Sweet Tea and Southern Cuisine

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Chef Martha Hall Foose talks about the South's sweet tea, and how iced tea became popular across America and Southern cuisine. Her book is titled Screen Doors and Sweet Tea: Recipes and Tales from a Southern Cook.


Tea Spoon

Sweet Tea

4 (pitcher size) Cold Brew Tea Bags or  6 Tablespoons orange pekoe tea in a diffuser
3 quarts 75°F water
1 cups water
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 lemons, sliced
Fresh mint sprig, if desired

1.  Place tea bags in large pitcher.  Add water 75ºF.  Allow to steep 30 minutes.

2.  Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine 1 cup water and sugar.  Bring to a boil stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved.

3.  Remove tea bags.  Add sugar mixture; Stir to combine.

4. Serve over ice with lemon and fresh mint, if desired


The first mechanical ice maker was produced in New Orleans in 1865.  Before that ice was harvested and brought down from the great lakes and stored in underground ice houses insulated with straw.

Lemon should be squeezed into tea and then discarded. The bitterness from the pith will infuse the tea if it is left to wallow in the glass.

Music break: Blue Beat by Claude Bolling