Friday, October 17, 2014

Iced Tea -- Nector for the Time

I have a friend in D.C. that I've known since I graduated from college.  She’s a neo-natal
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nurse at the Howard University Hospital.  We met when she was in nursing school.  I’d majored in chemistry and she was having trouble with the subject when I was asked to tutor her.  Our tutoring sessions made us life-long friends.  She spent a lot of time in my apartment and used to say I made the best iced tea in the world.  Of course, I thought she was being facetious since I had very little money and tea bags were the only drink I could afford to buy.  Consequently, there was always tea in my refrigerator.  I didn’t find out until long after I married, had children, and divorced that she actually meant it.

My son also says I make the best tea in the world.  He’s unaware of the comments from my nurse-friend.  But he should know.  He’s seen a lot of the world and drank a lot of tea (his refreshment of choice).  For several days when he was about ten, he watched me make tea, asking questions about how much of this to use and how long to let it boil.  Then one of his friend's parents I ran across in the local grocery store mentioned the tea.  Apparently, my son had gone to her house and made tea for them.  She wanted the recipe.
 
Credit:Morguefile


Tea Plantation
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Tea has been a part of human life since the Stone Age.  Yet people in the United States used to only drink it iced in the summer time.  Tea has now become an anytime drink. (In the South, it was always an anytime drink.)  I think my father personally championed this change, since we had iced tea year-round and I grew up in Buffalo, New York.  My father was from South Carolina where tea is a staple.  He didn’t teach me to make it however.  I concocted my own experiments until I came up with something that had people turning their heads like on a television commercial and asking, “Who made this?  It’s really good.”  I will give a little credit to my father for one ingredient although the knowledge came to me indirectly through one of my younger sisters (I have five sisters and a brother.  I’m number two.).  She told me about the baking soda.


Mind you, I didn't start out to develop a tea recipe.  It happened when the coffers were low and I didn’t want to go out in the cold or rain or dark or whatever the reason was at the time to buy the missing ingredients.  So, like any girl scout has been trained (or people who loved watching McGyver build a shopping mall from sand and chewing gum), I went to Plan “B” and used what I had.  And what I had were two regular tea bags and one bag of apple spice tea.  I used to use three regular tea bags and sugar.


Credit: Morguefile
Sun Tea was popular about ten years ago and I tried that, but quickly realized it was only a method of getting people to buy more tea bags and therefore making the tea companies more profits.  Quickly, I dropped that idea.  One reason was the inconvenience.  Sun Tea had to sit in the sun for hours to brew.  I’d have to get it ready and put it outside in the morning before leaving for work.  With all I had to do to get three people up dressed, breakfast prepared and eaten, beds made, and lunches ready (with one kid who is not a morning person), who had time to think about Sun Tea?  And when it was gone, you couldn't make more on the spot.  Plus my kids didn't think it was as good and the kind you boiled on the stove.  So following the path of least resistance, I went back to the tried and true.



In my first romance novel, Under the Sheets, I loaned my heroine the tea recipe.  She owned a restaurant and it was a favorite drink of her patrons.  It was also the defining moment for the hero when he discovers the heroine's secret.  I put the recipe in that book.  And here it is for you.  So, as you sit down to read the next Heartwarming novel, grab a glass of Apple Spice tea and relax.  I hope you like it.

My first Heartwarming novel is Summer at Kendall Farm.  It will be released in January 2015.  I just got the cover and it's wonderful.  The book is available for pre-order.





Apple Spiced Iced Tea

2 regular tea bags (a cheap brand, store brand is fine)
1 apple spice herbal tea bag
Sugar (to taste or optional)
Baking soda (as much as you can pinch between two fingers)
Cold water
Ice

Credit: Free Images
Fill a small sauce pan half full of cold water.  Add the three tea bags and bring to a boil.  Boil for two minutes.  Remove from stove and add a pinch of soda (The box keeping your refrigerator fresh is fine to use.  The soda will make the tea bubble to the top of the pan, so be careful.  It will also give the mixture a rich, dark color.)  Fill a half-gallon size pitcher half full of cold water.  Pour tea into a pitcher and stir.  (Discard tea bags.)  Add sugar to taste.  Fill pitcher to top with more cold water.  Serve over ice.

Note:  Do not add lemon.  The strength of the lemon juice will negate the apple spice influence.


Substitutions:  You can substitute any herbal tea you desire and experiment with the flavor.  I've used Orange Spice and Cinnamon Apple Spice with good results.

Shirley Hailstock


27 comments:

  1. I had never heard that about baking soda and I've been sucking down tea during all seasons my whole life. Now I have to try it. We do like sun tea, but I seldom bother with making it. Nice post, Shirley!

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    1. This was a trick my father taught my sister and she passed it on to me one day when I was making tea. So of course, my son in the next generation has it now.

