I believe my mom got this recipe from a friend when she and my dad were newly married, and it is one for the ages, I assure you! Payton and I call this iced tea the "nectar of the gods", it's THAT good! It has spoiled me for all iced tea anywhere. I can't even drink iced tea anywhere else because it's just "not right".
In that avocado green kitchen I mentioned in an earlier post, there was always a saucepan of tea steeping on the stovetop. When one pitcher of tea was made, the water was boiled and more tea was steeped. I remember my mom adding saccharin tablets when that was all the rage in the 70s, but I'm pretty sure that phase was fairly short-lived and good old fashioned sugar became our sweetener of choice.
This iced tea was present at every family gathering, picnic, or meal we ever had. When we got together with my dad's family on holidays, we always had a pitcher of "Lenhart tea" and "Hoppe tea"(my aunt's family), and even as kids we knew the difference (their tea was gross because it had no lemon!) and were very careful not to get a glass of the "wrong" tea.
Even now, some of my favorite snacks and/or meals just aren't complete without a glass of iced tea. I drink iced tea with everything. And I do mean everything. I drink iced tea with french toast for breakfast, with crackers and peanut butter for snack, and with Chef Boyardee pizza for dinner. And it's especially good with raw cookie dough and also with hard boiled eggs with lots of salt. Yes it is.
I don't remember exactly when I learned to "make" tea, but I'm sure I was fairly young. And, I am proud to say that all four of our kids know how to boil the water, measure the ingredients, and make a pitcher of tea. We have trained them well.
If you'd like to make a pitcher of this sugary (always decaffeinated) goodness, here's the simple recipe! Enjoy!
Mom's Iced Tea
5 decaffeinated tea bags
1 cup sugar
Place the above in a 2-quart saucepan on stovetop and boil 2 quarts water in a tea kettle. Pour boiling water over tea and sugar and allow mixture to steep for 8-10 hours. (This time isn't set in stone. It just depends how strong you like your tea.)
After tea has steeped, remove tea bags and pour tea into a 1-gallon pitcher. Add another two quarts of cold water. Then add 1/3 cup lemon juice and stir until mixed well. Enjoy!
Finally, a few disclaimers: you can't make this tea correctly in one of those silly iced tea maker pitcher things. It won't be right. Secondly, any powder that comes in a cardboard can and says "flavored with lemon" does not deserve to be called "tea". Lastly, don't mess this tea up with hoity-toity additions like sprigs of mint or slices of real lemon. It's perfect just the way it is. Trust me.