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11 Sweet Facts About Iced Tea for National Iced Tea Day

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Aside from pools, sunscreen, and clothing that sticks to you, nothing says summer quite like a nice glass of iced tea. In fact, more than 85 percent of all tea poured down America’s collective throat is served over ice.

In honor of National Iced Tea Day, we’ve rounded up some facts about its boozy origins, the world's largest pitcher, and the health risks of loving it a little too much.

1. IT USED TO BE FULL OF BOOZE.

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The ingenuity that led tradesmen in the northeast to ship ice to warmer climates in the 19th century was cause for celebration: No longer were cooler regions the exclusive home of frosty drinks. But when consumers began to pour tea over ice, they didn’t stop there—many recipes included rum, brandy, champagne, and sometimes all three.

2. THE WORLD’S FAIR LED TO A SURGE IN INTEREST.

The 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis was a landmark in pop-up public attractions: More than 200,000 people streamed in on the first day alone to view over 1500 newly-erected buildings housing advancements in art and technology. As the Fair extended into the summer months, visitors began to look for cooler drinks for refreshment. A vendor named Richard Blechynden solved his poor hot-tea sales by pouring his tea over ice. Because the exhibits attracted people from across the country, the drink’s popularity followed them back home.

3. CONSUMERS STARTED BUYING TALL GLASSES FOR IT.

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Iced tea’s popularity was soaring in the early part of the 20th century, but tea vendors weren’t the only beneficiaries. To aid in serving, consumers began buying tall glasses in such quantity they were known as “iced tea glasses.” They also bought long stirring spoons and tiny forks meant to spear lemons.

4. PROHIBITION HELPED IT ALONG.

When America went dry—legally, at least—in the 1920s, iced tea found new advocates in bars and clubs, which needed to quench the thirst of patrons without breaking the law.

5. WORLD WAR II DREW BATTLE LINES BETWEEN GREEN AND BLACK TEA.

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While green tea has long been advertised to have beneficial health effects, there was a time when Americans didn’t have the option. Prior to the outbreak of World War II, black and green tea was consumed in almost equal amounts; after the conflict, the green tea sourced from China and Japan was nowhere to be found, and most of the leaves consumed were black since the British importing channels were still open. (Both varieties, along with oolong, dark, and white leaves all come from the same plantCamellia sinensis—but undergo different levels of oxidation that can affect flavor.)

6. “LONG ISLAND ICED TEA” IS ACTUALLY TRADEMARKED.

Fans of slurred speech know that a “Long Island iced tea” is a signal for a bartender to assemble five different kinds of alcohol and a splash of soda that winds up tasting like iced tea. While you can still ask for it anywhere you go, the Long Island Iced Tea Corporation—an actual non-alcoholic iced tea company—has taken some significant action to trademarking the label. In April 2016, the United States Patent and Trademark Office issued the company a registration on their Supplemental Register for non-alcoholic drinks—that means it could still be contested. But if it isn’t, the company might be able to shift their claim of ownership over to the boozy version at some point in the future.

7. ARIZONA HASN’T CHANGED ITS PRICE IN NEARLY 20 YEARS.

AriZona via Twitter

Too busy (or lazy) to make your own iced tea? AriZona has capitalized on that need by serving up oversized aluminum cans full of the stuff. In the ready-to-drink beverage market, it remains a steal: the 23-ounce cans have been selling for 99 cents since 1998. At AriZona’s Long Island headquarters, company president Don Vultaggio invites employees to wear pajamas on his birthday while he makes them pancakes. (This doesn't have a whole lot to do with iced tea, but we felt it was worth mentioning.)

8. IT MADE SNAPPLE EXPLODE.

Founded in 1972 as a hip “new age” beverage company peddling various fruit drinks, Snapple experienced steady but slow growth throughout the 1980s. From 1987 to 1992, however, sales skyrocketed from $13 million to $205 million. The difference? The company debuted a lemon iced tea flavor in 1988 that innovated a “hot fill” process, pouring hot tea directly into bottles and removing the need for preservatives. Customers noticed a difference: by 1991, 15 percent of all iced tea sales were rung up by Snapple.

