Southern sweet iced tea, in volume

A couple years ago I made a massive amount of sweet iced tea--reminiscent of my years in Florida--for my son's graduation open house party. To avoid having to buy a second refrigerator or adding counter space to hold all the pitchers, I made a tea concentrate in advance and then just diluted with water and added ice as needed to meet the demand at the party. It turned out really well and what was leftover was easily saved by freezing in ice cube trays.

Because it is once again the season of graduation open houses, here's the recipe:

Bring 6 cups of water to a boil. As soon as it boils, pour it over 55 regular-sized tea bags. Let it steep for 5 minutes. Remove the tea bags. Place them in another bowl. Squeeze them out by pressing on them with a spoon and add that liquid to the rest of the tea concentrate. When the concentrate is still hot, add sugar, if desired. I added 1.5 cups of sugar to each batch of concentrate. Also, if desired, add some mint. I added about 10 leaves of mint to each batch, bruising each leaf a bit with a spoon before adding it to the hot concentrate. This batch will make about 4-6 pitchers of tea. I made 3 batches, not tripling all at once, but separately. It might prove difficult to work with more than 55 tea bags at a time.

To use: put about one cup of concentrate in a pitcher and fill the pitcher with water. May want to use more or less according to taste and size of pitcher. To make by the glass, use one or two tablespoons of tea to a glass of water. Or freeze the concentrate in ice cube trays and use 1 to 2 ice cubes to a glass of water.

Note: Tea should be made with filtered water to keep mineral deposits from clouding it. Also, keep the concentrate at room temp unless you're going to freeze it, also to keep from clouding. At room temp it's good for about a day or so. It's fine also in the refrig but it may cloud up.

Enjoy!