Thursday, August 23, 2007

Mint Iced Tea

It's still unbearable hot! I hate to see summer slip away, but I must admit I'm looking forward to temperatures below 95. When I was about 8 years old my family moved from outside Philadelphia to lower Alabama. To call it a culture shock would be an understatement! I had to learn a whole new language( southern English) as well as eat food that was totally foreign(okra, black-eyed peas, grits) to me. Although now a staple of everyday life, at the time I'd never even heard of iced tea before(sweet tea as it's called here). Every time we were invited into someones home they would offer us tea. A dark brown liquid so sweet that it has an almost syrup like quality. During our first summer in Alabama my mother finally asked a neighbor,an older Southern lady, why they drank so much tea. Our neighbor said because tea "cures what ails you." We came to learn the truth in that statement. Before moving South, we didn't even really drink beverages over ice.Maybe a cube or two. Now I find this impossible to imagine because I like my glass so full of ice that the beverage of choice can only fill in the spaces between the ice. Although I still don't drink real southern sweet tea,I find it too sweet,iced tea really does "cure what ails you" especially in summer. My mother started making Mint Iced Tea during that first summer in Alabama and it remains our family favorite. I sure many southerners would find it a sacrilege of true sweet tea. I think it's a wonderfully refreshing perfect summertime drink.
Mint Iced Tea
Bring one quart of cold water just to a boil. remove from heat.
Add one tea bag( I used the family size Luzianne Tea bags)
Let steep for about 10 minutes.
meanwhile bring another quart of water to a boil.
Add a large handful on fresh mint to the water remove from heat and cover pot.
Allow mint to steep for 10-15 minutes.
Pour tea into a large pitcher. Add steeped mint poured through a sieve into the tea.
Add a quarter of a can of lemonade and a quarter of a can of orange juice concentrate to the mint tea
Stir in 3/4 cup of sugar(it seems like a lot but it really does take a good bit of sugar)
Chill and serve over lots of ice!

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