Cool off these hot days with fizzy green tea

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Sweet mercy, has the weather been hot! Just when I think I’m accustomed to the heat, another triple digit temperature day comes along and reminds me just how much a body can sweat.

Partly to escape the hotness and partly to enjoy every last bit of summer, we’ve been hitting a different SoCal beach each week. While I enjoy our beautiful lake and all the fun activities in our city, sometimes a girl just needs to go to the beach.

Oceanside Harbor, Thousand Steps Beach, Coronado, and Huntington Beach have all been cool, fresh respites from our inland heat. Each time we reach the coast, we marvel at how far the temperature drops – sometimes by as much as 30 degrees.

Why is it cooler on the coast in the summer? And warmer in the winter? Thanks to my youngest son’s Earth Science textbook, I can share the answer with you, dear reader.

According to the science textbook, land heats up faster than the ocean. And as the land heats up, the air above it heats up, too. So, on those hot, sunny days, the earth in our inland area heats up fast and heats up the air as well, which explains our 113-degree temperatures.

By contrast, large bodies of water like the ocean heat up slowly. Because the water is still cool, so is the air above it, as well as the land areas near the ocean. Which explains the 75-degree temperatures in Oceanside, Laguna Beach, San Diego, and Huntington Beach.

Now what about the winters? Why are the coastal areas still in the 70s while we get colder temps? It’s the same principle as what happens in summer but the flip side of the same coin, so to speak.

In winter, the ocean temperature changes very little from night to day. And the air temperature follows suit, keeping the air milder than it is inland. Land loses heat quickly especially when the sun goes down. This is something called “radiational cooling,” which is the cooling of the Earth’s surface.

The ocean is sometimes referred to as a thermal blanket that insulates the coast from exceedingly high and low temperatures that we experience inland. And that’s the end of our science lesson, boys and girls.

Besides driving to the beach, there are other ways to keep cool. A dip in the community pool, the lake, or backyard Jacuzzi are fun ways to get wet and cool off.

Personally, I’ve taken to making sure I have lots of hydrating, low-calorie thirst quenchers in the fridge. And since I am a fan of iced tea, I have had fun making some variations on the summertime favorite.

This week’s recipe is from Better Homes and Gardens magazine and features green tea. While the jury is still out on whether green tea will actually help lower your cholesterol, help you lose weight, or prevent cancer, there does seem to be science-backed benefits in the antioxidants found in green tea.

The antioxidant catechin does fight cell damage and may help prevent further damage. Green tea is rich in catechins, thanks to the tea being minimally processed.

The website WebMD recommends adding some lemon to your green tea. The Vitamin C in lemon and other citrus fruits makes the catechin easier to absorb. And don’t use boiling water to make your green tea since it destroys some of the catechins.

Enjoy this refreshing tea, wherever you go to cool down this summer.


Beach Barbecue Coleslaw

Makes 12 servings

A14-PIC-CookIngredients:

  • 12 cups water
  • 1/4  to 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 inches fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 12 green tea bags
  • Lemon-flavor sparkling or seltzer water
  • Orange, lemon or lime peel, finely chopped

Directions:

In a large pot combine water, sugar and ginger. Simmer (don’t boil), covered for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Add tea bags and cover. Let stand for 3 minutes. Remove and discard tea bags. Remove ginger slices and discard.

Transfer tea to a 2 gallon pitcher. Cover and cool completely. Place in refrigerator to chill. To serve, fill a glass with ice cubes, then fill halfway with tea. Top with sparkling water and garnish with orange, lemon or lime peel.

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Betty Williams