[   ] ~ from Monterey Bay Herb Company
Beat the Heat Shadow Header
We all love the warm, carefree days of summer, when the weather permits us to gather around the pool by day and the fire pit or chiminea by night. But the cold truth is, it's hot out there! But while solar radiation causes the mercury to rise, we can turn to frosty foods and beverages to help cool us down.
Whether your frozen fancy runs toward creamy ice creams, chilled soups, fruity ice pops or refreshing iced teas, we've got you covered with recipes that bring together the best of summer fruits and vegetables with flavorful herbs and spices.

[ Beat the Heat: I Scream, You Scream ] ~ from Monterey Bay Spice

a. i scream, you scream

You may have noticed that last month was National Ice Cream Month, not to mention there also passed a National Ice Cream Day which falls annually on the third Sunday in July. These holiday claims make ice cream seem to be a very American notion—but the history of “iced cream” is actually a global affair.

In fact it may have begun as early as 3000 BC in China with the advent of crushed ice from the mountaintops flavored with fruits and honey. Additionally, Marco Polo is credited with introducing this icy indulgence upon his return to Italy in the 17th century. From there, the recipe evolved to include milk and cream and spread throughout Europe, eventually making its way to the New World.

In the U.S., the earliest ice creams were dubbed Philadelphia-style and, in contrast to European ice creams, were eggless and uncooked. The name not only signified a high degree of quality because it bears the name of the nation’s first government seat, but the City of Brotherly Love was also considered the National Capital of Ice Cream because it was served each Thursday at presidential dinners.

From George Washington and Dolley Madison to Ginger Rogers and Snoop Dog, Americans have consistently demonstrated a soft spot for ice cream ever since. In fact, more than 1.5 billion gallons of ice cream are sold in the U.S. each year, making ice cream America’s hottest cool treat. America’s favorite ice cream flavor? Move over Rocky Road and Chocolate Chip Mint; it’s vanilla.

[ Beat the Heat: The Epic Eppsicle ] ~ from Monterey Bay Spice

b. the eppsicle
an accidental icy invention

In 1905, 11-year old California native Frank Epperson was visiting friends in New Jersey when he unintentionally left a glass of lemonade with a stirring stick on a windowsill overnight. In the morning, he found the contents of the glass frozen, which he freed by running hot water over it. What remained was the first known frozen treat on a stick.

Seventeen years later, Frank, now married with children, introduced his "Eppsicle" at a fireman's ball in Oakland, California, and it was a big hit. A year later he patented and began marketing his creation, although at his children's insistence he called it "Popsicle," a word that combined "Pop's" and "icicle." Today, Unilever's Good Humor division owns the patent, and produces more than 30 varieties of the original "frozen juice" on a stick. Still, even after all these years, and no matter what brand these frosty treats are marketed under, the name "Popsicle" remains frozen in our minds and on our lips.

Forward Frozen Thinking: The double-stick Popsicle, which debuted during the height of the Great Depression in the 1930s, allowed two children to share the treat for the same price as a single-stick ice pop.

Middle Popsicle Image
double trouble
double-stick popsicles
became a cost-saving
treat for two

[ Beat the Heat: Some Like it Cold ] ~ from Monterey Bay Spice

c. soup's on

Cold soups are enjoyed year-round in various regions throughout the world—and not all of them are in hot, tropical climates. In fact, serving cold fruit-based soup as a first course or dessert is traditional in Scandinavian countries. Russia is known for its colorful chilled beet borsch and Spain for its tomato-based gazpacho. In 1917, the chef of the New York Ritz-Carleton introduced the world to the chilled version of his mother's recipe for creamed leek and potato soup, which he called Vichyssiose.

