Sunday, April 30, 2006

Iced Tea

When it's cold outside I usually drink quite a bit more than my fair share of coffee, but after spring gets here my coffee consumption falls off a bit. I used to be a Coke-aholic, but over the years I've become more of a tea drinker. Tea is supposed to be good for you, full of anti-oxidents that slow the aging process. Any health benefits derived from tea though are offset by the large amounts of sugar and tap water I consume with it.

Here, in the south, we understand the way tea is meant to be consumed - iced and sweetened. There's nothing worse than trying to dissolve sugar in cold tea. You've got to add it while you're making it. Here's a basic recipe for making a gallon of sweet tea:

Ingredients: 8-12 tea bags, 1 1/2 cups sugar, water. Amounts of tea and sugar can be adjusted according to taste.

Bring a medium-sized pot of water to a boil. While it is still heating up, add sugar and tea. As soon as it all comes to a good rolling boil, turn off the heat and let it set for about 30 minutes. Pour the mixture (minus the tea bags) into a gallon pitcher and finish filling with water. Refridgerate and/or serve over ice.

If you leave the tea on the stove to cool too long, you might find that it is too bitter. Add a tiny pinch of baking soda to your pitcher of tea and shake well.

For a new taste sensation, add one tea bag of flavored tea to your stovetop mixture. Cinnamon and mint are the best.

I'm not too particular about brands of tea, but I try to avoid Luzianne. I don't know what it is about their brand, but it makes great tea if you drink it right away. If you leave it in the refridgerator for any length of time, it gets kind of funky-tasting. Or it may just be me. I don't know.

Sun tea is the best. Put all your ingredients, the tea, sugar and water, in a gallon-sized CLEAR GLASS jar. Set it outside in a sunny spot for about two hours. Go out and give it a good shaking from time to time to help dissolve the sugar. Fish the tea bags out and refridgerate and/or serve over ice.

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