How to Make the Best Iced Tea, an Avocado Tip and a Cool Camera Trick
Making Sun Tea
As hot as it has been in San Pedro lately I have taken to making iced tea again. Inspired by a recent trip to Lamanai Landings in Orange Walk I found the missing puzzle piece to that.
I was always into making sun tea and consider it the lazy cook’s way. It does not get any easier than water, pitcher tea, and sun. I used to use honey as a sweetener and while Belizean Honey does not taste quite the same as the sweet Canadian honey I was used to I still like it. However, I found something even better and am not sure why I never thought of it before as I used to make it all the time for the hummingbirds – simple syrup.
When we got to Lamanai Landings and were chatting with Blanca and Enrique after checking into our room, they offered us an iced tea. Immediately we were both wowed by the flavor. Blanca explained that simple syrup was the trick to making such good iced tea. I vowed when I got home I was going to try it and share my results.
Making Simple Syrup
You can use any kind of sugar to make simple syrup, it is very easy and dilutes well in any cold or warm drinks without leaving sugar granules behind. Mine is a little more labor intensive because I use a raw form of sugar called panela that is a product of Belize. It is very dark and rich tasting because it has more molasses in it. Since it comes in a large hard chunk I shave off with a knife or use a grater to break it up smaller. You can buy panela at Greenhouse on Pescador Dr. (Middle Street) for $10.90 BZD.
You can experiment and add other flavorings such as fresh ginger and mint. You can either simmer additional ingredients in with your sugar or add after cooling. Let it sit 20 to 30 minutes but if you do use the flavoring, the added ingredients will need to be strained when done.
Aside from iced tea, this little mixture is a great addition to cocktails.
Once your simple syrup is done, store in a nice glass container. I put a picture below of the one I bought upstairs at Caye Supplies for $6.95 BZD. They had a slightly nicer pair of similar jars that came in a set for $96 BZD. I almost hit the floor when I saw them first. Thankfully I looked around more and found the less expensive model.
To make sun tea you will need
- Clear glass container; if you use plastic, make sure it is BPA free. Use a lid to keep bugs or dust out.
- Sugar; I prefer raw brown sugar sold in Belize that comes in a large chunk but any sugar will work.
- Water; I use distilled water as I do not drink tap water in Belize unless I am in Placencia. To find out more about that read my post Drinkable tap water and 3 restaurants in Placencia.
- 3 – 5 bags of tea depending on the size of your pitcher and how strong you want it to taste. I have been using Jasmine Green Iced tea but any kind of tea will work.
Place tea bags and water in your container and put it in the sun; no pots or boiling water required. Let tea steep for 2 – 4 hours. I put mine on the veranda. Make sure to inspect your tea. If it has an unusual consistency it could be bacteria. Throw that batch away out wash your jar well with hot soapy water and start again.
A Cool Camera Trick with my Samsung Samsung WB150F
Watch this very short video to see how I was able to take the funky looking Belize pictures above on my camera.
A Very Useful Avocado Tip
Since we are in avocado season in Belize, I thought I would share a useful tip with you to help keep your avocados from browning if you do not use it all at once.
I can easily eat a whole avocado at once because I use them for weight gain. However, sometimes I will split it into 2 and use half with my lunch and half with my dinner. When you see the size of my avocados below you will see why they were either a meal in itself or used for two.
To help keep avocados fresh when you are only using half, use this helpful trick. Leave the pit in and tightly wrapping before storing in the fridge. The thinking behind this is that the pit helps cover a large portion of the avocado and allows less air to come in contact thus helping it not brown as quickly.
I have heard it is supposed to work putting the pit in leftover guacamole for overnight storage too but have yet to try that. If you do, make sure you have the least amount of air possible when you cover your guac. I have also heard onion works to keep avocados from browning. Does anyone know if either of these last two bits is true?
Looking for Lunch in San Pedro Belize
Since avocados do not do much worth videoing, I thought I would share with you the short clip I took of a bird looking for his next meal at the Caribbean Sea Restaurant 🙂