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!