Sunday, April 17, 2011

Fruit Tea (From the Herb Garden)

A couple of days ago I wrote about planting an herb garden.  This is a follow-up post with a yummy treat you can make with Mint leaves.  My mint has been sprouting up in the bed after a snowy, cold winter.  I have welcomed its return by making some Fruit Tea.

I realize that Fruit Tea is a southern thing, an American southern thing (I should clarify the country since I have some International readers ((which, by the way, blows my mind))  Hello Africa, India, Brazil, Argentina, Russia...! )
So back to fruit tea.
I didn’t know!
I didn't know it was regional
I grew up thinking everybody drank Fruit Tea.

I grew up in Tennessee. (Born in Georgia, lived in Texas for a couple of years before landing in TN when I was 5 years old).  I have been southern all my life. It wasn’t until I went to college and became friends with people from Colorado, California, Ohio, New York, and everywhere in between that I realized that there are some foods/beverages that I grew up with that are local.  Like Grits. And Fried Green Tomatoes. And Sweet Tea. And Fruit Tea.  And there are some foods that I didn't grow up with that my friends did and I was thrilled to learn of their regional foods. So I realize that fruit tea is regional.  But I think it transcends location- it's so tasty!

I drink water all day long everyday.  I love water. I crave water.  My body feels wonky when I go without enough water.  I also love coffee.  I drink it everyday.   Coffee is my friend.  But Fruit Tea is my favorite special beverage!   In case you are confused at this point because this "fruit tea" is a foreign concept to you, let me define:  Fruit tea is an iced tea made with a blend of fruit juices and sometimes mint or cinnamon and other spices.  It is sweet and tart and refreshing.  Some people call it Tea Punch.  You might call it liquid dessert.

We always had it when we had a luncheon or fancy party growing up.  It’s served at some fru fru lunchy places around the south.  My favorite fruit tea is from Bread and Company, which is also one of my favorite places to eat.  I love their tea because it has mint in it as well as the sweetness and fruitiness of juices.  (And they have the good pellet ice at their cafes.  Don’t you love that ice?)  But the tea is expensive, for my frugal self, and it is hard for me to justify buying, though I do on a rare occasion.  It is really so easy to put together, and inexpensive and it makes a gob.  But, I have to make it when I can share it, because if I don't, my daughter and I will drink the entire gallon.  I especially like to make it in the summer when my mint is growing in the herb bed.  And to my surprise after having bad luck with growing mint for a couple of summers, it finally "took" last summer and now, this spring, it has come back and it is popping up in several spots!
this + tea = fruit tea
The recipe is one that is not very exact.  It is able to be customized based on what you like and what you have on hand.  Some people add cinnamon sticks and cloves to the tea bags when brewing the tea.  You can use whatever juices you like.  Pineapple, orange juice and lemonade are my favorite combination.
Some recipes add more sugar to the tea while the tea is warm, but I feel like with 3 containers of sugar-filled juice it is plenty-sweet!

Let us know if you discover a winning juice combination that you think we should try!

Fruit Tea

2 quart size tea bags
1 frozen lemonade
1 frozen orange juice
1 frozen pineapple juice
a hand full of mint

Prepare 2 quarts of tea, the way you usually do it (stove top, kettle, Iced Tea Pot, sun) with mint brewed with the tea bags, add the 3 containers of frozen juice concentrate and a couple of stalks of mint, crushed.  Stir until juice is melted.  Dilute the fruit tea to your liking.  It should make a gallon or so.


  1. Oh, Julie! I cannot wait to try this out. (I agree about the Bread and Co. fruit tea but my personal fave is from Star Bagel.)

  2. i can't wait to make a batch of this tea-yum! I love the photo of the tea in your polka dot glass. I might just have to "pin" it!! :)

  3. I discovered fruit tea when I went to college here and am forever hooked!

  4. Was searching for a Fruit Tea recipe to see if anyone had come up with a different version from Bread and Co.- although they definitely have the best tea! It was one of my favorite places to eat in Nash....along with their Honey Pecan chicken salad on Cranberry walnut bread with apple slices and avacado...MMM :) lol
    For making my fruit tea : I make my regular sweet tea first but place a Peppermint and Spearmint tea bag along with the Regular ones to steep.....then I add a can of frozen Welch's Orange, Pineapple, Apple juice (it's all in one so I don't have to buy separate ones).... i'll have to try adding Lemonade next time...
    whew long post!! thanks for your recipe!!!

  5. Five alive is good as a mix in as well for fruit tea

  6. Fruit Tea is very good for the health and very refreshing. I will definitely try this at home.