish glasses, Turkish tea glasses and smaller wider Whisky glasses – anything goes and also depends on size/shape ofice-cubes too.
- Store in jars or re-used bottles in fridge and keep some ice cubes in freezer and decant into bags and make plenty!
Nutritional information based on 100ml/3.3 fl oz/less than 0.5 cup, amounts as food industry standard. Use this to calculate for each drink you serve. I am not a qualified nutritionist and amounts are approximate, based on above amounts, and via information from website Whisk.com.
DIFFICULTY LEVEL: beginner, easy-peasy
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