Monday, June 25, 2012

Sweet Tea....The House Wine of the South!


 
I originally didn't think I would write a post on sweet tea, because to be honest it has been covered by every southern food blogger out there.   However, people still ask about how to make sweet tea and since the name of my blog is 'Sweet Tea and Cornbread' it is only right that I post a sweet tea recipe.  Also, when I started really thinking about the role sweet tea plays in the life of most southerners and in my growing up, I felt I owed it some respect.
 
I really don't remember when sweet tea wasn't part of my life. I am not sure when I started drinking it, but I am pretty sure it was more than likely before I could walk.  It was always what was served with our night time meal which we usually call supper.   There is a food blog that I have followed for  a few years now and sometime ago I was reading her post on sweet tea, she said that the first time she was allowed to eat at  a girlfriend's house, she was stunned to see that the children were not served tea, but big glasses of milk. I had the exact same experience...well sort of.  My experience got a little more involved than just the realization that not all kids got to drink sweet tea with their supper.  Do you feel a story coming on here?  I will try to make it short!

When we were kids, we played all over our street, up and down, next door, in the big field behind our houses...which my father and some other neighborhood men turned into our own softball field.  It was back when kids could still be kids and have some freedom.  We rode our bicycles to the store, we walked to school, we travelled from yard to yard, driveway to driveway...playing basketball, softball, doing gymnastics, and having all day monopoly marathons. 
 
 With all of this freedom there were two things we were told not to do...1.) Do not go into anyone's house for anything.  If you had to pee, you trucked your little butt home and hoped you made it.  It took special permission or an act of congress to be allowed to play in anyone's house for a day. The mothers or fathers had to confer on such an event.  2.) You did not eat at anyone's house, as in sit down and eat, when they stopped to eat their lunch or supper.  Even if they begged you, if it was time for them to eat, you came home.  There were a couple of exceptions to this rule...if you were asked to spend the night and congress approved it or if the mother called your mother (or father) and they discussed it. Usually when I asked to eat at someone else's house, my mother would ask why I wanted to, we had perfectly good food at our house? Mama seemed like she didn't really get it sometime, but then just when you thought she was so dense, she turned out to be right. I always hated that...lol.    

I finally got my first approval to eat with my best friend's family when I was probably in the third or fourth grade.  It was exciting, but made me nervous also, because eating at someone's house other than a relative or a church family without my parents was a big deal.   Church folks were a different thing all together and I seemed to get to do a lot of things with them, but looking back I realize that was almost like family.

When we sat down for my first dinner with my friend, everything looked like it would be alright.  There was nice roast cooked with carrots and potatoes, green beans, corn, rolls...it all looked pretty good to me.   Anytime I visited anyone the food was  big concern for me, because I  had been around enough to know it wasn't always good or not as good as Mama's.  I spied a big pitcher of sweet tea on the counter...that works.  Then, the milk comes out of the refrigerator and 5 big glasses of it was being poured.  Surely, these people did not drink 'milk' with their supper!  Nobody informed me of this when I accepted the invitation.  You see, I didn't like milk.  It actually made me feel sick at times and I certainly never drank it with supper.
 
I ate my food and never touched my milk, which I thought nobody would be rude enough to mention...wrong.  Suddenly, everyone at the table was discussing the fact that I wasn't drinking the milk.  I had six sets of eyes all trained on me and being a very insecure child in a new situation, I wanted the floor to open up and swallow me.  The father decided I might have one of those 'milk allergies'.  My mind quickly decided that a milk allergy would be good to have...I bet that was it!  Was there also a liver allergy because that stuff made me gag also.  This allergy thing could come in handy for so many detestable things we were made to eat.   However, suddenly the oldest girl, who was supposed to be my best friend, announced "She does NOT have a milk allergy!  She gets in trouble every day at lunch for not drinking her milk. Even the cafeteria lady comes out and gets on her about it!"  So much for best friends and all of that.  Then the youngest child, a little boy about 3 or 4 started doing a sing song about me being a 'bad girl'.    This whole thing ended with them pouring me a big, cold glass of... guess what....ice water!  And guess what was for dessert?  Ice cream with chocolate syrup on it!  Guess who didn't get any because they might have that pesky milk allergy?  

