Friday, 14 March 2008

Sweet Southern Iced Tea

Today is hot. Too hot. It is close to 40 C (104F) as I write this, which is w-a-y-y too hot for March. Which is supposed to be autumn.

Yesterday was just as hot, and the heat wave apparently has several days left in it. Yikes!

My poor little bantams are wandering around the backyard panting. I hate it when chickens pant. I have put bowls of water in all their favourite shady spots but mostly they are too dopey to drink. Even when I refresh the water. They just like panting, I guess.

Today is also my eldest son's 14th birthday. Yes, I know, three birthdays in less that two weeks. Does your family have a run of birthdays like that, then nothing for ages? Our next birthday is in September, 6 months away.

While I normally give my family their favourite foods all day on their birthdays, I had to draw the line today. No baking. My kitchen faces west and is a furnace, even with the outside blinds down. Our upstairs is air-conditioned but unfortunately that is not where I do my cooking. So we are having homemade burgers for the birthday dinner with some expensive ice creams (Drumsticks, currently on sale at Coles) for dessert. A good hot weather compromise, I think!

Today I've done a spot of googling, looking for recipes for Southern Iced Tea. People in the southern states of the US apparently live on the stuff over their hot summer months. And we're even further south, right? So it should be just as refreshing here. My husband really likes iced tea, so this should be a pleasant surprise for him when he arrives home from work.

I combined a few ideas I read and here is what I did.

Sweet Southern Iced Tea

3 family teabags or 5 ordinary ones (Nerada is a good, pesticide-free Aussie brand)

1 L (2 pints) water

1 C sugar

Boil the water and add teabags and sugar. Steep for 10-15 minutes. Remove teabags and pour into a large jug (I used a 2 litre Tupperware jug but most recipes say to use a 1 US gallon jug -- about 3.7 L) and top up with more water. Chill. Serve over ice with lemon slices and a mint garnish.

Here is a link to a Yahoo page with many suggestions for making iced tea. And here is another site with several recipes.

According to my reading, some iced tea makers prefer to boil their sugar into a syrup before adding it, and some add a pinch of baking (bicarb) soda to the water.

I don't pretend to be an expert at making iced tea as I am mostly a coffee drinker, so if you have any tips to improve this recipe, please leave a comment. I'd love to hear from you.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend,

image is from


River said...

My family has 12 birthdays from 23rd January to 31st March. There were 14 but my parents have died.
The iced tea sounds delicious. i tried a commercial iced tea in a bottle, Lipton I think it was, never again. I've made herbal teas and drank them cold but I've never added ice. Maybe next time I will.

Tracy said...

Yes we have three birthday's in 2 weeks...along with two BIL's, a brother, my Dad and my Mum, who shares her day with Miss Sunshine. A very busy time.

You know what Kate? My kitchen faces west too. I have finally decided that the air is fresher outside, even if it's not cooler so I've pulled up the external blinds and opened the windows.

I can't wait for that 'cool' change!!!!

Thanks for the iced tea recipe. I'm going to have a closer look in the a.m. I'm off to book club now.

Kez said...

Happy b'day to your son!

Rosie's Whimsy said...

Oh my that is hot! I am looking forward to warmer temperatures but not that warm. Hope you ice tea cools you down and you can enjoy your son's Birthday celebration. :-) Rosie

Frogdancer said...

I'm September 6, my second son is September 15 and my fourth son is September 17. All Virgo.

Oddly enough, my other two are both Capricorns. Not planned that way, but for some reason we do like our birthdays crowded together!

Kirstin said...

Yum! sounds good Kate...and happy birthday to your son.
Our birthdays are spread out...March for Nan, Aug. for hubby, november for Kat and Dec. for me.

Sorry about the heat. I'd gladly give you our poured last night.

Joyce said...

Hey there Kate,
It sure does sound hot there. Ugh. We will be having those types of days way too soon....I just kicked my air conditoner on myself today because it's SO muggy here and were only at 73 degrees so far.....we are supposed to climb to about 80 degrees today...I haven't a CLUE what that is in celcious!
I live in SOUTH Louisiana....and my family DOES drink sweet tea....and I drink HOT tea as well.
One thing we also add into our sweet LEMON your taste. You can use fresh lemons too or lemon juice from a bottle.
Also.....I use mint/spearmint springs from my herb garden also at times.
Just depends on my mood.
Okay this may sound dumb...but can you spray your chickens lightly with a mist from the hose? Would that help them any? I hope they don't drop from the heat.
You didn't mention having an air you all have one or no?
Hang in there....
Hopefully you will get a breeze or something to help cool things down a tad.
Happy birthday to your son!

rhonda jean said...

Hi Kate, happy birthday to your boy.
I've been hearing about your record hot spell on the radio. I hope you're all not suffering too much. When I lived up noth, I had trays of water in my chook pen. When the weather was really hot, the girls would stand in the water to cool down. The water only needs to come up to their "ankles" (do chooks have ankles?) so you could use a large saucer from a pot plant.
Take care, love.

Our Red House said...