9. LIPTON HOLDS THE WORLD RECORD FOR THE LARGEST SERVING.

North Charleston via Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

Proving there is indeed a world record for everything, Lipton served up a mammoth 12.5-foot tall pitcher of iced tea in October 2015 that Guinness marked as the largest ever dispensed. The giant-sized receptacle needed eight large bags of tea, 2204 gallons of water, and an undisclosed amount of ice. The novelty was intended to commemorate Lipton’s 125th anniversary.

10. MAKING YOUR OWN? USE COLD WATER.

According to tea sommelier Cynthia Gold, brewing tea at home for chilled consumption should start with cold water, not warm, from the faucet. Cold water has more oxygen that better opens up the tea’s flavor during the boil. Gold also says to avoid richer or fermented teas, which can taste “horrendous” when chilled.

11. YOU CAN HAVE TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING.

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With flavonoids reputed to resist cancer and other health ailments, tea has a reputation for being healthy. This assumes you don’t drink over a gallon of it a day. According to NBC, an Arkansas man was hospitalized with kidney failure in 2015, and after ruling out other causes, physicians fingered iced tea as the culprit: the man admitted to drinking 16 eight-ounce glasses every day. A food chemical called oxalate present in the tea has been shown to damage kidneys when taken in excess—his daily consumption of 1500 mg was between three and 10 times the average. The moral: enjoy iced tea, but don’t endanger your organs over it.

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Eggo Came Up With 9 Perfect Recipes for Your Stranger Things Viewing Party
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As the return of Stranger Things draws near, you can expect to see fans break out their blonde wigs, hang up their Christmas lights, and play the Netflix show’s theme song on repeat. But Eggo knows the best way to celebrate the season two premiere on October 27 is with a menu featuring Eleven’s favorite snack. As Mashable reports, the brand has joined forces with Netflix to release a menu of gourmet waffle recipes to serve at your Stranger Things viewing party.

The lineup includes nine creative takes on Eggo waffles, each one named after an episode from the new season. The menu kicks off with “MADMAX,” a spin on chicken and waffles served with maple syrup and Sriracha. As the season progresses, pairings alternate between sweet (like “Will the Wise,” featuring ice cream and hot fudge) and savory (like “Trick or Treat, Freak,” a waffle version of a BLT). Check out the full menu below with directions from the experts at Eggo.

EPISODE 1: "MADMAX"

Eggo recipe.

1 Kellogg’s Eggo Homestyle Waffle
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon Sriracha
1 deli hot chicken tender

1. Toast Kellogg’s Eggo Homestyle Waffle according to package directions.

2. In a small microwave-safe bowl, combine syrup and Sriracha. Microwave on high for 15 to 20 seconds or until just warm.

3. Place warm chicken tender on top of waffle. Drizzle with syrup mixture. Serve with knife and fork.

EPISODE 2: "TRICK OR TREAT, FREAK"

Bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwiched between two waffles

4 Kellogg’s Eggo Homestyle waffles
2 lettuce leaves
4 thin tomato slices
1/8 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
8 slices turkey bacon, crisp-cooked and drained
3 tablespoons blue cheese salad dressing

1. Toast Kellogg’s Eggo Homestyle Waffles according to package directions.

2. Top two of the waffles with lettuce and tomato slices. Sprinkle with pepper. Top with bacon. Drizzle with salad dressing. Add remaining waffles. Cut each into halves. Serve immediately.

EPISODE 3: "THE POLLYWOG"

Eggo recipe.

1 1/2 cups vanilla ice cream, divided
3/4 cup strawberry ice cream
3 Kellogg’s Eggo Homestyle waffles or Kellogg’s Eggo Chocolatey Chip waffles
1 Banana, sliced
3 Strawberries, sliced
2 cups frozen reduced-fat, non-dairy whipped dessert topping, thawed
Assorted small candies (optional)
Gold-colored decorator’s sugar or edible glitter (optional)

1. Place vanilla and strawberry ice cream in the refrigerator for 20 to 30 minutes until slightly softened.

2. Meanwhile, on large piece of parchment paper or wax paper, trace 4 1/2-inch circles. Place paper on baking sheet. Working quickly, spoon 3/4 cup of the vanilla ice cream onto one circle. Flatten into a 1/2-inch-thick, 4 1/2-inch-diameter disk. Repeat with remaining vanilla ice cream and strawberry ice cream, making disks. Lightly cover with wax paper and freeze at least two hours or until firm.