Curiously, the first recipe for gazpacho to appear in print in the U.S. was published in the 1824 cookbook The Virginia Housewife by Mrs. Mary Randolph. It’s unlikely that Mary, a descendant of Pocahontas and a cousin to Thomas Jefferson, could have had first-hand knowledge of this traditional Spanish dish, but it is speculated that her sister, who once lived in the southwestern Spanish city of Cadiz, may have provided the inspiration for it. In any case, with eclectic recipes like this soup-served-cold, Mary's influence on 19th century American cookery was profound. But her notoriety doesn't end there — hers is the oldest grave known to exist at what is now the Arlington National Cemetery.

Put some soft biscuit or toasted bread in the bottom of a sallad bowl, put in a layer of sliced tomatas with the skins taken off, and one of sliced cucumbers, sprinkle with pepper, salt and chopped onion; do this until the bowl is full; stew some tomatas quite soft, strain the juice, mix in some mustard, oil and water, and pour over it; make it 2 hours before it is eaten. -- Mary Randolph's recipe for "Gaspacho”

[ Beat the Heat: Packing a Punch ] ~ from Monterey Bay Spice

d. the story of sweet
(and spiked) iced tea

Tea drinking originated in China more than 5,000 years ago, but drinking tea over ice is a tradition born of South Carolina in the 18th century, the only American colony at that time to cultivate tea plants for commercial use. In contrast to chilled black tea with lemon that most of us recognize as iced tea today, the beverage was predominately made with green tea. It was also typically served as punch, which means it was often loaded with booze.

One popular "tea punch" was Regent's Punch, named in honor of George IV, the rebellious British prince who became regent for his father, the king, in 1811. Judging from the ingredients, the beverage was just as spirited as George. In a recipe published in the 1887 Bartenders Guide, a mere three cups of green tea is combined with a full bottle of champagne, as well as a pint each of curacao liquor, rum and brandy. A few cups of this and it's "goodnight, Irene."

Eventually, tea punch gave way to the individually-portioned cocktail and sweet tea reigned in the south as the beverage of choice based on its own merit. Today, many families take great personal pride in their recipes for iced tea, also affectionately known as "southern table wine," that have been handed down for generations.

holiday on ice
try freezing fresh mint
in ice cubes
Middle Ice Mint Image

[ Beat the Heat: Culinary Cool Downs ] ~ from Monterey Bay Spice

e. recipes to chill out

cardamom vanilla ice cream
This a French-style ice cream, which means that it includes eggs. For a richer texture and flavor, replace the whole eggs in this recipe with four egg yolks. view recipe

green tea coconut ice cream
Smooth and sweet with just a bit of the bite of green tea. view recipe

strawberry basil popsicles
The combination of strawberry and basil is classic among herb-themed Popsicle recipes. Here, the inclusion of honey instead of sugar enhances sweetness without adding empty calories, while Greek yogurt provides a smooth, creamy texture. view recipe

cantaloupe ginger popsicles
The flavor in these pops is so bright you’ll think you're tasting frozen sunshine. These are bound to be a hit with the kids too, and they're so wholesome you won't have to put any restrictions on self-service. view recipe

spiced peach soup
Ginger and star anise lend deep, warm flavor to this peachy chilled soup. Serve it as a first course or appetizer, a light lunch or summer entre, or even as a dessert. view recipe

classic gazpacho
This traditional Spanish cold soup is as refreshing as it is nourishing. It’s like summer in a bowl! view recipe

gold rush iced tea
This tropical black tea blend includes blue cornflowers, mallow flowers, safflowers and golden calendula petals with bits of passionfruit and mango. view recipe

mountain mama summertime tea
This delightful, refreshing tea is pleasantly sweet without adding a bit of sugar. view recipe

strawberry soup
A sweet and tasty way to take the heat out of a hot summer day. Substitute in apple juice to make kid-friendly. view recipe

pickled watermelon rinds
Wait?! What? Yep. Pickled Watermelon rinds. Actually it's an old fashioned treat that's great for summer get-togethers. view recipe

chilled left-over salad soup
After your backyard barbecue don't toss your salad. This soup is a surprise hit and a great way to get the most out of your greens. view recipe