Needless to say, I didn't eat at their house again for about a year.  It took that long to get over it.  I was never so glad to eat at our own table in our kitchen the next night and drink my big ole glass of sweet tea.
 
Now, this is how I make my sweet tea and there are as many different methods and rituals and recipes for sweet tea as there are for biscuits and cornbread, so if you don't make it this way it's not a big deal.
This is my little tea pan.  I have had this pan ever since I got married. I think it was part of my first set of cookware.  I only use this pan for my tea. I fill it about 3/4 full of cold water (not warm) and put a family size tea bag in it.  If you use the small single serving size, use 4 of them.  I use Lipton tea.  I know most southern food bloggers use Luzianne for some reason and I have tried it, but my mother always used Lipton and it's what I prefer. Use what you prefer.




Bring the water to a boil and as soon as it boils, turn it off and cover it with something.  This is called steeping the tea and makes all of the difference in the world.  If you steep your tea, you do not have to use as much tea.  I just cover this pan with a little plate. I lost the top to it long ago somehow.  My mother always covered her pan with a tin pie pan.   She now makes her tea in the microwave and wants me to tell you that is the way to go these days. It's ok, I guess, but I still make mine on the stove.  Steep the tea for at least 30 minutes and an hour is even better.  Tea should have some color to it, not be almost clear.  It should be the color of good KY bourbon, but not as lethal..lol.




Put 1 1/2 - 2 cups sugar in a glass 2 quart pitcher and pour the tea, which even after an hour will be warm, over the sugar. Mix until the sugar is dissolved.  Fill the pitcher to the top with water and stir again.  Sweet tea tastes better made in a glass pitcher and I prefer it served in glass.  For me,  I also prefer it best when just made, not refrigerated.  Pour it over ice and serve with  wedge of lemon.   The amount of sugar is something people vary on, and most recipes I see do not call for enough sugar, but you sweeten to your liking.  The tea must be sweetened while a little warm, not after it is cold, because the sugar will not dissolve in cold tea. I do think the farther south you go, the sweeter the tea gets, and even though I am from Kentucky and not the deep south, I think I really belong in the deep south when it comes to tea!




98 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for the tea recipe. I've been making mine is the microwave oven for some time now but it doesn't turn out the same. I genuinely enjoy your website and have starting making some of your recipes. Love,love,love the hoe cakes and collards recipes and the mac&cheese & cream of potato soup. I'm going to try the broccli and cheese soup today. teresa west on facebook.

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  2. Thank you so much for the tea receipe. I am not from the south, but should have been. The way I cook, can, and the meals I put on the table. Calories are not something I think of when I fix a meal, its the taste and presentation. My mother always taught us girls the the way your table looks does make a difference. So thankful for all she taught us,

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  3. This is almost just how I make my tea. For now I am using a plastic pitcher because a while back my tea was still to hot when I put it in a glass pitcher and it cracked. I am from Texas and I love love sweet tea. And yes. Always tea for supper.

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    1. when pouring hot tea in a glass pitcher, put a long handle metal spoon in the pitcher first and pour the tea down the handle of the spoon. Works like a charm! Learned that from my grandmother. She also taught me to never wash your tea pan/pot out with soap...just rinse it with water. And leave it with the tea stain in it! lol I always thought that was just her way, but believe me...the difference in tea made in a stained pot and one that has been scrubbed clean is like night and day! So rinse those pots out with water and let them air dry!

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    2. yes a long metal spoon. it works . got that from my granma also.

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  4. I'm from Boston. The first time I tasted sweet tea was a few years ago when Mcdonald 's started serving it. I soon became addicted. My husband found their recipe on line and it just as you described!! I now make a batch almost daily starting April 1st

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    1. I'd love to know how McDonalds makes their tea

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    2. check out this website...as close to McD's as I've found ...

      http://www.topsecretrecipes.com/McDonalds-Sweet-Tea-Recipe.html

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    3. 10 lb bag of sugar. lol no really I don't know. see I drink mine unsweetened . but I do know they use lots of sugar

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    4. what does april have to do with iced tea? ;)

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    5. At least in Texas, First of April is kinda the unofficial beginning of Summer. We just went from 2 weeks of temps in the 90's to 3 days of temps in the middle 50's. Hot weather brings out the iced tea.