3. Toast Kellogg's Eggo Homestyle Waffles according to package directions. Cool. Leave one waffle whole. Cut remaining waffles into quarters.

4. Remove paper from ice cream disks. Top with one of the vanilla ice cream disks and four waffle quarters, leaving a small space between pieces. Top with vanilla ice cream disk and more waffle pieces (always arrange waffle quarters so they align with waffle quarters on lower layers). Add the remaining vanilla ice cream disk and more waffle pieces. Top with strawberry ice cream disk and the remaining four waffle quarters. Wrap in plastic wrap. Gently press down on the stack. Freeze at least 3 hours or until firm.

5. Remove waffle stack from freezer. Remove plastic wrap. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes. Mound with whipped topping. Decorate with candies and gold sugar (if desired).

6. To serve, cut into four pieces, cutting between waffle quarters.

TIP: To easily form ice cream disks, place a 4 1/2-inch round cookie cutter on parchment or wax paper on baking sheet. Place ice cream inside of cookie cutter and smooth into solid disk. Remove cookie cutter and repeat for remaining ice cream disks. Freeze as directed above.

EPISODE 4: "WILL THE WISE"

Eggo waffle.

1 Kellogg’s Eggo Homestyle Waffle
1 tablespoon hot fudge ice cream topping
1/3 cup vanilla ice cream
1 tablespoon caramel ice cream topping
2 tablespoons aerosol whipped cream
1 tablespoon dry roasted peanuts

1. Toast Kellogg's Eggo Homestyle Waffle according to package directions. Heat fudge ice cream topping according to package directions.

2. Scoop ice cream onto center of waffle.

3. Drizzle with fudge and caramel toppings. Add whipped cream. Sprinkle with peanuts. Serve with knife and fork.

EPISODE 5: "DIG DUG"

Eggo waffle.

4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
6 Kellogg’s Eggo Homestyle waffles
3 tablespoons orange-colored decorator’s sugar
6 oblong chewy fruit-flavored green candies or 2 small green gumdrops, cut into 6 pieces

1. In a medium bowl, stir together cream cheese, pumpkin, powdered sugar, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, and vanilla. Cover and refrigerate at least two hours or until firm enough to shape.

2. Meanwhile, toast Kellogg’s Eggo Homestyle Waffles according to package directions.

3. Place orange-colored sugar in a small bowl. Using a small ice cream scoop or tablespoon, shape about 2 tablespoons of cream cheese mixture into pumpkin shape. Roll in orange sugar. Place on one waffle. Repeat with remaining cream cheese mixture, sugar and waffles.

4. Press green candy into each cream cheese ball for pumpkin stem. Serve with spreaders or knives to spread cream cheese mixture over waffles.

EPISODE 6: "THE SPY"

Eggo waffles.

3 frozen fully-cooked sausage links
2 tablespoons green bell pepper
2 tablespoons water
1 Kellogg’s Eggo Homestyle Waffle
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon Sriracha

1. In a small nonstick skillet, cook sausage links, bell pepper, and water, covered, over medium heat for five minutes. Remove pepper from skillet. Set aside. Continue cooking sausage, uncovered, about two minutes more or until browned, turning frequently.

2. Meanwhile, toast Kellogg's Eggo Homestyle Waffle according to package directions.

3. In a small microwave-safe bowl, combine syrup and Sriracha. Microwave on high for 15 to 20 seconds or until just warm.

4. Arrange sausage pieces and pepper pieces on waffle. Drizzle with syrup mixture. Serve with knife and fork.

"EPISODE 7"

Eggo waffle.

