Sweet Tea: The Elixir Of The South
Nothing, I mean nothing, is more Southern than sweet tea. We drink it at almost every meal (yes, iced tea for breakfast is quite good, actually), we make it daily, and we even put it in our baby’s bottles.
Dr. Phil once jokingly mentioned that Southerners started drinking sweet tea at age three, but Mama and I looked at each other in complete confusion as we knew perfectly well all of us had started on it by age one!
Go to any southerners home and the first question they ask after sitting down is “Ya wan’ some tea?” These days I make my sweet tea with Splenda, but it tastes just as good. Sweet Tea just makes the meal. Mama did these photos for me so you get to see more of her beautiful sun room. I’m also including the email she sent me where she put some writing ideas for the post!
Mama Says, “The drink that puts the drawl in our speech and the pep in our step. It has been known to be fed to our babies in their bottles as soon as they can have something other than formula. Do you remember when you came back from Gusty’s and was so surprised that they served milk at supper??? You had never seen anything other than tea served at suppertime. Just thought I would give you a few things to write about.”
She’s right. I was sixteen the first time I had dinner at a friend’s house and they served glasses of milk with their supper. I had never seen nor heard of such a thing in all of my life. To my sixteen year old self, they could have just as well had walked right out of a flying saucer and started playing the bagpipes and it wouldn’t have been any stranger than seeing milk on a dinner table!
You’ll need tea bags, sugar (or Splenda), water, and either a small sauce pot or a coffeemaker. There are many tea brands on the market. Mama prefers Luzianne but I usually use Tetley or Red Diamond. Just make sure you get a general blend or “Orange Pekoe” tea. Orange Pekoe is a generic term for a basic, medium grade black tea.
METHOD 1There are two popular ways of brewing tea. The one Mama and I use the most right now (this may change when the wind changes direction) is the saucepot method. For a half gallon of tea, put five regular sized tea bags in a pot. Cover with water. You want about three inches of water in your pot.
You don’t have to worry over taking the tea bag labels off as Mama says “In a pot, bring tea just to a boil and then remove from heat and turn off eye.
Your tea is now ready to be mixed.
The other thing you can do is place your 5 tea bags INSIDE your coffee pot and just run a cycle of water through the coffeemaker. Once the cycle goes through, your tea is done and ready to be mixed.
Be careful if you do this, though, to remember to remove the coffee grounds from your basket. Many times growing up Mama would have supper on the table looking all wonderful and we’d take a sip and discover we were having “Coffee-Tea”. Hehe, we always had fun with her when that happened!
No matter which method you choose, in a matter of minutes you will have brewed, concentrated tea.
Mama adds:We always drink the tea fresh. It can be kept in the refrigerator but southern people prefer their tea fresh. I always throw out the leftovers and start fresh the next day. I don’t personally like lemon in my tea. If I add anything, it is a slice of orange.”
5 tea bags
3/4 cup sugar
Makes 2 quarts
Place tea bags in sauce pot or coffee maker (down in the coffee pot). If using coffee pot, run a cycle of water through to make tea. If using a sauce pot, fill about three inches and bring just to a boil, then remove from heat.
Fill pitcher 1/2 of the way with cool water and add sugar. Stir. Add hot tea, stir. Add more water, if neccesary, to make two quarts. Serve over ice.
Thank you for reading Southern Plate!! Have a GREAT Day!
I use Luzianne tea because I hate to take all the little envelopes off the tea bags. I even leave the tags on them when I brew the tea. It hasn’t killed me yet. I guess it adds fiber.”