Friday, July 30, 2010

Old Wives' Tale Or Not?

I'm sure some of you have heard that milk will go sour during a thunderstorm -- that thunder or lightning somehow cause it to turn, even in the refrigerator.  I've had this happen.  Not often, but a few times, and while I don't think it's the thunder and lightning in particular that are causing the problem, I think there may be something about the humidity, temperature changes or barometric pressure that can cause the milk to go bad.

The same thing happens occasionally with my iced tea.  I brew my ice tea by pouring boiling water over tea leaves and letting it steep for a while, then adding sugar.  I don't make sun tea because, for me, it spoils within a day.  I assume that's because it hasn't been heated to a high enough temperature.  I don't use cold-brew tea bags for the same reason.  I don't leave a pitcher of tea on the counter for long; it goes into the fridge as soon as it's cool enough to do so without affecting the fridge's temperature too much.  Also, I wash the pitcher between batches.

Yesterday I made a pitcher of tea as usual.  It had been on the counter for a while, so it was no longer hot, but still a little warm.  I decided to have a glass before I put it away in the fridge.  On first sip, I noticed it had already started sour.  Coincidentally...or not...some really dark storm clouds had just moved in, with a little thunder and lightning, and the temps had quickly dropped by about 15 degrees.

Google searches say these occurrences are nothing but coincidental similarities to some old wives' tales and that a storm can't affect milk or tea this way.  From experience, I disagree.

What do you think?  Has this every happened to any of you with milk, tea, or some other food? (I've read it can happen to clam chowder, also.)  Or do you think it's time for me to start taking my tea in the loony bin?


July Grocery/Pantry Challenge:

Items Purchased Today (store brand unless indicated):  None

Amount Spent Today (including tax):

Amount Spent To Date in July (including tax): $183.80

Search & Win


Lisa B. said...

I've never heard of this or noticed, but I just bought a whole gallon of milk yesterday and the storm didnt effect it. I'll have to pay closer attention.

I have quit making sun tea for the exact reason you stated. What's up with that I wonder? Maybe you're right about it not getting hot enough, but my mom says it's cause they changed the way they process the tea. Who knows. But it does get irritating.

Sheila said...

I've never heard of this either. I haven't made sun tea since the 80's because it always tasted sour to me. I too pour boiling water over my tea and let it steep but I have started leaving it out until it is cool because one of the shelves in my fridge cracked. I don't know if it was because I was putting the tea in when it was too hot or not but I'm not taking any more chances. There was one pitcher that was slightly off a few weeks ago but that could have just been me--no one else commented on the taste--and I'm slightly off any way!! Have a great weekend!!

Leanne said...

I've heard the one about a thunder storm curdling milk, but it's never happened to me. Though we don't really get good thunder storms here so that's probably why:)

Iced tea doesn't seem to sour as quickly if it's unsweetened. I make peach and raspberry but don't add any sugar because it's really only for Robert, I'll have the odd glass, but we just sweeten it with honey as we drink it.

Annie Jones said...

Lisa: It hasn't happened to my milk for a long time, but it happens to my tea about twice a year, it seems.

Another reason I don't make sun tea is because it's hard to get it strong enough to suit me; I like my tea quite strong. Maybe they do process tea differently than in the past.

Sheila: I hadn't thought about it cracking a shelf, but I guess it could. I let mine cool some first because I don't want it warming up the fridge too much.

Annie Jones said...

Leanne: We are sweet tea drinkers, and I'm sure you are right that sweet tea sours more quickly than unsweetened tea. I like honey on things (biscuits, cornbread, etc.), but I don't really like it in my tea. I've been experimenting with agave nectar as a sweetener. I'm not sure if it's available in Ireland (its a product of Mexico), and it's a bit expensive, but it flows like pancake syrup and, to me, tastes just like sugar. And it dissolves in cold drinks!

Now I just have to convince Shane that he'll like it just as well as sugar.

Frances said...

I have never heard this old wives' tale and my MIL is a treasury of them. My mom knows a lot, but MIL beats her hands down and believes almost all of them.

My tea doesn't last long enough to go bad. :-)

Shelli said...

It's never happened to me. With milk or tea. Of course, I don't drink naturally made tea. I like the powder I just pour cold water into. I didn't even know that tea could go bad. The loony bin sounds nice, can I join you?

Annie Jones said...

Frances: Our tea usually doesn't either; that's why it was so noticeable. We go through a gallon of iced tea every 24 hours, more or less. Used to be more, but I have to quit the caffeine around 6:00 p.m., and I haven't found a decaf tea that I like.

Shelli: We can tell everyone were on vacation. ;)

Leanne said...

I'll maybe pick up some of agave nectar, I've seen it in health food shops. The only reason I use the honey is because, as you say, its easier disolved in cold drinks than regular sugar, but I'm not nuts about the taste of honey which is why I tend to lay off the ice tea and only have the odd glass of it. I've a jar of heather honey from just down the road at the minute and it packs some wallop:)

Jill said...

Hi Annie,
Saw you became a follower of my blog and I just wanted to stop by and say hi and thank you! What a lovely blog you have! I came in on a good post, I love tea, hot or cold! My Mom use to make sun tea all the time. I usually cool my tea a bit before placing it in the pitcher, especially if it's glass. Then I'll add sugar before putting it in the fridge. I use lipton decaf tea bags, my favorite so far.
But sugar tea definitely needs prompt refigeration. I've never heard of those things going bad in a storm? But if you have a container too hot put in the fidge near milk it could change the temps and spoil that as well as other things. Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Shelli said...

How come your end of the month post showed up in my reader, but not here on your blog? Hmmm...

Annie Jones said...

Shelli: I found a couple of formatting errors in it after I published it, but when I tried to fix them, the formatting in the entire post got messed up badly. I don't know if it was a Blogger problem or my own, but I haven't had time or energy to fix it yet. It went live on the reader before I saved it back to draft status, so that's why you could see it there but not on my blog. I'll try to fix it tomorrow, or at least mention it in a new post.