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  5. Maybe I should've been from the south because I have been making my tea this way for years! My sons loved it since they were little boys but their friends kept saying it was way too sweet. I said, "More for us!" Thank you for backing me up and I am going to start making my sweet tea again now that my boys are adults. They keep telling me to make it and now I am. God bless you!

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    1. I drink a gallon of milk a day I mean the whole milk and wash out the plastic jugs out and make my tea in them I use 7 to 8 tea bags boil the water let it steep some put 2 1/2 cups sugar steer it up I also so use lots of ice cubs to help cool off the tea and then poor it into the milk jugs and and in the refrigerator this way I have sweet tea where ever I want to go and yes the glass is the best way to have tea but when you on the go as much as I am glass just don't last long out here in the wild country as the milk jugs do. GOT MILK I got both SWEET TEA and MILK Y'all have fun today hear.

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  6. I LOVE your milk story! I lived in a small town and always came home for lunch. On occasion, my mother would go to the nearest "big sity" for an appointment or shopping and we'd have to eat lunch with the neighbor kids. Their mom would always pour me a glass of milk and insist I drink it. I think she liked to torment me. After a few bites of food, she'd make me take a drink before I could take another bite. She and her two boys would always make fun of me for not drinking milk. Finally, I think she learned because she was frugal and didn't like pouring it down the drain, because I'd never finish it. I haven't thought of that woman in years. Thanks for the memories!

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    1. I lived on a farm and hated the smell of warm milk in the barn. I hated the taste of milk. When I started school I would sit at the lunch table the whole lunch hour trying to choke down the mild because I knew at dinner time my mother would ask me if I drank my milk. I would always mumble "most of it". Finally the lunch lady who was a neighbor called my Mother and told her about me not being able to play after lunch because of trying to drink the milk. That was the end of that! Then years later when my 4 year old daughter had dinner with my friend and her son my friend poured 3 glasses of milk. My daughter was astounded....she said "I didn't know Mothers drank milk!" This mother still doesn't.

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  7. I use half as much sugar and twice as much tea.

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    1. That is "Kind of Sweet Tea", but bless your heart, you make it the way YOU like it!

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    2. I use 6-7 regular size bags of black tea and 3/4 cup of sugar

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  8. You are right about the sugar! I put 2 cups in a gallon for my catering meals... that's about right for taste around here, although I have some that cough/gag a little and comment, "Wow! That's sweet!" I guess yours might startle them even more! ;-) LOL

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    1. I use about 7 to 8 single tea bags and 2 1/2 cups sugar per gallon I put it in my gallon milk jugs after I wash them out real good that way I can take it with me to work if its not sweet its not sweet tea.

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  9. That is exactly the way I make it! My Aunt always made it for me when we went to Tennessee and I love it! I must confess though, like your Mother, I now use the Microwave.... Still good though!!

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  10. I drink morning noon an night. I add lemon to mine tho. When I have a sore throat, I pour it into a mug an microwave it 1 minute, stir an sip. AHHHH! My brother calls it the "nectar of the Gods"

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  11. So the reply about pouring hot tea in a glass pitcher and it breaking the solution is to place a metal spoon in picture and the heat goes to the spoon and doesn't break the glass. That's how my great grand mother taught all of us and I have never had a pitcher break. By the way I am in Mississippi and we have to use at least 2 and half cups of sugar.

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  12. god bles you for your beautiful story which s my story as well growing up in florida , I have been smileing & laughing since reading this , yes mame I came from a very large family and big tea drinkers, granny always used 8 small lipton tea bags ,and 2 cups of suger, well I still use the small bags and 8 of them but have down sized my sugar to I cup <3 thanks for the memories of growing up xoxox Sheila hall

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  13. How many cups of water in your tea pan????

