Sunday, May 26, 2013

Iced Tea Please!

Let's talk tea...

Iced tea to be specific.  A southern staple.  Certainly the most popular drink by far in my household.  There's nothing better than sitting down with a nice glass of iced tea.  Taking time to slow down and enjoy the flavor!

We serve iced tea with everything...and it's perfect for summer parties, grilling, or entertaining friends.  Right now everyone is just starting grilling season with Memorial Day tomorrow and this would be a perfect drink to make for a crowd.  Would you like a tall glass of iced tea?  Yes please!!

Today' I'm going to share the traditional iced tea with a few variations.  So let's talk a little about tea.

Brewing Tea:  There are several methods to making brewed iced tea.  My mom came from the school that took a small amount of water and boiled it, adding loose leaf black tea to it and let it steep to make a concentrate.  Then it was strained and divided among the jars and more water was added to finish the process.  You can tell the strength of the tea that way by the color of the tea.

I still make tea that way but I use tea bags instead of loose tea.  It's just easier, and you don't have to strain the tea.

What tea to use?  There are many types of tea out there.  We use a black tea.  I grew up on Lipton tea, so that's what I like, and still use.  It makes a nice strong black tea.  A lot of southerners swear by Lusianne Tea, but I never cared for it being a Lipton girl!  Use what you prefer, that's what counts!  I even experiment with peach teas or other fruit infused teas, and they work well, but black tea is the standard.

Sweetened or un-sweetened?  I make mine un-sweetened.  That way I can add Splenda to it if I like or leave it plain.  You can add a simple syrup (equal parts water and sugar boiled to form a syrup) to your finished tea all at once or by the glass as you please.  There are no strict rules! This is YOUR tea, do as you please.

Storing iced tea:  This is important.  If you don't want cloudy tea you must allow your finished tea to cool to room temperature before putting it in the refrigerator.  Otherwise your tea will turn cloudy.  I usually leave mine out for an hour or so before storing it.  

Southern Iced Tea

Makes 1/2 gallon

1 cup boiling water
3 regular sized tea bags
7 cups of water

Boil one cup of water on the stove or microwave.  Add tea bags and let them steep for about 15 min.  You want to get a dark concentrate.  The darker the concentrate the more tea you will end up with.  Pour your concentrate in to a 1/2 gallon jug or pitcher and add approx 7 cups of water.  You can tell the strength of the tea by the color.  Very light colored tea is a more weak tea.  Dark will be strong.  Adjust your tea strength to your liking by adding more water, or more concentrate.

Add ice to your glasses and pour tea over.  If you add ice to your container with the tea, it will dilute it.  

Variations of Iced Tea:

Orange Ice Tea

Makes 1/2 gallon

1/2 gallon of iced tea (see Southern Iced Tea recipe)
1 orange, cut in to slices

To the brewed iced tea add 2 orange slices to the container.  Take the handle end of a wooden spoon and muddle the orange slices on the bottom of the container to release the orange juices.  Add more slices to the tea for flavor.  Add an orange slice to the individual glasses as well for garnish.

Apple Iced Tea

1/2 gallon of iced tea (see Southern Iced Tea recipe)
1 cup apple juice, at room temperature or cold.

To the brewed iced tea add the apple juice, stirring to combine.  Serve over ice. 

Peach Iced Tea

1/2 gallon of iced tea (see Southern Iced Tea recipe)
3/4 cup peach nectar (such as Kern's) at room temperature or cold.

To the brewed iced tea add the peach nectar, stirring to combine.  Serve over ice. 


1 comment:

  1. Simple and delicious - I'm feeling refreshed just by looking!
    Mary x



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