Monday, August 13, 2012

Pitcher Perfect Sweet Tea

Simple syrup sweetened iced tea - refreshing!

Pitcher Perfect Sweet Tea

Summers in the South mean high tea consumption and during this ever present heat wave these past few months, I've been going through ice as fast as kudzu growing on a hillside.

Since I don't have one of those fancy, schmancy Samsung 32 cubic foot refrigerators that I covet makes 10 pounds of ice in one day, I actually had to back up my ice maker with old fashioned ice trays. Ice trays? Remember those? Hey... I'm not above using ice trays at all y'all, but it is taking up valuable Popsicle space, so I needed a better solution!


Actually it's not that big of a step back for me to use ice trays, since I've really only had a refrigerator with an ice maker for a few years - and believe me when I say, it's the budget side of fridges. I don't like debt and I like to use things up and wear things out... what can I say.

Now first, it's not all that unusual to sweeten iced tea with simple syrup. While most folks use granulated sugar, or a sugar substitute these days, simple syrup has also been used by some folks for years. I had experimented with this for the watermelon tea I shared recently and decided to give it a try for my regular, everyday sweet tea. After multiple batches, I was sold. I gave up on artificial sweeteners a couple years ago, and agave and stevia just don't taste sweet to me, so I've gone back to cane sugar these days, and a simple syrup makes sense for me.

Instead of pouring the hot concentrate over ice and sugar, the tea bags are steeped directly in a very basic, boiled simple syrup, that is then left to cool a bit before being transferred to a pitcher, making it a perfect pitcher tea. Since the tea is poured over iced filled glasses, it seems to use less ice and the flavor and strength turned out spot on. If you're new to making southern iced tea, pop over to my original post for a few helpful tips.

And of course, y'all know how I feel about the tea itself.


Although I have used my tea concentrate for years, I have fallen in love with this method too. Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks?

Here's how to make it.

Recipe: Pitcher Perfect Sweet Tea

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min |Inactive time: 20 min | Yield: 1/2 gallon (8 servings)


Ingredients
  • 2 quarts of water
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup of granulated sugar, or to taste
  • 5 or 6 individual Luzianne tea bags
Instructions

Combine water and sugar in a large saucepan, whisk together and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, add the tea bags, cover and steep for 15 minutes. Remove tea bags, let cool slightly, then pour into a half gallon pitcher. Do not add additional water or ice. Pour over ice filled glasses to serve.

Cook's Notes: Double for a gallon. You can also prepare the simple syrup in the microwave if you have a large enough lidded microwave safe container. Six teabags makes a more robust flavor; two family sized tea bags may be substituted.

Cane Sugar Sweet Iced Tea: Substitute turbinado 100% pure, raw cane sugar (like Sugar in the Raw brand) for the granulated sugar. It's my favorite sugar to use.

Source: http://deepsouthdish.com

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Check These Recipes Out Too!

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Posted by on August 13, 2012
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25 comments:

  1. My husband grew up drinking sweet tea, but I didn't. I never got used to it. We drink gallons of tea during the summer, but we drink it all year. I love my Mr. Ice Tea maker, it really gets a workout. I love my ice maker too!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I bet it does get a workout - especially this summer, whew!

      Delete
  2. Thank You for ALL of your recipes!

    Susan

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome Susan - thanks for your sweet comment. I've got some summer posts like this one to catch up on with posting, before summer is gone!

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  3. It's been a while since I had sweet tea. That strawberry tea also seemed interesting. Have you tried these with a green or black tea by chance?

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    Replies
    1. I love the flavored iced teas sometimes John! Just something a little different on occasion.

      For iced tea, I use Luzianne tea bags pretty exclusively really, unless the store is out & then I'll use Lipton, which is also a good black tea. Luzianne just makes a really flavorful iced tea!!

      I do drink green tea but most often hot, not iced, though I've blended black and green for iced tea before. I LOVE the Tazo green tea called Zen - it's a blend that includes lemon verbena and spearmint. Very tasty. I think Tazo is owned by Starbucks these days but you can find them in most grocery stores. I know that Walmart carries them for sure.

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  4. I love, love, love sweet tea! I don't care that the summer is almost over, I will drink this every day! Your recipe sounds great! and the pictures look absolutely delicious!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks so much Kimberly! We drink iced tea all year long too, but man have I been going through it this summer. Much better for you than soft drinks though, right? :)

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  5. Thank You! I have never liked sweet tea ... Never! You have converted me; I just made it and placed it in the fridge to finish cooling for dinner; not of course without having a sip. Delicious!

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  6. An old trick by Mississippians is to put a pinch of baking soda in the teapot. Brings out the flavor and the color much more.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for stopping by and leaving your tip! I don't think that is limited to us Mississippians, but I did suggest a pinch of baking soda on my how to make southern iced tea post for those who are trying to make a southern iced tea for the first time. I use Luzianne tea bags & I really don't find the baking soda is needed - both the flavor and color are great! This simple syrup version is outstanding & has become my favorite way to make sweet iced tea. Thanks again for stopping by!!

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  7. I know this is an older post, but I just wanted to say that this exact method is the one my Mamaw taught me decades ago when I was little. She used a particular tiny heavy pan for boiling the syrup in that never got used for anything else lest it spoil the flavor.

    One difference: She put a tiny pinch of salt in the syrup, though, not soda. To make the sugar sweeter.

    This is still the only way I will drink sweet tea, can't stand it at most restaurants. If it has sugar stirred into it, I'd prefer it plain.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks - that salt actually makes a lot of sense!

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  8. My husband likes unsweetened tea (bless his heart, he's a northerner by birth!) but I've never been a tea maker. I'm wanting to make sweet tea with this recipe for me, but do you have an unsweetened tea recipe to recommend? I didn't know if it was as simple as leaving out the sugar from this recipe to get a good result. Thanks! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Katie! You can't really do it with this method since it's based on making a simple syrup, but I use the concentrate method when I want to make it unsweetened. You can find that version
      right here. Just omit the sugar!

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  9. Thanks for the recipes!! Delish!!

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  10. Thanks for the recipes!! Delish!!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thanks to you, I've had my first great glass of tea since my Mississippi born mom passed away in 2001!
    Your recipes bring back memories of many family reunions in Mississippi. I've got to get up and get some work done, but can't seem to get away from your awesome website.
    Thanks so much!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yay Mimi!!! Thank you so much for letting me know that you're enjoying the website - that means the world to me!!

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  12. O.k. I have a question.In this recipe for pitcher perfect ice tea you say cover and steep tea 15 minutes.But in your recipe for Southern sweet tea you said you go about 5 minutes and never go past 9 minutes when steeping tea or it well get bitter.So would letting it sit for 15 minutes be way to long.Want to make recipes for you sweet tea and flavored teas so what do you recommend .Should I only steep 5 minutes like the southern tea and not the pitcher tea.Please help.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Dani! It's just two different methods & I find that with the sugar water, it needs to steep longer than the plain boiling water method using it as a concentrate, which is a shorter steeping time. Both recipes result in very good tea, so you can't go wrong with either one - just don't mix the methods!

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    2. thanks for the quick reply.Can't wait to try recipes out.

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    3. You're welcome! The upside of this one made with simple syrup is that you do the ice by the glass versus the concentrate that you pour over ice and uses a lot more ice. When it's the heat of the summer and I make sweet tea every day, the simple syrup version is just more sensible, especially since my ice maker is out right now and I'm back to trays, yet again!

      Delete

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