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  14. Perfection!!! Being diabetic, I have to use Splenda, but it's all good :)

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    1. I am also diabetic, I have traded in splenda for stevia. I like the taste better and no side effects.

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  15. I make my tea the old fashion way. With loose leaf Lipton tea. I use my small quart size pot, I fill it almost to the top with water , leaving enough room to add my tea. I bring it to a boil, then turn it down low and let it simmer . I have my picture ready with 2 cups of sugar in it , I have my strainer over my tea picture, then pour my tea in adding water as I go . I stir it good and sip a little to make sure it's sweet enough. I like my tea strong and sweet , not that light looking water you get served at a restaurant, that does not even taste like tea , or look like tea !! I make a gallon every day for my husband and myself. Now that's how you make real southern tea. Tea lover in TENNESSEE !!

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    1. I used to work with a lady that would make fresh tea, with leaves not bags, every day for her and her husband for dinner! BTW, it was in Tennessee as well. I love fresh sweet tea, and my favorite glass, is the very first while it's still a little warm. I don't bother with the ice, because ice melts and dilutes my sweet tea. I absolutely always use 2 cups of sugar for a gallon of tea, but I use twice the amount of tea bags. My husband doesn't like it as sweet or as strong, so he adds a little water to his. Which is fine by me. I love sweet tea, and drink it all day every day. Just after I am done with my 2 cups of morning coffee....lol!

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  16. I make mine almost the same way. However, I only use a cup of sugar (I'm in MD) and I ALWAYS put a dash of baking soda in it. It keeps it from getting cloudy and it seems to last a little longer. Just wanted to offer that tip. :)

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  17. Georgia girl here, stuck in the Midwest now where you either make it yourself or go without. (Fortunately, more fast food places other than McDonald's are now selling sweet tea up here but it's still not all that common.) The way you make yours is how I used to make mine, but with less sugar, and that's how my Memaw taught me but lately I've been putting the sugar in the water, boiling it, and then steeping the tea bags. It seems to bring out the flavor of the tea more and it seems a little sweeter.

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  18. I love my sweet tea but like you stated the sweetness factor varies! I love my tea just barely sweetened! I will use 1/3 to just a scant 1/2 cup per gallon of tea!

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    1. My brother uses the amount of sugar as you, and I tell - him he might as well save his sugar cause you cant taste it anyway.It takes at least two cups of sugar to sweeten a gallon of tea.

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  19. I have found a "cheat" for when you don't have time to let it steep. I pull mine off as soon as it boils and then pour it onto the sugar in the pitcher, making sure to press all the water out of the teabags. I then mix that to melt the sugar. Then I fill the pot back up and mix the water and the teabags around for 10-20 seconds. The water will darken again almost immediately. I'll pour that off into the pitcher. You can repeat the process until your pitcher is full, but one to two times is enough for me. When I have enough "tea" in my pitcher for my tastes, I then fill the remainder of the pitcher with water.

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  20. loved the story..I believe we make our tea the same way,EXCEPT I use the generic tea bags.

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  21. I am from Alabama and make my sweet tea the exact same way as you do and so does all my family, including the Lipton tea bags, to me they make the best sweet tea, Us southerners love our sweet tea for sure lol

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  22. Yep thats the way I make it too. And thanks for the story. I truly enjoyed it, brought back lots of memories. Love ur website.

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  23. Two rules in my house regarding Sweet Tea: #1 -- ONLY Lipton; anything else just doesn't cut it. #2 -- NEVER NEVER NEVER refrigerate! Of course at my house that's not a problem because it's gone long before there would be a need to refrigerate it. Being a Kentucky girl myself, there's nothing finer than a good class of fresh sweet tea poured over ice cubes. Love it!!!

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  24. I am born in Canada and for as far as I remember, my Grandmother used to make sweet tea too, and this is the only way I drink it!!! :-)

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  25. I was raised on tea myself. This is the way I have always made it except I never put anything on the top of the pan but im going to from now on. Thanks for sharing. I was born and raised in Alabama!!

