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Strawberry-Basil Iced Tea

12 cups boiling water

8 green tea bags

5 peppermint tea bags

3/4 cup sugar

8 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered

1 – 2 cups fresh basil leaves

1. Bring water to boil, add tea bags and remove from heat.  Let steep for at least 10 minutes, then remove and transfer to serving container.

2. Place sugar in large saucepan and add 3/4 – 1 cup water.  Heat over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves.  Add strawberries and stir to coat with sugar water.  Allow to simmer for 10 minutes, adding more water  1/4 cup at a time, if mixture seems like it needs it.

3. Once strawberries break down, remove from the heat and mash strawberry/basil mixture with a potato masher, returning to the heat if strawberries are still too firm.  Once strawberries are mashed and have released their juice, place basil in a large bowl, and, using a fine sieve,strain the juice from the strawberry pulp (I use a jam strainer, but you can also use a sieve). Allow to drip until all juice is in the bowl (for a stronger basil flavor, place basil in with strawberries as they simmer).

4.  Strain strawberry-basil syrup a second time (I use a metal coffee filter), discarding solids.  To serve iced tea, add 1/2 cup of Strawberry-Basil Syrup to every 4 cups of iced tea.

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