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Simply Southern: Sweet Tea

By bellalimento |

Sweet Tea

Sweet Tea – Southern Style

Sweet Tea in the South is pretty much a requirement. In fact, I didn’t realize there was any other kind of teas until I moved to Italy as a tweenager. Talk about shocking to have had sweet tea since toddlerdom and then nulla, zero, zilch available ; ) Then began my love affair with espresso but that’s a story for another day.

Now that I have traveled around the globe a bit I realize that not everyone knows how to make sweet tea. So I thought I’d begin a little series of Simply Southern Recipes. Showcasing some of the beloved foods and beverages here in the South. I began with Not your Nana’s Nana Puddin’ {you really must try that}

Now onto sweet tea. Every family has their own way of making sweet tea. Mine is no exception. My sweet tea is the same tea my Mom made, and my Grandma made for her. Now there are many different levels of sweet tea. Oh yes, every family has their own level of sweetness. Sugar content can vary from 1 cup to 2 cups. It isn’t called “sweet” tea for nothing ; ) If it’s a little too sweet for you, bump back the sugar. Not sweet enough then increase.

Sweet Tea

Sweet tea isn’t difficult to make. You need 4 ingredients {one of which is water} and a little time. The one rule is you can NOT add the sugar to COLD tea. It simply won’t mix together. You’ll end up with muddy looking tea and sugar at the bottom of your pitcher.

Notes: Some people make their sweet tea directly in their pot/pan. I use a kettle and then pour it into my large 8 cup glass Pyrex measuring cup. Use whichever method you like.

Sweet Tea
What you’ll need:
6 regular size tea bags or 2 large family sized tea bags {tags removed}
1 pinch baking soda
8 cups BOILING water
1 1/2 cups sugar

What to do:
1. Place tea bags and baking soda into a large 8 cup glass Pyrex measuring cup. Pour 8 cups of boiling water into Pyrex. Cover with aluminum foil and allow to steep for approximately 30 minutes..

2. Pour steeped tea into your 1 gallon pitcher {discard tea bags}. Add sugar, mix well to combine. Finish by adding in enough cold water to fill pitcher.

3. Chill. Serve cold.

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About bellalimento



Paula Jones started her blog, Bell'alimento, in 2009 as a place to share her recipes with her friends and family. Along with her delicious recipes being a staple on Babble's Food channel, Jones has been featured on sites such as: Saveur, CNN’s Eatocracy, The Cooking Channel, and The Washington Post.

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6 thoughts on “Simply Southern: Sweet Tea

  1. Anne says:

    I love to make and drink sweet tea (I cook mine on the stove). The addition of baking soda is a new one to me–does it cut the bitterness? I feel like you may have let a family secret slip.;-)

  2. Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen says:

    I’m curious about the baking soda as well, what does it do?

  3. Beth says:

    This is Grandma’s sweet tea recipe! A classic for sure!!!!!!!!!!! You forgot to add the kind of tea bags will make a difference. Grandma always used Tetley Tea bags classic.
    @Sylvie – The baking soda makes the tea not be so bitter. A pinch is all that is needed.

  4. doodles says:

    Baking soda also keeps tea from getting cloudy.

    My recipe also but I make a simple syrup and add it to the tea.

    So refreshing…………………

  5. Ellen C says:

    my whole family uses the baking soda too :)

  6. Jean says:

    Why do you add baking soda, is that really necessary?
    I have problems with baking soda in any thing.
    Thanks in advance for your answer.

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