Recently we did some experimenting with hibiscus tea. It seems most of the world already knows about this stuff and loves it – from Africa and the Middle East, to the Caribbean. It also has many names; Roselle in Saudi Arabia, karkade in Egypt. Flor De Jamaica in South America and other countries have their own name for it too!
I was taken with it because it is made from flowers and tea from flowers is just neat in itself. Then when you make it the colour is just beautiful – such a glorious deep red. Being a non caffeinated drink, it is good any time and you can also make it hot or cold.
The basic recipe I went with was a teaspoon of the dried flowers steeped in boiling water for five minutes. Then I poured it off into a cup and added about two teaspoons of sugar. You can also use honey. It was really nice and reminded us of hot blackcurrant drinks. The flavour is subtle but not unpleasant. We then also tried it cold. I did the same recipe of a teaspoon of dried flowers per cup but I also added a slice of fresh ginger while it was steeping. After adding the sugar and making sure it was dissolved, I added lemon juice and put it in the fridge to cool. The recipe I was trying to follow, I found here[http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/000172.html]. I didn’t have it handy at home but I thought the liquid sweeteners such as agave nectar would be perfect for making this drink.
I made the ice version on a Canterbury Nor’wester day with the temperature sweeping over 30 degrees. It was a very nice refreshing drink on such a day. It would be perfect as a non-alcoholic drink at a barbecue. It is so refreshing and the colour is very dramatic. Though apparently it does stain quite badly so perhaps not one for the children.
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