Monday, September 5, 2011

Granny Iva's Hot Spice Tea

{Platter I made for my kitchen}
Get ready, because in honor of the cooler temperatures we are celebrating, I am about to share my most favorite recipe in the world with you. To be honest, it's semi-complicated and I can't even promise you'll like it, but I will still share it with you because it is very important to me.

{Mamaw Shelby, Granny Penny, Granny Iva, Mamaw Keith, me & Allie}
As a young girl, I was privileged to have and know all 4 of my great grandmothers. Granny Iva was my maternal grandfather's mother, and for several years when I was young, she lived with my grandparents and I visited her often. I gained a lot of things from her, but I will save that for a post all its own, and for this post, I will share my favorite recipe that I got from her. Granny Iva loved to make spice tea, and she kept it and drank it all year long. My mom made the same tea during the cold months, so I learned to love it at a young age. Now it is one of my favorite things to make and drink during the fall and winter, and I love to share it with family and friends. 

This recipe is somewhat difficult to make, and also difficult to explain, so I will do my best. 

2 qt water
1/2 C loose tea
1 3/4 C Sugar (approx.)
1 tsp. cinnamon (ground)
1 tsp. cloves (ground)
1 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 can frozen orange juice concentrate (12 oz can)
1/2 can frozen lemonade concentrate (12 oz can)

Items to have on hand:
1 gallon pitcher or container (I use this one)
4 qt. sauce pan (like this)
very fine strainer (or even two to double-strain)
2 qt. glass container (like this one or similar)
10" square thin cloth (an old thin tshirt, cut up, works great for this)
Rubber band or twist-tie

In your 2 qt. container, add 1 qt. of water and 1/2 C loose tea. Set aside. Lay out cloth. In center of cloth, add cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Gather up edges of cloth and tie it up (see photos). In saucepan, add 1 qt. water, sugar, and spice bundle. Bring sugar mixture to a boil and then simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently as sugar dissolves (every once in a while, squeeze on the spice ball as you're stirring to squeeze some of the spices out - I do realize how odd this all sounds). As your sugar mixture is heating up to boiling, put water/loose tea in the microwave for 10 minutes to cook simultaneously as the sugar mixture is simmering.
While both mixtures are cooking for 10 minutes, add both juice concentrates to gallon pitcher. When the tea is done in the microwave, run in through strainer into the pitcher. Stir to melt the frozen juices. Run back through the strainer again if you don't like pulp from the juice. Take sugar/spice mixture and remove spice ball. Pour through strainer into pitcher. Strain entire pitcher again if you want to.
This will not fill the entire gallon pitcher - once all the parts are added, fill the rest of the pitcher with hot water (my mom boils water in her kettle while simultaeously doing everything else, but I am not that talented and I just add hot tap water).

Store in the refrigerator and it will last about 2 weeks.

Tonight, in honor of the nighttime lows being in the 50s and my birthday in a week, my mom volunteered (she may or may not have had some heavy persuading) to make a batch for me. Here are some pictures for your entertainment, and also to help you out if you ever try to brave this recipe.

{Loose tea + 1 qt. water}
{Spices & spice cloth}
{Mom slaving away}

{Sugar & spices simmering for 10 minutes}
{Ready to serve!}
{My sister has an overabundance of Starbucks coffee cups}
{Levi trying to get in on the action}


  1. 1. Why yes, I suppose you can use my cups for the picture.

    2. I'm the cutie on Granny Iva's lap in the pic.

  2. Mom chose those cups - I would have preferred my favorite - the short Christmas tree cups but you know we are not allowed to use those until December!

  3. Can you get loose tea at any grocery store? I didn't even know there was such a thing, lol.

  4. Yep - it's right by all the other tea. Lipton loose tea, or tea leaves or something. It's in a little box


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