A couple weeks ago I realized that I have lived in Florida for 13 years! Where did the time go? When I first moved to Florida to work at Walt Disney World’s College Program, I never imagined that I would stay this long. I am not complaining because Florida has been very good to me with great experiences and opportunities; working for some excellent hospitality companies, meeting my husband, making friends who are now family by choice … you get the idea.
As a foodie, Florida has opened the door to some Southern Cuisine. I never thought of Florida as the South but it does have heavy influence from the Deep South with regards to their food – barbeque, fried chicken, okra, corn bread … to name a few. But the beverage of choice in the south is iced tea, mostly sweet tea but when going out to eat and ask for iced tea, the question that immediately follows is “sweet or unsweet”. I go for the unsweet because I am trying to limit my sugar, plus I would rather eat my sugar that drink it.
When I first started making Iced Tea at home I would boil a big pot of water and then steep the tea bags. It was good but sometimes brought out the bitterness of the tea. Then I discovered Sun Tea! In this method you fill a glass pitcher with good water (any tea, hot or cold, always starts with good water), drop in the tea bags and then let the heat of the sun brew the tea. There a couple things I really like about this method; First, because it is a slow brew you don’t get the bitterness from the tea, regardless of how long you leave it out. Second, once you set it outside you can forget about it for a couple hours. The only requirement is that you need is a bright sunny spot that the pitcher can sit and soak up the sun for 2-4 hours, depending on how strong you want your tea. Once you bring the pitcher inside, remove the tea bags then let is rest on the counter so that it comes to room temperature before putting it in the refrigerator.
Once your refrigerator is stocked with iced tea you can serve it to your preference – as is for unsweet, mix in sugar or simple syrup for sweet, add lemon wedges for a citrus twist or mix a glass of half tea and half lemonade for an Arnold Palmer. We always have pitcher in our refrigerator so that we can enjoy Home Brewed Sun Tea any time, especially in the summer. We have even gone as far as buying a second pitcher so that when one gets low, we get another pitcher brewing and never be out of sun tea.
- 64-72 oz water
- 6 High Quality Black Tea Bags or 8-10 Generic Tea Bags (Lipton or Tetley)
- Pour the water in to a glass pitcher.
- Take the tea bags out of the packaging. I find it helpful to tie all the tea bag strings together.
- Add the tea bags into the water and set outside in full sun for at least 2 hours but up to 4 hours (depending on how strong you like your tea).
- Bring the tea inside, discard the tea bags and let the tea come to room temperature before placing it in the refrigerator.
- Serve tea over ice.