Apr 27, 2008

Sweet Tea...A Southern Girls Delight!

This week the Gracious Hospitality Blog-a-Thon topic is "The White, Green, Black, and Herb of Tea". At first I didn't think I had anything, but then I thought, "aren't I the self-proclaimed recipe queen?" Well, of course I had to remember something or risk losing my crown! I have searched my recipe base and I have found a few interesting teas to offer. I must admit to you, I am a simple girl when it comes to tea. I really prefer a simple, plain brewed cup or glass. But once in a while I do enjoy a "recipe", where fruit or spice is added - especially for iced teas in the summer. I hope you will enjoy my tea suggestions, though I am quite sure most of you will be more inventive. I can't wait to dig in and read all of them. If you haven't been looking into the many blogs with posts about these tea topics, you are missing out. Make sure to visit all the wonderful blogs with posts involved in the blog-a-thon by going to gracioushospitality.blogspot.com. It's lots of fun to see the variety posted each week.

First on my list is, of course, Sweet Tea, a true southern girls delight! I know hot teas rank at most ladies tea parties, but in my book, nothing can top a tall, icy cold glass of Sweet Tea with a healthy wedge of lemon! My mother taught me to make the best sweet tea in the world. Now, I can't make it at home very often because I would suffer some serious humiliation at the scales...I can't have just one glass! But when I go to Mom's to visit, Katie bar the door...I'm partaking! Mom really doesn't have recipes - she just throws in a handful of this and a pinch of that until it "looks right". But in this case she provided her Sweet Tea recipe, written by her own hand:

Taking a rest on my front porch on a glorious Spring afternoon, with an icy glass of freshly brewed Sweet Tea - could it get better than that??? God is good in every little way!

Mama’s Southern Iced Tea
Put a clean saucepan of water on the stove, let it come to a hard boil. Drop in about 10 Lousianne tea bags. Just tear off those little old paper tags on the ends of the strings and throw them away...they are of no use when you are making iced tea...drop in the whole thing. Turn the stove off and put the pan on the back of the stove for an hour or two or ‘til it’s cool. Squeeze out the bags and throw them away. Pour the tea into your gallon size Tupperware pitcher and add 1 cup of sugar or sweeten to your liking. Stir it up real good. Pour in a tall glass filled with ice and serve with a wedge of lemon...nothin’ like it!

Note from Kathy:
My favorite tea to use for iced or hot is Tetley or Lousianne, but I do love orange-spice for hot

Whether you enjoy hot tea or iced tea, flavored syrups and ice cubes can make your dainty English tea cups or tall frosty iced tea glasses extra special. Here are two recipes I have used for years when entertaining to flavor any kind of tea:

Fruited Ice Cubes
2 cups ripe fruit, peeled and pitted
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Puree fruit (peaches, raspberries, strawberries, etc.) in a blender with sugar and lemon juice to the consistency you prefer. Pour the mixture into ice cube trays and freeze. Serve in tall iced tea glasses with freshly brewed tea and a wedge of lemon, a few whole berries, a sprig of fresh mint, or a slice of fruit.

Flavored Tea Syrups
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
the zest and juice of 2 lemons, limes, and or oranges
1 cup crushed raspberries and/or 1 cup crushed strawberries
1 cup sugar
1 ½ cups water

Place mint leaves and/or fruit juice and zest in a saucepan with sugar and water. Bring to a boil, dissolving the sugar. Remove from heat and cool. Strain and store the syrup in a pretty jar. Add a couple of tablespoons to each cup or glass of tea. Refrigerator and use for about a week.

The following recipe is interesting because it's punch, but it does contain tea. It's yummy!

Party Slush
4 tea bags
2 cups boiling water
7 cups cold water
2 cups sugar
12 ounce can frozen orange juice concentrate
12 ounce frozen limeade concentrate
1 pint whiskey, optional
2, 2 liter bottles chilled lemon lime soda

Place 4 tea bags in 2 cups boiling water; allow to steep 10-15 minutes. Mix together 7 cups water and 2 cups sugar, bring to boil until sugar is dissolved. Add one 12 ounce can frozen orange juice concentrate and one 12 ounce frozen limeade. Add steeped tea. Cool.
(At this point the original recipe invites you to add a little less than 1 pint of whiskey if desired. My husband and are tetotlers so I don't add the alcohol. I also happen to think it tastes better without, but each to his/her own - I judge no one. I just get my high from God, sugar, and babies!). Freeze the entire mixture - washed plastic milk gallons work well. When serving, allow punch to partially thaw at room temperature for 25 or 30 minutes, then spoon into glasses or punch bowl. Pour equal amounts of 7 Up over the frozen mixture.

If spiced tea is your favorite, my niece provided this recipe. It's wonderful on a cold winter night:

Everybody’s Favorite Spice Tea Mix
2 cups Tang powder
1 ¼ cups sugar
¾ cup instant unsweetened tea
½ cup lemonade mix
1 to 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ to 1 teaspoon ground cloves
½ to 1 teaspoon ground allspice

Mix all ingredients (adjust the amount of spice to your preference) and store in covered container. To prepare a serving of tea mix 2 - 3 teaspoons tea mix with 1 cup hot water.

Autumn Fruited Tea
4 quarts water
1/2 cup sugar
12 tea bags
one 12 oz can each of frozen cranberry juice concentrate and orange juice concentrate

Boil water, add tea bags, turn off heat. Let the tea steep for 15 minutes. Remove tea bags and stir in sugar until it is dissolved. Add cranberry and orange juice concentrates. Stir and serve steaming hot or chilled.

