Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Genuine Southern Sweet Tea

Genuine (pronounced "Jeyin-u-wine") Sweet Tea is found only in the South (....sorry y'all....but it's true). In fact, outside of Atlanta, you'd best be prepared to "request" unsweetened tea, otherwise, all iced tea (or just "tea please") orders are automatically served "straight sweet"......restaurants all around here and there of East Central Georgia and especially the rural to semi-rural areas, a pitcher of tea is on every table.

Just thought I would share the secret of how to make Genuine, Southern Sweet Tea ~

I use Luzianne brand tea, but Tetley runs neck and neck for flavor also. After those two would be Lipton, I guess. But never, NEVER use the store brand for tea..........don't get me wrong - I use store brands for a whole lot of things - but tea needs to be of good quality and my first two choices give you both great flavor and "clear" iced tea. There is nothing worse than cloudy tea.

I buy the "family size tea bags" box; I use 4 bags to a pitcher of tea (the everyday pitcher I use is a plastic 1 gallon size pitcher ~ if you're having "company over" ~ you'll want to serve tea from a glass pitcher).

Place 4 tea bags in the filter/brew basket area of your drip-style coffee maker (you do not need to use any extra filters, the tea bag is a filter). Using your coffee pot to measure, add 10 cups of cold water to your coffee maker. Place the coffee pot back in the appropriate place for the tea to drip into it and turn it on. Once all the tea has brewed, pour the tea into the pitcher. Add 5 "good" scoops of sugar to the hot brewed tea (my sugar scoop is between 1/3 and 1/2 cup size) and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Add cold water to dilute the mixture and fill the entire pitcher until the 1 gallon mark is met with the liquid.

Refrigerate. Serve over ice...........all day long.

When I was growing up, we had to boil the water on the stove, put the tea bags in the tea pot w/the boiling water and it had to steep for about 20 - 30 minutes........the automatic coffee makers have made the process a little quicker and easier........I can remember many a time that we'd make the tea and leave it to steep........forget and be busy a while and later pour a "STRONG" glass of tea......take your head off strong, too! I know many families who used cheese cloth (and still do) to make their own tea bags.......In the summer, my grandmother, Sara, always had fresh mint sprigs for us to put in our glass of tea. You can also experiment by adding other herbs to the tea to give added flavor or nutrients......but this is your basic Southern Iced Tea.

Enjoy ~

South of the Gnat Line

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