6 cups canned pineapple slices, drained
1 tablespoon flaked coconut, toasted
1 Kellogg’s Eggo Homestyle Waffle
2 tablespoons aerosol whipped cream
1 tablespoon macadamia nuts, chopped

1. Cut pineapple slices into four pieces.

2. Toast Kellogg’s Eggo Homestyle Waffle according to package directions. Place on serving plate. Top with coconut, pineapple slices, whipped cream, and macadamia nuts. Serve with knife and fork.

"EPISODE 8"

Eggo waffle.

6 eggs
1/3 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
6 Kellogg’s Eggo Homestyle waffles
1 tablespoon butter
3 slices bacon, crisp-cooked and crumbled
6 thin slices Monterey Jack cheese or cheddar cheese (3 oz. total)
Ketchup or salsa (optional)

1. In a medium bowl, beat together eggs, milk, salt, and pepper with a fork until well combined. Set aside.

2. Place frozen waffles in a single layer on baking sheet. Bake, uncovered, at 450°F for five minutes.

3. Meanwhile, melt butter in a large nonstick skillet. Pour in egg mixture. Cook, over medium heat, until mixture begins to set on bottom and around edges. With spatula, lift and fold partially cooked eggs, allowing uncooked portions to flow underneath. Continue cooking and folding for two to three minutes or until egg mixture is cooked through.

4. Top waffles with egg mixture, crumbled bacon, and cheese slices. Bake, uncovered, at 450°F about one minute more or until cheese melts. Serve with ketchup or salsa (if desired).

"EPISODE 9"

Eggo waffle.

6 Kellogg’s Eggo Homestyle waffles
6 slices mozzarella cheese or provolone cheese (6 oz. total)
24 slices pepperoni (about 2 oz. total)
1/3 cup pizza sauce

1. Place Kellogg's Eggo Homestyle waffles in single layer on baking sheet. Bake at 450°F for three minutes. Turn waffles over. Bake at 450°F for two minutes more.

2. Cut waffles into quarters. Return to baking sheet.

3. Cut cheese slices into pieces to fit on waffle quarters.

4. Top waffle quarters with cheese pieces, pepperoni slices and pizza sauce. Bake, uncovered, at 450°F for three to four minutes or until cheese melts. Serve warm.

Making the full nine-course menu might take a lot of work, but then again, it’s probably healthy to plan some cooking projects to break up your binge-watching session. Once you're done burning through all those waffles (and episodes), Eggo has a few suggestions for what to do with the empty box. Accessories like an Eggo flashlight or a bloody tissue box sound like the perfect way to make your Stranger Things costume stand out at this year’s Halloween party.

Instructions for crafting with leftover Eggo box.

Instructions for crafting with leftover Eggo box.

[h/t Mashable]

All images courtesy of Eggo.

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The Little-Known History of Fruit Roll-Ups
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David Kessler, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

The thin sheets of “fruit treats” known as Fruit Roll-Ups have been a staple of supermarkets since 1983, when General Mills introduced the snack to satisfy the sweet tooth of kids everywhere. But as Thrillist writer Gabriella Gershenson recently discovered, the Fruit Roll-Up has an origin that goes much further back—all the way to the turn of the 20th century.

The small community of Syrian immigrants in New York City in the early 1900s didn’t have the packaging or marketing power of General Mills, but they had the novel idea of offering an apricot-sourced “fruit leather” they called amardeen. A grocery proprietor named George Shalhoub would import an apricot paste from Syria that came in massive sheets. At the request of customers, employees would snip off a slice and offer the floppy treat that was named after cowhide because it was so hard to chew.

Although Shalhoub’s business relocated to Brooklyn in the 1940s, the embryonic fruit sheet continued to thrive. George’s grandson, Louis, decided to sell crushed, dried apricots in individually packaged servings. The business later became known as Joray, which sold the first commercial fruit roll-up in 1960. When a trade publication detailed the family’s process in the early 1970s, it opened the floodgates for other companies to begin making the distinctive treat. Sunkist was an early player, but when General Mills put their considerable advertising power behind their Fruit Roll-Ups, they became synonymous with the sticky snack.

Joray is still in business, offering kosher roll-ups that rely more heavily on fruit than the more processed commercial version. But the companies have one important thing in common: They both have the sense not to refer to their product as “fruit leather.”

[h/t Thrillist]

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