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  2. Shirley, I can't wait to try this! I've recently been forced to let sugar go, and I'm longing for something to drink that isn't water. Gonna make some in just a few minutes! Nice to see you in the Heartwarming lineup and the blog!

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    1. Thank you. It's nice to be here. I also had to forego sugar. I use Equal, but at my house I have to make two pitchers of tea. One with sugar and one without. After the kids drink the sugared version, they take the other one and add sugar. So if I don't get a glass out first, I don't get any at all.

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  3. My favorite is peach tea, especially if wedges of peach are in it.

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    1. I've tried other kinds of teas in this recipe. The peach tea sounds good. I'll try it soon.

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  4. Interesting! I love tea also. I make my cold tea by boiling a small pan of loose leaves and then adding cold water (and sugar--lots of sugar). I've never heard of the baking soda either. Excited to try this recipe!

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    1. Carol, you're a girl after my own heart. This looks like the way the English would do ice tea, if they did it. I think iced tea is an affront to them, but it quenches my thirst.

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  5. Plain hot tea has been my drink of choice. Thanks for the recipe for a possible change.

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  6. Such a unique twist on an old favorite. And I love your cover!

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    1. Melinda, the tea recipe is not int he Heartwarming book. It's in my first published book which I've self published as UNDER THE SHEETS.

      I get reader comments on the tea too.

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  7. Shirley! Haven't formally counted, but I'll bet I drink ten cups of tea a day - more during revisions. I seldom have it iced - even in summer (of course, it never gets that hot on the Oregon coast) but your recipe sounds intriguing. Is any brand of the apple tea better than another? My next Heartwarming comes out in January, too. And my middle name is Shirley. Someone gave me a T-shirt with a nutty-looking joker on it that said, "Shirley you jest!" I know - I'm rambling - and putting off getting the writing started.

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    1. Any brand of tea is fine. In fact, I use the cheap store brand for the regular tea and anything that's on sale for the apple spice.

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  8. As a confirmed tea addict I enjoyed your post and felt the need to share some of my favourite tea quotes:

    There is no trouble so great or grave that cannot be much diminished by a nice cup of tea.
    ~Bernard-Paul Heroux

    All true tea lovers not only like their tea strong, but like it a little stronger with each year that passes. ~George Orwell, (That must be why I like mine strong!)

    If you are cold, tea will warm you. If you are too heated, it will cool you. If you are depressed, it will cheer you. If you are excited, it will calm you. ~Gladstone, 1865

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    1. I'm a coffee drinker. I like tea iced. When I drink hot tea, it's usually because I have a sore throat. My son is the real tea lover and as a result, I have a huge variety of teas. I will say I fell in love with Twinings in England back in the 80's and always have some for relaxation. I also like Constant Comment.

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    2. Of course, I can't remember the exact quote, but there's one from the movie UNTIL THEY SAIL that I liked about the women in a town without men having to drink and awful lot of tea to get pass what was in store for them. The movie takes place during WWII and had Jeanne Simmons and Paul Newman in it. It takes place in New Zealand, a place I want to visit because of that movie.

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    3. Of course, I can't remember the exact quote, but there's one from the movie UNTIL THEY SAIL that I liked about the women in a town without men having to drink and awful lot of tea to get pass what was in store for them. The movie takes place during WWII and had Jeanne Simmons and Paul Newman in it. It takes place in New Zealand, a place I want to visit because of that movie.

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  9. Hi Shirley, I am an iced tea drinker and never thought to put baking soda in the tea. I will have to try it. And I love how you put your specialty in your Heartwarming book. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. The tea recipe is not in the Heartwarming book. It's in my first published book which I've had the rights returned and republished it as UNDER THE SHEETS.

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  10. Hi, Shirley! Congrats on your first Heartwarming novel! And along with Muriel, I'll be releasing in January with you. I LOVE tea (coffee, too) but I love the romance of tea. Just last night I was editing the first chapter of a new book and the heroine is a tea fanatic! So, I loved your blog! I love your cover as well. Great success to you!

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  11. One thing I should mention about the baking soda. REMOVE FROM STOVE before adding it. It will foam, then settle back. The color will be dark.

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  12. Tea has always been a staple around my house, and the funny thing is, I remember drinking it hot first. My dad was a merchant seaman and that's what he drank. Love the post! Will have to try your recipe.

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    1. Patricia,
      After all the comments I had to go and make some. I decided to give up soda (pop for those who think soda has ice cream in it), so we'll be drinking a lot of iced tea.

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  13. I love iced tea, Shirley, and always make it with fresh mint and a hint of lemon. I have to try your recipe because it sounds wonderful and I've never heard of using baking soda before! Very interesting!!

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  14. So many people commented on the baking soda. It makes the tea darker, but doesn't interfer with the taste.

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