Hey Quirkers, are you melting yet? If you said no, you’re either lying or you possess a temperature-modulated personal bubble—which I covet. Staying cool in the sweltering heat of summer can be a challenge, but it can be done. The trick is to eat lots of ice-cold treats—because if you’re going to suffer, you’d better do it right.
Luckily for you, we’ll give you a brief respite from the humidity with the Southern Sweet Tea Pops recipe from Pops! Icy Treats for Everyone by Krystina Castella. Don’t just sip sweet tea on the porch, be even cooler than that! Eat a sweet tea popsicle—you’ll thank me later.
Southern Sweet Tea Pops
1 3/4 cups sugar
6 peaches, cut into wedges, skin on
2 limes, peeled and cut into rounds
1 sprig of fresh mint
3 “family-size” or 8 regular-sized bags of orange pekoe black tea
Makes six 8-ounce pops or eight 6-ounce pops
I created these pops as a reminder of all things Southern: hiking beneath the moss-covered oak trees, crossing paths with alligators, and eating at simple home-style restaurants that serve bottomless glasses of Southern sweet tea. The sweetener is added to the tea before it is chilled, either during or after brewing. Southerners add peaches and other local fruits to further flavor the tea. Some insist that the best sweet tea is brewed from the heat of the sun. That’s how I prepare these Southern Sweet Tea Pops.
1. In a saucepan over low heat, bring 2 cups water to a simmer and stir in the sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and add 2 cups cold water. Let cool for 10 minutes.
2. Pour the sugar water into a class glass container. Add the peaches, limes, and mint and stir. Add the tea bags. Cover and put the container outside in the sun for 3 to 5 hours, or until the tea reaches your desired strength.
3. Remove the tea bags and stir the tea. Scoop out the peaches, lime, and mint, and divide them evenly among the pop molds. Pour in the tea. Insert the sticks. Freeze for at least 6 hours.
4. Remove from the freezer; let stand at room temperature for 5 minutes before removing the pops from the molds. Serve graciously.
Southern Sweet Plum Tea Pops: Replace the peaches with plums and the limes with 1 lemon.
Southern Sweet Fig Tea Pops: Replace the peaches with stemmed fresh figs.
Stay out of the sun (unless you have sunscreen on), Quirkers! Live long and stay cool.