Cimmanon Iced Tea

I’m a Southern girl, when I want to admit it. I was born in Illinois but raised in Florida, and I spent more time with my mom’s Southern family than my dad’s Minnesotan one. I love them both, but I’m a product of my environment, which was predominantly Southern. (That said… I HATE country music with the exception of a small handful of songs and artists, and I only develop the Southern Accent when I’m angry.)

Anywho. Here, iced tea is not iced tea unless it is sweet. While I like plain sweet tea, sometimes I want to play with the flavors. This recipe makes one quart; scale up or down as needed.

Note: It can be tough to distinguish true cinnamon from cassia, which is often sold as cinnamon. Here’s a helpful link for telling the two apart. 

3 Ceylon cinnamon sticks (looks like this), broken into pieces
1 cup water
4 tsp loose black tea or 4 one-cup black tea bags
sugar to taste
 

Cook the cinnamon in the water on low heat until boiling.
Remove from heat and add tea and sugar. Steep according to package directions – about 3 minutes.
Strain into a 1-qt container. Add 3 cups cold water and refrigerate until cold.

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Simple Applesauce

This recipe filled a 4-cup jar to the brim and I still had some leftover. Probably close to 5 cups total. You can scale it down for less, but I had a bunch of apples to use up faster than I would eat them. I used McIntosh apples because that’s what I had, but any apple or combination of apples will work.

12 or 13 small apples, washed, peeled, cored, and chopped
1 cup water
3 Tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup brown sugar (optional)
1/4 white sugar (optional)
cinnamon or cassia to taste (optional; I used three 3-inch sticks)

Place all ingredients in a saucepan or stock pot. Cover and bring to a boil. Stir, reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the apples are tender – about 30 minutes – stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and remove the cinnamon sticks, if you used them. Mash the apples with a potato masher or hand mixer for chunky applesauce, or run it through a food processor/blender for smooth applesauce. Put the applesauce in an airtight container and refrigerate until cool.