Fruity homemade iced tea that’s naturally sweetened with peaches, honey and vanilla bean paste.
If you’re somewhere where you must be 18 to play pinball, chances are you’re in South Carolina.
If you’re somewhere where fortunetellers are required have licenses to perform their services, chances are you’re in South Carolina.
If you’re somewhere where horses are legally required to wear pants, chances are you’re in the city of Fountain Inn.
Where’s Fountain Inn? Take a guess. (Hint: It’s not North Carolina).
Today’s post is all about South Carolina – home to a few unusual laws, four types of barbecue sauce, and the much-loved university mascot ‘Cocky’.
Why am I talking about the Palmetto State today? Well, I’m continuing my little food/beverage tour of the US presidential primaries. After covering Nevada on Wednesday, now I’ve got South Carolina on my mind.
Tea probably isn’t the first thing you think of when you hear the words ‘South Carolina’. However, the Palmetto State was the first place where tea was grown in the United States. And tea is still grown there today! America’s only commercial tea plantation is on Wadmalaw Island, south of Charleston.
South Carolina-grown tea is also the state’s official ‘hospitality beverage’. So if you’re going to invite someone over, you better brew some tea. Specially, Southern-style sweet tea.
If you haven’t heard of ‘sweet tea’ before, it’s pretty similar to iced tea. It’s basically black tea that has been brewed with sugar, chilled, and served with ice. The only thing to keep in mind is this: there’s often a lot of sugar in it. A lot.
Hopefully you’ll be pleased to hear that my version of this Southern drink doesn’t have a ton of sugar. For added flavor (plus a few nutritional benefits), I replaced the sugar with a homemade syrup made from peaches, honey and vanilla bean paste.
And instead of brewing the tea with the sweetener, I kept them separate so you can add as much or as little syrup to your glass as you’d like. After all, some people take their tea with no sugar, some take one sugar, others take two… a few take ten.
If you have some old, kind of funky-looking peaches that nobody wants to eat, then those would be perfect for this peach syrup. The older and juicer the peaches, the better. I imagine you could also use frozen peaches if you thawed them well.
By the way, did you know that South Carolina grows more peaches than the so-called ‘Peach State’ of Georgia?
Last of all, I simply can’t end this post without telling you about another law from the great state of South Carolina: it’s illegal to fish with ‘dynamite, gun powder, lime or any other explosive’.
You’ve been warned.
- Peach Syrup
- 1 pound (455g) ripe peaches
- ⅓ cup (100g) honey
- ⅓ cup (80mL) water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- 2 black tea bags
- 2 cups (480mL) boiling water
- 2 cups (480mL) cold filtered water
- Ice cubes
- Peach slices (optional)
- For the peach syrup: Remove the pits from the peaches and chop them into relatively small pieces.
- In a small saucepan (off the heat), combine the honey, water and vanilla bean paste. Stir in the chopped peaches.
- Bring the mixture to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 20 – 25 minutes, or until the mixture has reduced by a little more than half, and the liquid is about the consistency of maple syrup. During this time, use a wooden spoon to gently crush the peaches.
- Turn off the heat, and let the mixture sit for 30 minutes. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve to remove the peaches. Let cool to room temperature, and then refrigerate until cold.
- For the tea: Steep the tea bags in the boiling water for 3 – 5 minutes, depending on how strong you’d like the tea. Discard the tea bags, and stir in the cold filtered water.
- Allow the tea to cool to room temperature, and then refrigerate until cold.
- To serve: For each glass of tea, add some ice cubes into the glass, and then pour over the cold tea and stir in peach syrup to taste. If desired, decorate the glass with a slice of peach.
- Store the peach syrup and tea separately in the fridge.
Recipe inspired by Minimalist Baker