Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Southern Sweet Tea

Family time reminiscing about relatives, places, and food bring back so many memories.  I grew up drinking Southern sweet tea known in some places in the south as “house wine.”  I can’t ever remember a time when mom didn’t have a pitcher of sweet tea on the kitchen counter or a pan of tea brewing on the stove top.

Because my children grew up with Friday night dinners for the whole family once a month, special holiday dinners, special weekends with the grandparents, and let’s just stop by grandma’s because we are out running errands, they learned also that grandma always had a pitcher of iced tea.

All three of my children drink tea cold and hot.  Jim likes his hot tea without sugar and cold tea sweetened.  Michael drinks mostly hot tea and uses honey or drinks it straight, but always likes his grandmother’s tea.  Kelly drinks her tea hot but usually fixes cold tea and likes making a batch of sun tea which she learned from my mother.

Growng up, soda was something we only had for special times and then we always went for Dr. Pepper, orange, grape, or strawberry Nehi.  My grandpa Harry and grandma Chloe owned a small stone county store and gas station in Missouri when I was little and it was a treat to visit and they let us pick a soda.  Sometimes, if we were visiting their home, we would get soda with our meals.

My aunt Elma was a soda girl.  She loved her RC Cola (Royal Crown Cola) until she became Coke girl and always had a little area near the freezer where she kept it stored.  Aunt Faye loved her RC Cola also but probably became a coke girl when her son Ron delivered Coke to the local stores.  My cousin John also delivered for Coke,

Now, when mom makes tea she makes two batches, one sweet tea with sugar and one without sugar that we can add Splenda to sweeten it with.

Red Rose tea is my preferred tea to use and I remember mom always giving me the little ceramic Wade animal figurines which have became very collectible and the older figurines can now fetch several dollars to several hundred dollars for just one figurine.

Lipton Tea was my mother’s other tea of choice and the two brands were interchangeable and mom would usually buy which ever was on sale.

 Mom also bought green glasses known as Boopie, Bubble, Berwick, Inspiration, or Anchor Hocking in the grocery store filled with loose tea in the 1950’s.  I don’t know the brand of tea but I have several pieces in two sizes that mom has given me, now displayed in our new hutch in the kitchen.

Southern Sweet Tea

 4 family size tea bags or 8 regular tea bags
4 c. cold water
1 ½ c. sugar (use more for a sweeter tea)

Place water in pot and bring to a boil.  Turn off heat and add the baking soda and tea bags.  Cover with a plate and let steep for 5-7 minutes, then remove teabags and discard.  When tea has cooled down to warm, empty into a gallon container and add sugar until dissolved then fill remaining pitcher with cold water.    Pour over ice…do not refrigerate.

 Makes ½ gallon

Optional:   add ¼ tsp. (a pinch) of baking soda (the soda takes out the bitterness and darkens the tea, but does not change the taste).

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