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  26. Thanks for sharing your tea recipe. I make tea just the same as you but I add my sugar and water then stir that and pour my tea bags and all in the jug, We make a gallon every day here and I always have a big glass in my reach lol.. my grandkids beg for it time they are 6 months old :)

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  27. Another Kentuckian chiming in...wow, 1 1/2 to 2 cups sugar for two quarts?! That's not tea, that's syrup! I'm diabetic, so I've had to drastically curtail my sugar intake. I now use 1/3 to 1/2 cup sugar for a gallon. I run my tea bags through two boiling water baths in a glass two-cup measuring cup, letting each steep at least 20 minutes. I also swear by Red Rose brand tea bags, and use 7 regular tea bags per gallon. I like my tea good and strong, too, and love to add mint if I have it. Nothing like good iced tea!

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  28. Love this tea---I store mine in quart jars and it is definitely better stored in glass then in plastic. I don't like lemon, so I leave it off.

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  29. I live in Mississippi and have been drinking sweet tea all of my life. Tea and coffee are the only 2 drinks I drink-no soda, no juice, nothing but sweet tea and coffee. Me and my husband went to Texas a few years ago and all of the restaurants we visited did not have sweet tea! I couldn't believe it! Texas is a Southern state! The only place I could find some was at McDonald's. Thank goodness they were just down the road from the hotel we stayed in. I could not live without my sweet tea! I make my sweet tea like yours, only I use Luzianne. I have thought about switching to Lipton-the only reason I haven't is because my grandmother used Lipton for her tea and my Mom always said her tea was too strong. No one liked my grandmother's tea because it wasn't sweet enough. She never put enough sugar in hers. I never thought of microwaving to steep the tea-I don't like that idea. I will just stick to the old fashioned way. Well, I just finished my second glass of sweet tea-need to get a refill!

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  30. I am sorry but this girl was raised in Alabama
    and my maw taught us to cook the sugar in the
    water with the tea bags ....bring em all to a boil then step it....for a bit....just thought I would share ......

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  31. Loved this! Like you I can't remember when I didn't drink sweet tea. Being from Mobile, Al. it was always on our supper table.I traveled out West in 1971 after HS graduation and when we stopped to eat and ordered Sweet tea the waitress actually had NEVER heard of such.

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    1. My oldest daughter tried to order sweet tea in Burlington, Vermont - her strong Georgia accent didn't much help! The waitress finally brought a tea bag and said to her companion: "Is this what she wants?"

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  32. I have made my tea your way for years, then switched to the microwave. I now have an electric kettle, once it switches off I pour the hot water into a pitcher with 2 family-sized teabags & 1 1/4 cup of sugar. I let it steep for 20-30 minutes, remove the teabags & add cold water or ice-cubes. I like my tea cold over ice.

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  33. WOndering how much water do you start off with in your pan?

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  34. my question also.. what size is the pan please??

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  35. I PUT 8 LIPTON BAGS IN A PAN AND COOK THEN ON THE LOWEST SETTING FOR 1 HOUR. PUT 3 CUPS SUGAR IN GALLON CONTAINER AFTER THE HOUR I TAKE BAGS OUT AND POUR IN PITCHER AND STIR THEN FILL WITH COLD WATER. I MAKE 3 GALLONS A DAY

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    1. Three cups of sugar?? That's tea syrup. I like sweet but not that sweet, only 1 cup for me and I don't cook it for an hour. Bring water, tea bags and sugar up just to the boiling point, then let it sit for about an hour. Warm fresh tea over ice is so good.

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  36. I just fill the pan about 3/4 full, I would say 5 to 6 cups of water. It doesn't have to be exact...just enough for the tea bags to brew in and not boil over.

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  37. I make my tea this way also, the way I grew up with it...and even have my own special little teapot that I boil it in on the stove. The only difference is...I only put one cup of sugar, to a large gallon pitcher, and use 3-4 lg. teabags. I love my tea strong, and very well steeped! lol I also have to have lemon with mine, the only way for me! Thanks for sharing your story with us, it brought back a lot of my own childhood memories. XoXo

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  38. Wow! Love my sweet tea here in Mississippi, but that is just too sweet..I only use 1 cup per gallon.