One of my favorites:

Pink Lemonade Tea

Toss 8 teabags into 1 quart of boiling water. Cover and steep for 15 minutes. Stir in one 12 ounce can pink lemonade concentrate and one quart cold water. Serve steaming hot or iced cold with a wedge of lemon.

Aunt Betty Sue's Tea Parties:
When I was a little girl in the '50's my Aunt Betty Sue, a true southern lady, loved to take my sister and I to afternoon tea. Aunt Betty was quite daring - an actress and singer (who eventually ended up in NYC). I thought she was just about the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen, in her high heels and elegant clothes. Betty Sue never had children of her own so our tea outings were a treat for all of us. We wore our Sunday dresses and white gloves and off we went in Betty Sue's white convertible Cadillac. With experience in finding the nicest tea rooms in town, Auntie drove my Sissy and I to town where she taught us proper ladies tea etiquette. We lunched on tiny sandwiches of cucumber and trimmed breads, little tea cakes with candied violets on top, and dainty cups filled with delicious hot tea. What made the tea unique to Aunt Betty Sue, is that she always ordered a pitcher of freshly squeezed orange juice along with the tea and cream. A waitress in white uniform, a frilly apron, and a little ruffled hat delivered a large silver tray to the linen covered table, laden with a shining silver tea pot and little silver containers holding cream, sugar cubes, and the juice. Betty Sue dropped a sugar cube in each cup with silver tongs, then she poured for each of us from the lovely silver pot, and added a spot each of orange juice and and cream into our fancy little cups. Aunt Betty Sue is gone now but her memory lives on in a tea room in Maryville Tennessee and today, in my own cup of tea and orange juice!

30 Days 30 Photos - Days 26 and 27


Ms Dragonfly said...

what great ideas! yum :)

Needled Mom said...

Those all sound wonderful. Very refreshing for summer days ahead.

Karla said...

Aww... how could I forget Sweet Tea on my post? I guess I was just in the mode of thinking of hot teas. Here in the Northwest I enjoy hot beverages much of the year... but in the heat of the summer nothing is as refreshing as a cold glass of good southern "sweet tea"! Yours sounds just about perfect... I like it medium-sweet, not syrupy, so 1 cup sugar to a gallon is about right... but hold the lemon on mine. I will have a few mint leaves, though! Thank you kindly!

A Hint of Home said...

I see why you did a recipe book. Girl, if I need any I'll call on you. Great post. Hope you had a good weekend.

Lorie M. said...

Lovely tulips!

Marye said...

I totally agree on the sweet tea but with one exception..you HAVE to put the sugar in as the water is being brought to the boil!

ivoryspring said...

What wonderful summery tea recipes - thanks for sharing!

La Tea Dah said...

Kathy, what a great post! I love all your tea recipes, memories, and ideas. Your mother's sweet tea sounds delicious!

I came here via the link for Mr. Linky from LAST week. I don't think yours from this week is working. You might want to check it (it could simply be MY computer!). If it doesn't link you up to Gracious Hospitality, just send in another link and I will delete the former one after you re-link.


Charli and me said...

What a great post! I am going to be trying your recipes for sure. I absolutely loved the story about your aunt.

Cori G. said...

Hi KathyMimi,
All of your tea recipes look so delicious. I especially love the idea of pureed fruit for ice cubes. I usually just put raspberries in my cubes and add water. Your idea sounds so much better. The photo of your tree hugging grand daughter is just too precious! She has the face of an angel.
Have a wonderfully blessed day.

Linda said...

Your Mama's Southern Iced Tea recipe is almost exactly like one I read in the Lexington, KY newspaper last year. My "tea purist" friends could not believe anyone would leave teabags in to steep for so long. If your southern mama makes it that way then it must be good! :-)

Bonita said...

Oh my goodness, what awesome recipes! I especially like the idea for fruited ice cubes. Thanks so much for sharing!

Kathy at Shocking Pink Thread said...

The sweet tea sounds divine! We are close to having weather worthy of such a summer beverage. I will give it a try. You have such wonderful recipes. Thanks for all of them! ~Kathy

Yellow Rose Arbor said...

I'm a Southern girl who also loves Sweet Iced Tea!! I also like lemon, and a sprig of mint is nice sometimes!

I like the Tang spiced tea during winter!

I enjoyed the Aunt Betty Sue story! I would think the orange juice would have curdled the cream in the tea! Sounds almost like a Creamsickle tea!


Simply Authentic said...

Wow I love all of the recipes! So thoughtful of you! I have heard a lot about Southern sweet tea and it sounds absolutely delicious! Your memories from tea time with your aunt sound wonderful-Thank you for sharing all!

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

My recipe book is woefully inadequate for beverage recipes...thanks to you, I have some wonderful ones to try and I will. I didn't know that sweet tea was made this way...on the stove...so I will be giving that a try one day soon as well.

ivoryspring said...

Hi Kathy,

It's great to hear from you! :) Thanks for leaving the comment on my blog. I love you bleeding heart picture too! :)

Mary Beth said...

I am a tea girl all the way! I have tried and tried to like coffee... but to no avail!

Thanks for all of these wonderful TEA IDEAS!

I am a Tazo Awake tea for my morning eye opener. No lipton for me... it tastes like fish. IS that crazy or what... must be my tastebuds!

Steph said...

What a sweet (literally and figuratively) gift to have your mother's sweet tea recipe!

Grace Yaskovic said...

hmmmmm it all seems so delicious!