My grandmother made the best sweet tea I’ve ever had. My husband thinks that his grandmother does. He is entitled to his own opinion, however wrong it may be.
After my grandmother passed away, I tried making sweet tea in her pitcher – I had tried other pitchers, going through the motions I watched her do a thousand times, same water, same tea, same sugar – still didn’t taste the same. So, it must be the pitcher. It wasn’t. I kept the pitcher, though, after my father passed away. My grandma’s tea pitcher sits right next to my sink in our kitchen, reminding me of how my tea never tastes quite as good.
What is it about a tall glass of sweet iced tea that makes life just a little bit better? I love coffee, I do. In fact, I may have a bit of an addiction there, but we won’t talk about that now. And, I drink more diet Dr. Peppers than I should, but I do love a tall glass of sweet iced tea. And, during the summer, forget it – nothing is better.
There are two ways to make good tea – what I mean is NOT instant, just so we are clear – boiling water on the stovetop and making sun tea.
Here’s a quick recipe for making tea on the stove:
3 Family size tea bags – Luzianne always, unless you just don’t have another choice. In that case, better start buying your groceries somewhere else! 2 Cups of cold water 1 Cup of sugar
Pour 2 cups water in a pot. Add the tea bags. Bring to a boil. VERY IMPORTANT – once the water starts boiling, remove from heat and let steep. Pour warm tea into empty pitcher (use your grandma’s if you can ) . Add 1 cup sugar and stir until sugar is dissolved. Fill remaining pitcher with cold water and ice.
Every day throughout the South you’ll find people using this method for making sweet iced tea.
The other method, and the one that I prefer now that I’ve come to terms with not being able to make it the traditional way as well as my grandma, is Sun Tea.
Here’s the scoop –
3 Family sized tea bags – again, Luzianne 1 quart water Glass or translucent pitcher – use one with a lid
Put the water and tea bags in the pitcher; put on the lid. Put in the Sun and let sit. 30 minutes to an hour later, your tea is ready. Add cold water and sugar to desired strength. Refrigerate.
I have hauled my glass jar all over these United States making sun tea. I’ve made it every where I’ve lived – in the northwest, in the south, in the northeast. I’ve made it on balconies, on wide window sills, on front stoops, on back porches, in gazebos.
It has always been a connection to home for me. I watched my mom make tea this way throughout my childhood (I guess she figured out early on that she didn’t have the magic touch as my dad’s mom too!) And, when I was far from home, in situations that no good Southern girl should be in, I could make Sun tea and drink it and find some comfort that not all was lost, that I was still connected to home, to what mattered.
Now, what’s the best thing to eat while you drink your glass of sweet iced tea…