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    1. That is why I said the sugar is up to your taste. To us, 1 cup for a gallon of tea, would not even be sweet tea. Why even bother...lol?

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  39. That's the way my Momma taught me to make it. I don't like mine that sweet. My Mom liked hers sweet but my mother in law liked it syrupy sweet. Thank goodness my husband didn't inherit that trait.

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  40. Born and raised in South Carolina and I use one and a quarter sugar to my tea in a gallon everyone loves it. I've even converted some non tea drinkers. I never used to steep my tea but I had a boyfriend from Charleston, SC do it and I couldn't imagine not doing it now. I cnat stand lemon in it though. Dont know why just never could get into it. How do you microwave it? Never heard anyone do that

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  41. What size is your pot? I have 1 quart, 2 quart and 3 quart pots and the size will make a big difference in the strength of the tea.

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  42. I don't drink tea but my husband does. He says never boil the teabags but pour boiling water over them and then let it steep. The amount of sugar is according to individual taste.

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  43. I have found a simple way to make tea: I use my coffee maker, pour a carafe full of water into the tank, then I take 3 family sized tea bags, cut off the top , line the basket with a coffee filter and pour the tea in loosely! I put 1/2 cup sugar into the pot and turn it one like i'm making coffee! After the pot is about 1/2 full, I I pull the pot out and stir the sugar so it dissolves! When done, I put ice into my pitcher and pour in the tea! then I fill the pitcher with water! :)

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    1. I love to make sun tea here in Texas we have lots of sun and it gets 104 F. out here at times so heat is no problem for us here then just throw in a few bags of tea just like you would make it on your stove or coffee pot or what ever you use to about a gallon of water set it out in the sun and let nature do the cooking for you then take some hot water to melt your sugar I use 2 1/2 cups to a gallon. Oh some are asking what size of pot to use a 2 quart size will do just fine then fill up the rest with cool water after you melt your sugar but this is the one I use when I fix it on the stove but try the sun tea you don't have to heat up any thing in the house now about how long does it take to make sun tea just depends on how much sun you have but I have made it when it was cloudy here too and it come out fine use a glass jag when you make sun tea God Bless every one and Y'all have fun drinking Y'alls tea hear.

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  44. Kathy, thanks for the sweet tea recipe and great childhood story to go with it! As many have also said before me, your story brought back great memories of my own childhood ~ back in the 50's & 60's when we were blessed to be able to play outside all over the neighborhood and never worry about our safety! One big difference for me though is that I grew up in Minnesota and there we had the milk with our meals! I didn't have the pleasure of drinking sweet tea until I moved to the west coast as a young adult and had the good fortune to make friends with folks who were raised in the south! Love your Sweet Tea and Cornbread site!! God bless you! Kathleen

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  45. Here in Oklahoma, I make my tea a lot like you. And I use Lipton tea. I don't let mine steep that long, but the rest is the same. Love your site.

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  46. California girl here and I love Sweet tea! I make it because my husband is from the south. We use 8 Lipton tea bags (individual size), bring water to a simmer and pour that into our pitcher with 2 cups of Sugar. Then we fill the pot again bring to simmer and pour that into the pitcher. Then I top off the pitcher. I never use tap water. Tastes delicious!

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  47. We love our sweet tea in Texas too! Use same recipe as yours. Especially love drinking it in the summer months. Even got the young grandkids begging for our tea.

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  48. I'm from Tennessee & cannot imagine not having sweet tea ever!
    I have a glass with me from morning to nite,love my sweet tea!!!!!!

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  49. I loved this story:) My Granny was from Kentucky, she always made her tea, boiled, with tea bags. They didn't make large tea bags when I was little. She always bought Jewell Tea, put lots of sugar while it was warm, oh I can just smell & taste it now:) Sweet memories:) Now, I have been buying Capt. D's sweet tea. Not like Granny's but it's good. I've been wanting to get back to making my own though, I miss it. I've always used Lipton bags. Thanks for sharing! :)

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  50. Their is nothing better than sweet tea and nothing worse than going north (sorry) and finding that there idea of sweet tea is canned...

