Ladybug, you live in the South. Summer’s here. Things are warming up. It’s going to be hot. And you know that nothing quenches your thirst better than a tall, sparkling cup of iced tea. Not even ice cold water.
According to www.nationalicedteaday.com, next to water, tea is the most consumed beverage in the world, and approximately 85% of the tea consumed in America is iced. That’s a lot of tea. Mmmm.
Iced tea is a sacred staple in the South, and it’s not hard to make well–as long as you know the secret to tea success. And National Iced Tea Day is a perfect day to learn!
So, have you heard what the super secret ingredient is? It’s baking soda. Yep. That’s it. Apparently, a little bit of baking soda reduces any bitterness, keeps the tea clear, and helps it last longer in the fridge. I’m going to share a simple, 5-star recipe from Food.com, but first…
About the Sugar
Writer Jeffery Klineman uncovered a crazy fact about real-deal Southern Sweet Tea: “…22 percent of the liquid consists of dissolved sugar solids, or, to put it in more meaningful terms: close to twice what you’d find in a can of Coke.” I personally can’t handle that kind of sweet even though I grew up in Virginia.
I’m aware that there are those of us that swear that if the tea isn’t curl-your-hair sweet, it’s not true Southern Sweet Tea. I get that. But what’s a girl to do if her sweet tooth isn’t up for the massive sugar load?
Cut the sugar as needed, y’all, and feel no shame. Some people add as little as ⅓ cup. And if you’re watching your middle or are diabetic, use Splenda instead. I’ve heard it’s just as delicious. Or make it an Arnold Palmer: half the sugar and add 1/3 cup frozen lemonade concentrate.
Experiment with a few batches to see what you and your family like best.
Southern Sweet Iced Tea Recipe
6 regular tea bags
1⁄8 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups boiling water
1 1⁄2-2 cups sugar
6 cups cold water
In a large glass measuring cup (I use my French press), place the tea bags and add the baking soda.
Pour the boiling water over the tea bags.
Cover and steep for 15 minutes.
Take out the tea bags and do not squeeze them.
Pour the tea mixture into a 2-quart pitcher; add the sugar.
Stir until the sugar is dissolved.
Add in the cold water.
Let cool; chill in the refrigerator and serve over ice.
Grab your favorite tea bags, and give it a try! Enjoy! And have a summer that’s as sweet, cool, and refreshing as your tea!