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From the Eco-Soul Kitchen: Rebirth Brunch

Today's recipe: Agave-Sweetened Tea and Watercress Salad

Sara Remington

Agave-Sweetened Double-Orange Pekoe Tea

Yield: about one gallon

When it comes to non-alcoholic, beverage staples from The South, "Sweet Tea" will consistently be in the top two along with lemonade. And it ain't called "sweet" for nothing. Although "Sweet Tea" usually comes pre-sweetened with white sugar, most people add just a lil' bit more of some kind of sweetener when it hits the table.

I created this equally sweet version that will satisfy the snootiest of Sweet Tea connoisseurs, and won't give drinkers an insulin spike. Agave syrup is becoming a popular food and beverage sweetener in general, but it is especially good for non-insulin dependent diabetics, as it is a low glycemic index sugar substitute.

It's pleasantly sweet, can be used in a range of dishes, and lacks that chemical-ly taste of a lot of chemical sweeteners like Acesulfame-K (Sunette, Sweet & Safe, Sweet One), Aspartame (Equal, Canderel and NutraSweet), and Sucralose (Splenda.)

In the past, agave was only available in health food stores, but now many conventional grocery stores carry it as well. If your store doesn't, get five of your friends to call or write requesting it. That should encourage the grocer to carry it.

I know it's not quite summer yet, but that has never stopped Sweet Tea aficionados from filling their glasses to the rim with ice cubes. So I intentionally over sweetened this tea in order for it to even out once ice is added. Personally, I like this beverage hot in the winter and spring, so I reduce the agave syrup by 1/2 cup and enjoy it in a mug, right after I remove the tea bags.

12 cups cold water

2 2-inch sticks of cinnamon

12 orange pekoe black tea bags