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  51. This post just made me smile. Your story is similar to mine when my family uprooted us from Georgia to a move to North Dakota. No one served sweet tea - EVER! My whole family thought we were going to wither away. My love of sweet tea has even carried over into my professional life as I named my ministry Sweet Grace (as a blend to how my Southern roots and Jesus) were what saved me. Thanks for the memories!

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  52. i do 2 things different i put my sugarin the water and dissolve it when water is hot and i put my tea bags in after i get the water boiling and then turnit off and let it sit

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  53. I remember summers were always given for sweet tea here. I still had to drink milk with my meals, but all day long I was allowed to have as much sweet tea as I wanted. Though as I got older I was allowed to have sweet tea instead of milk with my meals. Eventually I begged my mom to make it during winter, and still to this day I make a gallon of sweet tea daily, I'm the only one that will eat it. Though as my daughter gets older and ready for it, I shall be sharing it with her.

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  54. I brew Red Diamond tea bags:
    Tea steamer/like coffee pot only add water place tea bags in fill pitcher 1/2 ice brews in 5 minutes.
    Splenda/or Apriva 1/2 cup works keeps my diabetes in check..

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  55. Love!! We Sometimes Make Sweet Sun Tea By Putting It In A Glass Jar And Let The Sun Make It! Especially When We Lost lights Durning Hurricane Season... But We Make The Same Way :)

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    1. That's how I make it ... to me that's the best way.

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  56. We had sweet ice tea in warm weather and hot sweet tea in cold weather. When I was grown I began to have iced tea year round and hot tea when I was sick.

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  57. We use some lemon balm leaves in the water while it steeps. Gives it a very light lemon flavor. Much better than a whole slice of lemon!

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  58. My mother has done it your way for years. We love our tea super sweet. As my mother has gotten older, she actually utilizes the coffee pot to make her tea.

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  59. I always had sweet tea with lunch as a kid. I grew up in Tennessee and my babysitter "Nanny" made hers with 8 regular tea bags and 1C sugar. She'd put the tea bags and water in a 1 gallon glass jug out on the back porch in the morning and the sun would have it steeped by lunch. I've never had tea like hers anywhere. I don't know if it was the fact that she had well water or what, but it seems I've never been able to replicate it. I moved to Wisconsin when I was a teen and you just don't find sweet tea here. If you ask for it they bring unsweetened 'tea' from a soda dispenser and throw some sugar or sweet n low packets on the table for ya. Travesty!

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  60. I remember my grandmother making tea for Sunday dinner she had a green tea pot that she made the tea in.It was always so good.I was raised on a farm and we always had milk for supper.So sweet tea was a treat on Sundays.

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  61. If you will drop in just a pinch of baking soda as soon as you take it off the stove the tea will instantly become twice as strong, and much darker. I can not explain how this works but it does. You can actually use half the number of tea bags you would normally use if you do this. Just a pinch now, just what you can hold between two fingers.

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  62. I use three family sized bags of Lipton and 1 1/2 cups of sugar for a gallon of tea, I guess Momma made it strong and that's how I make it too, and you've got to have lemon. When people come to my house, they always ask for some of my tea. We keep a jug in the frig year round, no hot tea for me, I'm 13 generations from my British ancestors and raised in N.W. LA and N.E. Texas.

    American by birth, Southerner by the grace of God.

    BubbaBrown

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  63. I was born and raised in Georgia...but live in Maine now..I always get my sweet tea from McDonald's..addicted to it..I do make my own just like your receipe..sweet tea can solve all problems..

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  64. Can I just say...Oh my GOODness!!! I have made tea on the stove top for years. I saw your recipe and thought that surely it wouldn't be that much better than my good tea. Boy was I wrong. My family and I have declared we will ONLY make tea this way from now on!!! Thank you for sharing!

