If you’re lucky enough to live in the South, every day is a great day for Sweet Tea. My heart breaks for the rest of you who must endure the harsh cold. I’m sure the Winter months are probably not very conducive to drinking your sweet tea up North. Bless your little hearts! 😉 Take heart though, Spring is almost here even for the northernmost states of this country and that means Sweet Tea Season for sure! Yippee!!
Now, I don’t know about you, but sometimes I get prone to a bad case of the lazies. Especially on those HOT Summer days when all I want to do is sit in the shade and sip my iced tea. So I found a super easy solution that let’s me have sweet tea ready at a moment’s notice. I love it and frankly, I can’t imagine what I ever did without this neat little trick. The secret? Sweet Tea Base!!
I’m sure ya’ll have seen those cartons in the grocery store of iced tea concentrate. Have you seen the price on those? WOW!! Making your own tea base is going to save you a TON of money, especially if your family is like mine and Can’t. Get. Enough. ice-cold sweet tea.
It’s super easy, and here’s how you do it:
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6 quart mason jars, with lids
Some sort of funneling device (I like this one)
24 cups of water
42 iced tea bags (or 18 family size)
6 cups of cane sugar
1½ tsp baking soda
1½ cups lemon juice (optional)
Start your water in a large pot on the stove. While you’re waiting for it to boil, fill your mason jars with super hot tap water and set them in the sink full of hot tap water as well. This is to help temper the glass so they don’t break when you pour boiling hot water in them. Once the water is boiling, add the sugar and stir until completely dissolved. Remove from heat and get your jars ready. Add ¼ tsp baking soda and ¼ cup lemon juice (if using) to each jar; add 7 tea bags (3 family size) and pour the sugar-water into the jars. Cover loosely with the lids and let cool on the counter. Once the tea is cooled, remove the tea bags (to squeeze, or not to squeeze, is a matter of great debate among Southern ladies who view their sweet tea with a bit of religious reverence ….. I squeeze), then close the lid firmly and refrigerate.
To make sweet tea, shake jar gently to mix, and pour one quart of base into a pitcher with 3 quarts water. Serve over ice and you’re ready to go.
You can use regular old Lipton tea bags, or you can go crazy with any flavored tea you want. It’s all tasty – no matter what! Now, if you prefer your tea un-sweet, well ….
I don’t think we can be friends anymore that’s ok. Just leave out the sugar when you’re boiling your water and you’re good to go. I can tell you with absolute certainty that the tea base will stay fresh tasting for 6 days in the refrigerator …. beyond that, I wouldn’t know because mine never lasts that long. LOL. Now go make this, I promise that once you have iced tea at your fingertips in seconds; you’ll never go back to making it one day at a time! I found my inspiration for this post from Lindsay at Crunchy Savings.com. Fabulous idea 🙂
Hang in there, my Northern friends. Spring WILL eventually come.