Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Guiltless Southern Sweet Tea

I love being Southern. I love the culture, the food, the polite manners, the art of gossiping, saying "Bless her heart," and sweet tea. Boy howdy, but I sure do love some sweet tea. My husband, the southern gentleman, also loves sweet tea. After we moved to Florida as newlyweds, he asked if I could make sweet tea.

"Sir, I am offended, " says I in a deep Georgia drawl. "Every woman worth her salt knows how to make sweet tea."

Somehow, my husband seemed suspicious. I reckon (Lawsie mercy, but the dialect is coming on strong today!) he had come across some southern ladies who considered themselves true southern women but failed at the task of making true, homemade, southern sweet tea.

Now, to anyone born above the Mason-Dixon line, you may not appreciate the full scope and breadth of what sweet tea means to us Southerners. Sweet tea embodies the south. It is gentle and sweet, but can be strong and vibrant. It can be made several ways but it always has one thing in common - summertime, childhood memories, front porches, lemons, and the tie to your southern roots.

Okay, enough of my ramblings. Here's my Husband-Approved Guiltless Southern Sweet Tea.

You'll need:
Tea pot (for boiling water)
Tea pot (for steeping the tea)
5 Lipton DeCaf tea bags
8 packets Stevia sweetener

First, boil a pot full of water.
In the meantime, open your tea bags and hook together using a clothes pin (or any other handy device). The point is to not lose the tea bags in the pot while the tea is steeping.

Once, the water has reached a boil, pour the water into the "steeping" tea pot. Have the tea bags already in the pot.

Cover and steep for 10 minutes. If you like a really strong flavor of tea, steep an extra 2-5 minutes.

After 10 minutes, remove the tea bags and squeeze out any excess liquid.
Next, pour the hot tea into the pitcher. REMEMBER to have cool or room temperature water in the pitcher if it is glass. Hot tea poured directly into glass could shatter the glass.

Add in your 8 packets of Stevia. Stevia is an all-natural, zero calorie sweetener made from the juice of the stevia plant. Many brands now market stevia, so use whatever you have in your local store. You can find it in powder or liquid form, but I find it is more precise to use powder when making sweet tea. If you like super sickly sweet tea, add 1-2 more packets. Trust me, 8 is husband-approved.

Give it a good stir to make sure all the Stevia dissolved.

If the color is too dark for your personal taste, don't be afraid to add more water. Just make sure to give it another good stir. Chill in the refrigerator and enjoy!

I'm enjoying a glass right now. Ah, it is a blessed thing to be Southern.

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