River, that's a lot of birthdays! How are you coping with the heat in Adelaide?

Tracy, it's too hot, isn't it, though not as bad as Adelaide.

Kez, thanks.

Rosie, I agree. Too hot!

Frogdancer, that sounds similar to us in March.

Kirstin, if you could send us some rain you could hear me singing the Halleluia chorus right across the Pacific ocean. We have had 1.2 mm this month so far (about 1/20 inch).

Joyce, thanks for the iced tea tips. We did add some lemon juice and it balanced the sweetness nicely.

Although hosing the chooks is a good idea I can't do it. I can only use the hose on Wednesday and Sunday between 6 and 8 am, using a trigger nozzle! We can't use sprinkler systems or drip irrigation or any other kind of watering (unless we have water tanks, which have no rain to fill them.) We have strict water restrictions because of our horrible long term drought. Victoria used to be called "The Garden State", but no more, I am afraid.

Rhonda, I'll try that today, thanks.


Maggie said...

My birthday this year is on Easter and My dad's is April Fools. Aside from those, our family birthdays are spread out.
outside of the immediate family there are several cousins and aunts with birthdays in Feb and march.

When it comes to Ice Tea, growing up with bought the powder crystals. We called it brown sugar water. lol. I now drink cranberry juice or apple juice, Ice tea only in bottles when out and about.

Is there any rain in sight for Victoria?

DianneE said...

Kate, I live in North Carolina and they do drink Sweet Tea down her but I don't quite know how they make it..some make it by putting the large bags in a gallon jar and let it set in the sun for a few hours. I'm originally from Maine and lived in Northern New York for all my married life until we moved down here to escape the long winters. The tea they make here is much too sweet for me so when we go out to eat, I order unsweet tea and add a sugar substitute to it to my taste buds. Up North, we use to put tea bags in a pan and bring it to a boil and then let the bags steep in the pan off the burner until the tea was quite dark. We would then pour the tea into a gallon container, add water until it was to our liking. In the North, you don't sweeten tea when you make it but add it at the table to your own preference.

The temperatures you are experiencing are unbelieveable! I'm surprised you don't live in a bathtub filled with cold water.

Crazy Mumma said...

Happy birthday to your son Kate! That tea looks so utterly delicious I might have to have a go (despite being a confirmed coffee drinker). Sending you cool weather vibes :-) Cheers, Julie

Our Red House said...

Maggie, I don't know of any rain. Tomorrow (Sunday) is going to be 37 C (99 F) and Monday 36 (97F).

Diane, you're right, it is too hot. I feel sorry for all the birds and other animals living outdoors.

Julie, thanks for the cool air vibes!


Kelly said...

Yuuuum, Kate! And happy bday to your son! :o) July is our month 'o dates with hubby's bday, daughter's bday, my bday and our anniversary. Then nothin' 'til the winter.

P.S. Your blog header has me starving!

Tracy said...

The tea looks wonderful and refreshing. Our 5 birthdays are spread out one per month from September to January including one on Christmas day.

River said...

Coping better than I thought I would. It's still dark and only warm when I walk to work in the mornings, hot but not unbearable when walking home just before noon, the real heat comes about 2pm when the sun goes over and hits the western side of the unit, we have the end unit on west of the block, from then until bedtime I sit by the fan with a wet shirt on, everytime it dries out I dunk it in a bucket. At bedtime I aim the fan at the bed and lie with a wet towel on me and a frozen "hottie" at my feet.
Try sweetening your tea with honey.

Em said...

Hi! I just found your blog! I live in North Carolina, and I live off of Sweet Tea pretty much year round! Here's how I make it:

Take a saucepan, fill it about halfway with water... bring it to a boil. As soon as it's boiling, turn it off and drop in the tea bags. I use the gallon-sized lipton ones or 3 of the family sized ones. After it steeps for about 5-8 minutes, I add a cup and a half of sugar, stir until it's dissolved, then pour that into a gallon jug. I top it off with COLD water from the tap, and keep it in the fridge. It's usually gone in 48hours, so I make it every other day or so. I also make decaf the same way, so I can drink it all day or night, and it won't keep me up. I can't stand the commercially bottled teas - NONE of them taste right, and they're nothing compared to freshly brewed Iced tea. Good luck with the heat!

Missy said...

you do have had a lot of birthdays! my oldest dd turns 15 this month, and my husband turns 39 and throw in our 18th wedding anniversary, march is a busy month for us too.
i had to laugh about your chickens. silly things. i'd love to see a picture of them. i love chickens.

ps, i love sweet tea. thanks for sharing the recipe.


Journaling Through Life said...

I'm just catching up with your blog and saw this post...Being southern myself,yes,we live on sweet tea,but not just in the summer months..We will drink it even in the dead of winter.It's only 8 am here and guess what I've got next to me? A glass of ice cold sweet tea,lol.

Sasha said...

Well done with the ice tea! This is very much how I make mine. Isn't it delicious? So very refreshing and like a PP mentioned, we always have a pitcher of ice tea in our fridge, no matter what time of year it is!!