Every good GRITS girl (girls raised in the South), ought to know how to make a gooooooood pitcher of sweet tea! I don't often claim my southern roots, but when it comes to my cooking, it is hard to deny them. The story handed down through the generations is that my great-grandmother made her iced tea so sweet that the wooden spoon would stand up in the pitcher!
Did you know that sweet tea is a supersaturated substance?
You won't ever see the awful instant tea served in my home. ;) A sweet tea afficionado like myself knows which restaurants serve instant (don't even bother ordering it) and which serve fresh brewed! I like to bring a gallon jug of sweet tea to potlucks because 1) it's a frugal addition to the drink table 2) no one around here makes it just right.
There are probably thousands of ways to make sweet tea. I know girls who make it in a coffee pot, or who make a concentrate, but this is the way I like it, and this is the way my mama taught me to do it, so that means it's the right way: :)
- Only Lipton black tea will do (cheap brands leave more dregs in your tea - yuck!)
- The correct sugar/water ratio is 1 c. per gallon
- The correct tea bag ratio is 6 per gallon
- 20 minutes is the proper steeping time
- I get out my big stock pot and pour in about 1 gallon of fresh cold water. Filtered is best.
- Boil the water on the stove. Putting a lid on the pot will help it boil faster and will save energy.
- Once boiling, turn off the heat and if you have an electric stove, move the pot to a cold burner. Steep your 6 tea bags for 20 minutes.
- Remove the tea bags with tongs and gently squeeze out the tea. (Compost your tea bags!)
- Measure 1 c. of sugar and pour into the tea. (Now I admit, I use less for daily drinking. I always use 1 c. for company though!) Gently stir with your tongs until the sugar is fully dissolved.
- Allow the tea to cool, then pour into your pitcher for refrigeration.
- Sip over ice and enjoy!
I really am very interested in the methods other people use for making sweet tea. I'd love to hear your tips, techniques and methods. Even though this is the "right way", I'm still open to new ways of doing things, so please share!