Traditional Texas Tea

Recipe By : Texas Home Cooking - ISBN 1-55832-059-8

6 teaspoons Loose black tea or 6 tea bags
1 quart cold water
ice
sugar -- optional
lemon wedge -- for garnish

Place the loose tea or tea bags in a large teapot. Pour the water into a tea kettle or saucepan (always use fresh cold water for best results). Bring the water to a vigorous boil, and, at once, pour it over the tea. Don't allow the water to boil more than a minute or two, or the tea could become clouded by mineral deposits in the water. Top the teapot with lid, and allow the tea to steep about 5 minutes. The tea should get good and dark since it will be diluted by the ice. Discard the tea bags, or, if you are working with loose tea, plan to strain it through a small strainer before serving.

Let the tea stand at room temperature until it is needed. When you pour it, use a good number of ice cubes, but don't overdo it the way fast-food franchises always seem to do. Serve the tea in a barrel-size plastic glass or 1-quart Mason jar for an authentic touch. Add sugar, if you like, and a hefty wedge of lemon. Always offer refills. Iced tea tastes best the day it's made.

Serves 1 Texan

Variation: On hot summer days, make "sun tea" outside. Put the tea and cold water in a jar, and set it out to soak up some rays. You'll have tea in a couple of hours, but give it twice that long for full flavor.

Hot tea has always been rare in Texas, except for a variety made from sassafras root. Sassafras tea was a traditional beverage in East Texas, used in the spring to "thin the blood", and it's still as good a way to fight a cold as any we know.

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