Today is National Sweet Tea day so I wanted to bring back this post from a couple of months ago for those of you who may have missed it. As you read this I’m heading to the kitchen to make a fresh pot of tea.
If you are from the South then you know Sweet Tea is something that all good southern women know how to make right? Wrong! This gal did not know how to make sweet tea! Sweet Tea in the south is something that you will find in many homes and on the menus in many restaurants.
For those of you not from the “South” you may not understand the importance of Sweet Tea. Around here we drink sweet tea with our meals like someone in California might drink a glass of wine. It’s often referred to as the House Wine of the the South. As I have traveled the last several years I began to realize that sweet tea really was a thing of the South. When I was in Chicago last year you often didn’t even see iced tea on the menu and if you did it was unsweetened. A few years ago I traveled through the Keys. Now, I was really mistaken there because I assumed that in the Florida Keys they would for sure have Sweet Tea. I mean, who wouldn’t want to lay by the pool or ocean sipping their tea? I guess down there they sip their Margarita’s though! I ordered sweet tea in a restaurant in Key West and the waiter gave me the strangest look. Like the poor man had never heard someone ask for sweet tea!
Growing up we didn’t drink tea at my house. Neither of my parents were tea drinkers so we never had it. But when I would go to my Mammaw’s (that’s Southern for Grandmother) she always had sweet tea in her refrigerator and let me tell you that was the best stuff! Sometimes, when the weather was nice she made “Sun Tea”. This is tea that is allowed to sit out in the sun and steep all day long.
When I started teaching (I was a Home Ec teacher for several years) it was my responsibility to host the hospitality rooms for basketball tournaments and other events that were hosted at the school. One of the things requested for me to prepare was Sweet Tea. It was awful that I had to have one of my students teach me how to make sweet tea!
Today I usually have a pitcher of tea in my refrigerator although I admit I don’t make it on the stove or out in the sun. My brother gave me an Iced Tea maker for Christmas and I use it to make my tea.
So for those of you who don’t know how to make Sweet Tea, here’s how:
You will need:
4-6 Individual Size Tea Bags or 1 Family Size Bag (Southerners usually prefer Luzianne or Lipton)
6 Cups boiling water
1 1/2 to 3 cups of sugar or artificial sweetener (depending on your taste)
2 cups cold water
Fill your pot with 6 cups of water.
Place your tea bags in the water (allow the tag to hang over the edge, you don’t want that paper in your tea).
Bring the water to a boil.
Once it begins boiling cover the pot (this is called steeping) and turn off the heat.
Steep the tea for at least 30 minutes.
While the tea is steeping pour the 2 cups cold water into your pitcher.
Add the sugar and stir to dissolve. Some people prefer to add the sugar to the hot tea in the pot as it will dissolve faster but usually just put it in the pitcher with the cold water.
You can also choose to dissolve the sugar in the hot tea and then add ice to the pitcher rather than the two cups of cold water. Adding the ice allows it to “quick chill” which helps to keep your tea from becoming bitter.
Some people like to add lemon or sprigs of mint to their tea. Me? I just like it good and sweet….like me!
Now go pour yourself a glass of tea and sit on your porch awhile, that’s what I’m going to do…with my laptop of course!