This black tea is freshened up with fruit, citrus and lemon verbena leaves. Any ripe fruit can be used in place of the peaches and strawberries, and the tea can be made 3-4 days before your picnic. Just add ice and ginger beer to serve and you have a lovely non-alcoholic beverage to sip on.
6 tablespoons Assam tea leaves
½ cup dried lemon verbena leaves*
3 ripe peaches, diced (leave the skin on)
6 large strawberries, diced
juice 1 lemon
2 oranges, peeled and diced
12 cups cold water
Place the tea and the lemon verbena leaves, if using, in a piece of cheesecloth and tie with kitchen string.
Place in a large saucepan with all the remaining ingredients and bring to the boil.
Reduce the heat and simmer for about 45 minutes until the fruit has reduced to a soft pulp and the tea is strong enough. If the fruit hasn’t cooked down fully, but the tea is at the right strength, remove the cheesecloth sachet and continue simmering until the fruit is fully cooked.
Strain the mixture through a sieve into a large jar.
To serve: Put a couple of ice cubes in each glass, fill ¾ full with tea and top up with ginger beer. Makes 3½ litres
* If dried verbena leaves prove hard to find, leave them out. The tea will still be delicious. Leaving the skins on the peaches will give the tea a beautiful red hue.