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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

It's about time...

I love iced tea. More specifically, sweet tea (wannabe southerner here). I'm the one at a restaurant who keeps the poor server on their toes constantly refilling my glass. A fond memory from my childhood is always having a pitcher of sun tea out on the back porch on the weekends. I make special trips to Whole Foods to buy Sweet Leaf brand tea.



Despite all my tea-loving ways, I rarely made this drink for myself. Why? A couple reasons, I suppose. One, I did not have the proper container to store it in. Big pitchers don't really fit in our fridge, and they didn't strike me as the right kind of vessel for my favorite drink. Additionally, the couple times I did make iced tea, it tasted bitter - not refreshing like the restaurant variety, and certainly not smooth like the divine nectar that is sweet tea.

This weekend, I purchased the above dispenser from K-mart (Martha, naturally). It fits perfectly in our fridge, and the handy dispenser keeps the tea a-flowin'. I also found this recipe for sweet tea. Baking soda to cut the bitterness - genius! I'm telling you, as much as I love it, Sweet Leaf just lost a customer. Now I'm making tea like my fictitious mawmaw used to make!

Southern Sweet Iced Tea

Ingredients:
~ 3 familyJen-sized tea bags
~ 1/4 teaspoon baking soda (sounds weird, but it works!)
~ 1 - 1 1/3 cups sugar (use the real stuff, and don't be stingy)

Bring 3-4 cups of water to a boil. Add a pinch of baking soda to the water and add 3 family-sized tea bags. Remove from heat and cover. Allow to sit for at least 10-15 minutes. Pour into gallon pitcher and add sugar. Then fill with cold water. Refrigerate.

Stop and set awhile...

11 comments:

Mouse said...

As a transplant to the South.. I've learned to love sweet tea. Turns out (according to my very Southern in laws) that the difference between "Sweet tea" and iced tea is that with sweet tea you add the sugar when the water is hot so that it breaks down the sugar into the liquid. I only brew my tea for about 3-5 minutes so its more often under-brewed than over.. but I will try that baking soda trick if I ruin an entire pitcher from getting distracted.

June said...

I'm from North Carolina and though I temporarily live in Tucson, AZ, sweet tea is always in my fridge. Even when I lived in Berlin, Germany and snow was massed against the house, I had my tea the southern way. Anyway, one thing I do differently from your recipe is to take the water off the stove once it starts boiling BEFORE I put in the tea bags--otherwise, your tea will taste bitter.

Emy said...

My husband likes decaf with splenda. Its gross and just not the same at all. I'd rather do without, Mr Flint!!!!

PS. Be careful with your tea pitcher. We had one of those once. Let's just say that if you see tea on the floor, its not from someone's spilled glass. But then again, I have the tendency to bleach everything and use way too hot of water when washing. I probably melted it.

DivaDeb said...

Oh I fell in love with 'Sweet Tea-ah' on my trip to Savannah two years ago! (And I swear that drinking it gives one that darling accent!) I noticed that in the PigglyWiggly markets back there, they sold jugs of Arizona Sweet Tea. Which seemed strange, since everyone there knows how to make it - but can I find it out here in the West? Noooooooooo. Darn!

telfair said...

Wow...I've learned a lot about tea in this post (and from the other commenters.) I am a big fan of iced tea but I'll admit to being one of those who just dump bags of artificial sweetener in there.

Mary Ann said...

Oh, I too am a sweet tea purest! However, I got an iced tea maker for a Christmas gift a few years ago, and I'll never ever boil water for tea again. The tea maker actually makes it WARM. Oh, heaven.

Dee Light said...

Sweet Tea!!! Wouldn't have it any other way!!! I use an iced tea maker, but I just might try your recipe. A trick I read or saw on a cooking show is to melt the sugar in a little boiling water
(I microwave mine) and then add it to the tea. This insures that there will be no grainy sugar in your tea.

tamy said...

ok
iced tea always tastes better whenever you dont make it yourself, the consistency of the ice is always important too... i love the crushed ice that you usually only find in hospitals - so anyone that can provide that basic service will find a customer for life!!

Karen said...

Thanks for the iced tea recipe. I've just gone off and made a nice big jug and waiting for lunchtime to have some. So while you feel like a wanna be southerner just picture me - a South African living in England enjoying southern style refreshment.

DOMESTIC DIVA said...

I've never heard of putting backing soda in the water and I live in the south. So strange. I'll try it out on my next batch of tea to see if there is much a difference.

jek-a-go-go said...

I'm a sun tea maker...I have a glass carafe with a rooster on it that has a lid which is perfect for holding my tea bags. I snip some chocolate mint form the garden, add ti to the tea and stick it out in the sun. Inside I boil a cupc of water with a cup of sugar to make a simple syrup that I add later....mmmm...sweet tea!