Prepare yourself. Now begins the season where I need to discuss the weather constantly. Good-bye Maryland Spring, hello Maryland heat and humidity. We obviously have no air conditioning in this little gem of a farmhouse. I find myself relentlessly checking the weather, the weather maps, the hourly forecast, hoping for a break in temperatures, a drop in humidity, a good strong storm. (And dream about slipping off to an air-conditioned condo in the city. I've said that before, haven't I ?)
So we learn to make-do and deal with the heat.
As little Jane Fonda here can attest, it has been pretty wicked the past several days. I'm in survival mode. I'm not above a sno-cone break in the middle of the afternoon. Cereal for dinner when it's too hot to cook or even eat.
But one good thing that has come from this recent heat wave is my adaptation and (near) perfection of my grandmother's iced tea recipe.
You must know that the rule in my grandmother's house was that you had to be 13 to drink the tea. It has twice the caffeine and all the sugar, so you practically need a license to drink it. But a glass of that tea, full to the brim, overflowing with ice, is enough to momentarily keep even the worst hazy humidity at bay.
Now my grandmother had 15 children. Her version of this tea was brewed on the stove top, and poured into a giant stainless steel pitcher in her industrial-sized refrigerator. With the constant flow of children (over 13), visitors and guests, she always kept two pitchers going at the same time.
Well, my family, with only 2 of-age drinkers, doesn't quite need the same volume of iced tea.
I also didn't want to boil water. I'm that lazy in this weather. And I wanted to see if I could make a small concentrated version as my starting point.
So my recipe is your recipe. You can thank me later.
ICED TEA FOR THE OVER 13 CROWD
Fill a quart canning jar with cold water.
Add 3 large tea bags. ( I generally use Lipton and the bags I used are the jumbo-sized ones about the size of your palm. But any bag will do, you'll just have to tweak the amount.)
Screw the lid on the jar, securing the bags and set in a sunny spot outside.
Let your tea get a good sun tan. No really, a long steep is critical to this tea. I put mine out in the afternoon and bring it in the next afternoon. Almost a full 24 hour steep. You want it nice and dark.
Remove the bags and dump your tea concentrate plus 2 more quart jars of cold water into a pitcher.
Add 1/2 cup of sugar
Add a generous 3/4ths of a 12 ounce can of frozen lemonade concentrate**
Get a large glass of ice, a sprig of mint and thirst be-gone!
**I hate to waste that last little bit of lemonade concentrate in the bottom of the can. Dump it into your quart jar, fill it up with cold water. Put the lid on and give it a good shake. And take it out to your husband–who's dripping in sweat while chopping wood for WINTER!
16 comments on “a recipe for sweet relief”
As another rural Maryland, old-farm-house dweller, I feel your pain. Alhough we’re able to bow down before the rickety, stinkbug-riddled AC window unit for some relief. I was glad to see this post; my husband was just asking how to make ice tea. Our next mission is homemade (handcranked) ice cream. If you have a recipe, please let me know! –Jo at “Funny Farm” at http://www.joannemeszoly.com
This sounds so yummy. I think I will post it to my fridge so I can remember to use it!!
Cant wait to try that tea, sounds incredible!
I live in Seattle now but grew up in Baltimore, dont miss the heat and humidity at all
Living in southern California, two blocks from the beach, the kitchen window is already waiting for some summer tea brewing.Thanks for the recipe. I am going to try it out.
this has become tim’s job-and he’s pretty compulsive about it. we have two half-gallon glass milk jars going at once, and we go through ’em.
i love that second photo, molly.xo.
Sometimes, I think you are my long lost sister… well pump issues, ice tea… My grandmother only used red rose tea (12 tea bags) to a 1/2 gallon tea pot? 1 1/2 cups sugar, mint and lemon on the side… and the stuff is potent! I’ve switched to decaf but now I know how she got everything done!
I have never heard of putting lemonade in the tea…awesome idea and one we will be trying soon!
I live in Texas…where we do have air conditioning…and we are already sweltering in the heat and humidity and it will only get worse.
Can’t wait to try the tea! 🙂
I’m the crazy Southern girl who can’t abide lemon in her iced tea. Otherwise it sounds divine! (:
My dad always had sun tea brewing throughout my childhood. As I grew older, I shuddered at his tea stained gallon jar. Now, I think he was the smartest person.
Wow, I’ll definitely have to try that recipe. It’s only in the 80s here right now, and I’m feeling the need for some iced tea.
Oh my stinkin goodness~it is hot here in Alabama. 99 today. If I didn’t have air conditioning I would melt. I do have air and I’m about to melt anyway.
Sweet tea is a staple down here, but I haven’t tried it this way. Sounds fun!
As a hater of humidity and fellow non air conditioned person I send you sympathy and dreams of cool rains.
Thank you for sharing your iced tea recipe – I made a big batch this past weekend and it’s delish! (Just brought in another jar of sun-brewed tea from the outdoors and it’s at the ready – looks like we’ll be hitting 90+ degrees here in MN today.)
I loved this post. And the commonplace post. And the strawberry whine. And before, and after.
It’s just sweet relief, coming here.
It sounds gorgeous – though does anyone have any suggestions for an alternative to the frozen lemonade concentrate? (We don’t have it in the UK 🙁 )
This is brilliant, thanks so much for sharing this with us. I would love to get some over in the UK.