Strawberry Orange Refrigerator Iced Tea that’s mellow in flavor, refreshing and naturally sweetened with fresh fruits. It’s a delicious way to hydrate all year round!
For many summers, G and I were seriously obsessed with sun teas. Like drink it every day all day kind of obsessed.
Every morning, I would dump a bunch of tea bags and pieces of fruit into a jar of water and leave it on our patio for a few hours to slowly steep under the hot sun. I would then strain the liquid, serve over ice, and G and I would enjoy the refreshing drink all afternoon long.
That was before an unpleasant experience made us swear off our daily habit. If you’ve ever been at the bad end of good food gone bad, you know it ain’t pretty. I should have known better, really. If there was one thing drummed into my head incessantly in college and during my decades-long career of managing commercial kitchens, it is the importance of proper temperatures in safe food prep and handling.
Is Sun Tea Safe?
Using the natural rays of the sun to make “sun tea” is not recommended. Even at its tempest, the does not provide enough heat to keep the tea outside of the 40 F to 140 F danger zone range which is the optimal temperature environment for bacterial growth.
As I’ve said, good food gone bad is far from fun.
Refrigerator iced teas provide the same smooth, delicate flavor as sun tea but without the risks. Instead of setting the tea mixture under the sun, it’s cold-brewed in the fridge for at least 6 hours or overnight for best flavor. And as an added bonus, the tea is already cold by the time it’s ready!
Ice cold and refreshing, this strawberry orange refrigerator iced tea is one of the best ways to hydrate all year long. It’s simple and convenient to make for a large crowd, just prepare in a large jug the night before to have ready for your party the next day.
How to Make Cold Brew Iced Tea
In a large container, combine loose tea or tea bags with filtered water. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight to steep the tea. Remove the tea bags and serve tea in a glass to enjoy. If using loose tea or adding fruits, strain liquid with a fine mesh sieve.
I find the addition of juicy strawberries and orange slices enough to naturally sweeten the tea but you can certainly add honey, cane sugar or simple syrup if you prefer a sweeter drink.
You can also sub the strawberries and orange with whatever stone fruits, citrus zest and peels, fresh berries, and herbs you have on hand. You can make this cold-brew iced tea all summer long and never run out of delicious flavor combinations.
Darker teas may require longer steep time to fully extract flavor than lighter teas so adjust accordingly.
Want more ways to refresh? This Brazilian Lemonade is deliciously tangy and creamy!
Strawberry Orange Refrigerator Iced Tea
- 4 bags black tea bags
- 1 quart filtered water
- 4 strawberries, hulled and halved
- 1 orange, washed and sliced thinly
- In a large pitcher, combine tea, water, strawberries, and orange slices.
- Cover tightly and refrigerate overnight.
- Using a fine mesh sieve, strain liquid. Serve cold over ice.