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Vanilla Plum Iced Tea

I thought I’d take a break from the interminable packing and cleaning to put up this fresh and pretty iced tea variation, which used off the last of the green tea.

Although it’s definitely cooling off at last, it’s still plenty warm, and iced tea is a great place to use the great ripe end-of-summer produce. So far, I’ve done nectarine, peach, plum and raspberry with black and green tea, yerba mate, herbals, and combinations thereof.

Vanilla Plum Iced Tea
Serves 2-4

Vanilla Simple Syrup:
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
1 vanilla bean, split

Iced Green Tea:
2 green tea bags and 2 yerba mate tea bags, or four of one kind
4 cups barely-boiling water
2 ripe plums

In a small saucepan, combine syrup ingredients.  Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 2 more minutes.  Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

Remove the tags and strings from the tea bags and place in a large, heatproof pitcher.  Add the hot water and steep for 5 minutes, then remove the bags.  Cool at least to room temperature.

When the tea is cool, peel and core the plums and puree with an immersion blender or in a regular blender until smooth.  Pour the plum puree and 1/3 cup of the syrup into the tea and stir well.

Serve over ice, with additional syrup on the side so each person can sweeten further if desired.

Notes:

The amount of tea can be scaled up at will; this just happens to be the amount that fits our pitcher best and allows for two large glasses each for me and His Lordship.

The first time I made this, I used just green tea, honey instead of simple syrup, and ginger instead of vanilla.  The hint of ginger accented the plum very well, and was really refreshing.  If you’d like to try this variation, add 1/4 cup of honey and half of a thumb-sized knob of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced, to the tea while it’s still hot, to dissolve the honey and let the ginger infuse the tea.

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