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Sunday, July 17, 2011

Healthified Southern Sweet tea (said in my best drawl)

It's healthified.  And bonafied (O'Brother Where Art Thou anyone...?), and :gasp: made by a yankee?

Ohhhh if looks could kill!*
My wonderful brother-in-law Scott, is from Huntington, West Virgina.  Huntingon was made infamous by Jamie Oliver in his first season of the Food Revolution.  Huntington, WV is statistically known as the fattest town in America.  Considering my brother-in-law is a fit and trim member of the US Navy, there are some people from Huntington who don't follow statistics.

Well, one thing that all southern boys love is sweet tea.  And southern boys from the "fattest town in America" demand it SWEET.  Scott has been vocal that sweet tea in the Seattle area is neither sweet enough, or "tea-y" enough.  I set out to prove that not only can a crunchy granola yankee chick make sweet tea, she can make it healthier and still taste great!

I consulted the internet.  2 cups of sugar per pitcher was pretty standard.  No thanks.

I asked a good friend from Louisiana who has always raved about her Mississippi granny's sweet tea.  Apparently them southern grannies don't write down recipes, nor do they care to share them!  The only tip I received from my friend was "you want it sweet enough for your lips to stick together" and "you have to add the sugar while the water is boiling".  I chose to only follow the second piece of advice...

About 2 weeks ago, we had a belated father's day BBQ for my father-in-law.  Knowing my brother-in-law would be present, I chose to debut my customized recipe at the feast.  Brother-in-law's reaction after taking a drink?  "Yep.  That's it".  SCORE!

I've now made about 10 batches of this because Troy will drink it instead of soda (a MAJOR win in this house).  It's fast, it's easy, and it's cheap!  And it is a hell of a lot healthier than granny's recipe.

Southern Style Sweet Tea, with a Dirty-Hippy Twist
1 large family size tea bag.  I've been using Mighty Leaf organic because they sent me that wonderful giftbox.  (Any tea will do, but a black or green tea seems to work best.  Don't have family style bags?  Use 7 small tea bags).
1/3 cup of raw honey
4 cups of water - boiling
4 cups of water - cold (or use ice)

And the secret ingredient is...

1/8 tsp baking soda!!!! 

In a saucepan, boil 4 cups of water.  While bringing the water up to a rolling boil, add 1/3 cup of honey and 1/8 tsp of baking soda.  Stir well.

Once the water has reached it's boiling point, add the tea bags.  Remove pan from heat, and cover.  Let steep 15 minutes.

Remove tea bags from pot without squeezing them, and pour contents in to a glass pitcher.  Add 4 cups of cold water and place in fridge until properly "iced".  If you'd like to serve immediately, fill up the pitcher with ice cubes.

Steeping the tea bags for 15 minutes will give you the desired "tea-y" flavor.  The baking soda cuts out the bitterness from letting it steep for so long.

Our preferred way of enjoying this is 3/4 tea, and 1/4 lemonade.  'Palmer style bitches!

Regardless of the tea and honey you use, you're looking at about $1 per pitcher.  Compare that to about $4 for a 12 pack of pop, and you're banking some savings!

*Fun fact - Vivianne Leigh who played the most famous southern woman in the world was actually British!  Scandalous at the time.  Well, we sure got those Brits back by letting skinny little Renee Zellweger play the most famously plump British women in the world.

This has been posted on Monday Mania, Traditional Tuesdays, Frugal Tip Tuesdays, Real Food WednesdaysSimple Lives Thursdays, and Pennywise Platter Thursdays.


  1. Baking soda...I never would have thought of that. I just happen to have an over baked batch of sun tea DOES work to cut the bitter. Cool!

  2. Im just curious do you have any home made hippy lemonade recipes! this Bitch loves Palmers style

  3. Thank you so much for posting this that! Being that I am from the south and a true southern gal I LOVE sweet tea and probably drink a pitcher every other day by myself. I just found your blog this weekend and look forward to trying this and many other of your recipes.

  4. I thought the point of raw honey was not to heat it. Are we killing the benefits? Hope not, cause it sounds delish!

  5. I thought the point of raw honey was not to heat it. Are we killing the benefits? Hope not, cause it sounds delish!


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