Meadow Tea
Yield: 2 quarts/½ gallon (easy to double)
This Lancaster County staple is summer in an ice-cold glass. Crisp, clean, minty and utterly refreshing, it's also the perfect way to use an abundance of mint.


  • 2 quarts (64 ounces) water
  • 1 cup mint leaves (I like spearmint; pack fairly well)
  • ⅓ cup (66g) sugar*
  • Optional: 1-2 extra mint sprigs (no more than 4-6 inches long)



  1. To get a cup of mint leaves, cut or purchase about 8-10 healthy, mature mint stalks. Remove the leaves from the stems, pinching off any dry or brown spots.

    In a large pot, bring the water to a full boil. (Tip: For good use of time, pick off the mint leaves while waiting for the water to boil.)

    Remove the pot from the heat, and immediately stir in the mint leaves. Cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid, set your oven timer for 2 hours and 45 minutes and let the leaves steep.  (Michael considers this to be the perfect timing, and I always abide by it!)

    After the allotted time has passed, strain the tea into a very large jar or pitcher. I press down very lightly on the leaves to extract any lingering liquid. (But I believe what I heard years ago – that squeezing tea leaves can cause bitterness – so I don’t press too hard.) Discard or compost the leaves. Immediately stir in the sugar, stirring to dissolve. (Because the pot was covered during the steeping process, the tea will still be warm enough to dissolve the sugar.)

    If using the optional sprigs, make a small tear in 6-8 of the leaves and add to the jar.** Refrigerate and enjoy over ice, with a small fresh sprig of mint, if desired.


*This amount of sugar produces a lightly sweet tea, but you may absolutely adjust up or down to taste. I’ve never used honey in meadow tea, but I have a friend who does and loves it!

**Tearing the mint leaves (while keeping them intact) of the optional sprigs releases some of the essential oil from the leaves, adding an extra infusion of fresh mint flavor to the tea as it sits in the refrigerator.

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