Hibiscus, the tropical flower that blooms in the heat of summer is nature’s amazing gift. I have heard of hibiscus tea and its benefits. Normally, it is made using red hibiscus flowers. There is a pink variety growing in my yard with a crown of vibrant flowers. I am sure the nutrients and quality of all flowers are the same except the pigments. So I decided to make a tea using those flowers.
Hibiscus tea is made using red flowers called red sorrel or roselle, that are dried. I did not have the patience to wait for my pink flowers to dry completely, so used them after drying for 2 days. I have left some more flowers to dry in my basement for future use.
- 8-10 dried hibiscus flowers
- 4 cups boiled water
- 3 tbsp maple syrup or honey
- 1 lime to juice
- Rinse the dried hibiscus flowers in water.
- Take the boiled water in a pot, add the flowers and let it steep for 10 minutes.
- Pour the water from the pot into cups.
- Stir in maple syrup to sweeten it.
- Squeeze lime juice until it changes color.
- Add any other flavorings (if desired).
The other ingredients to brighten it would be ginger, mint, lemon juice or orange flower water. I have to try it in different combinations soon.
I did not start this experiment with a proper recipe, thinking it would taste good on its own. NO…not exactly! Let me talk about the issues I faced. When I dropped the flowers in hot water and as it was steeping, the tea turned black, to my utter dismay. Maybe, pink flowers are not as good as red…I was confused! I added maple syrup to make it sweet. Still, something was missing. It didn’t have a punch and the color was…blah! Then, I added a few drops of lime juice. Tada…it was like adding phenolphthalein indicator in a chemistry lab while doing titration. The color changed and on adding more juice it turned to a delicate pink. I wanted to run around the town screaming, ‘Eureka’! Instead, I sat down and enjoyed my drink.
Hibiscus tea known as Karkadé, in Arabic, is popular in the Arab world, Northern parts of Africa and Caribbean countries. It lowers blood pressure, stomach irritations, circulatory, excretory and respiratory disorders. Hibiscus tea is rich in vitamin C and treats loss of appetite, boosts energy, combats fatigue and stress. No wonder it was a favorite drink of the pharaohs of Egypt.
Drink it hot or after it cools down completely. Add ice to chill it as a summer drink. It tastes good with the maple and lime flavors. A pinch of salt would kick it up a notch. I would definitely call it a refreshing, health tonic.