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  65. Add a tiny pinch of baking soda before it boils will cut the steeping time down.

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  66. God, family, sweet tea and cornbread! Life is good.

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  67. I was born and raised in Southern California, so real sweet tea just wasn't on the radar...though, like my dad and grandma, I always loved my tea very sweet...but sugar packets in cold tea is just not the same....so I moved to Tennessee with my Hubby and son about 7yrs ago and now can't imagine not having sweet tea ready at all times...I feel like a horrible host if there isn't some...plus I get grumpy if there isn't! ;) I use 3in family size(decaf because it keeps me up at night otherwise) and 3 reg size .. I pour boiling water over my tea bags and my pinch of baking soda(it gets rid of that sharp after taste) and let it steep for about 15min...then add about 2 cups of sugar..well, just under...somehow I feel like it's not too much if I don't fill that second cup up fully! :/ Aahahaha but maybe I will use less tea but steep longer ... thanks! :)

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  68. I love sweet tea over anything else! I normally only use 3/4 cup of sugar only because my husband wants to cut some sugar! I may have to sneak a pitcher just for "mommy" only with a tad bit more sugar!!! You can never have to much sugar right!?!?!?!?!?!
    May God continue to bless you and your family along with this blog!

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  69. I'm from Southeast MO, my momma makes it this way, but I learned a shortcut. I have a 10 cup coffee pot (I dont drink coffee) & fill it up, put 4 Luzianne family size bags in the decanter & let the water run through the coffee maker. I then turn it off & let it set for about 30 minutes. Then put 1 cup sugar & 1/2 cup splenda in the bottome of the pitcher & pour the hot tea in & stir til dissolved. Then I add ice which melts & cools it down & once its cool, I finish filling it up with cold water. I like the Lipton ok, but since its just me, it can take a few days to finish off a pitcher & the Lipton has a funny taste to me after the 1st day.

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  70. If you over steep your tea and it is cloudy add a pinch of baking soda and it will clear up.

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  71. I'm from Texas and my 2 boys were raised on sweet tea with our meals. However, as they grew up they transitioned to unsweet tea. My comments to that are "why bother, it's just colored water then" but that's not my story here. One Thanksgiving everyone was gathered at my house and my oldest son asked his younger brother if he wanted him to bring him a piece of pie. The younger brother replied, "No, I'm just going to have another glass of mom's tea for dessert!" Sure made me grin!

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  72. I'm a southern girl and we keep a pitcher of sweet tea at all times. The only difference is I boil my water then take it off the heat and add my tea bags and sugar then. That's the way my momma taught me. :-)

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  73. I love sweet tea- I'm from TN so I was raised on it as well. Hot tea in the winter - cold tea in the summer. I make mine a bit different however- I use 12 bags of Yorkshire Gold tea.... I like a richer flavor tea than what you can get in the US - I pour a gallon of hot water into a gallon glass jar with the tea bags
    - and let the tea steep for about 15 to 20 minutes - until that rich golden brown color. I take out the tea bags and stir in 2 cups of sugar - never put the tea in the fridge- I let it cool to room temperature - add ice and sit in the swing and sip.

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  74. I'm from Florida and have been drinking sweet tea all my life as well. I use Lipton and a small pot that's about 2" deep. Bring to a boil and turn off. I let mine steep for about 15 minutes. I use 1 1/2 cups of sugar and 3 family size tea bags. I have noticed over the years that everybody makes their sweet tea just a little different. Thank you for all the posts!

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  75. I was taught by my dear Texan Grandmother to boil my sugar in a "tea pan". Once the sugar water comes to a boil and is now a simple syrup, add the tea bags and cover to steep. By making the simple syrup first, the tea has a longer shelf life and will not ferment and turn "skunky" She lived alone so she wasn't able to knock out a batch as perhaps a family of four, so this allowed her tea to last longer for her to work her way through it.

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  76. ya'll are going to hate me but I'm from Texas and I always made my tea like you until my husband found out he was diabetic. Well we both learned how to drink it without sugar. Now I don't want it any other way.....to each of us our own way!

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