Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Syrup of Hibiscus and other uses

I've used packaged syrup and jam product in drinks before. I've had some success with it but not quite what I am looking for.

I have also had Hibiscus (also known as Chinese Rose, Rose of Sharon, Roselle to name a few) plants of 4 different types in my yards at one time or another in my life. I found a recipe or two online I thought I'd share and I'll post more of my results when I have time. We currently have our eyes turned towards the tropics as 3 different storms are brewing.

Red Hibiscus is high in vitamin C and said to relieve cold and cough.
In Haiti they steep 3 fresh flowers in hot water for 5 minutes for a tea. Filipinos place 10 dried blossoms in 2 cups of water and boil down to 1 cup for a cold remedy. Cubans steep 3 green leaves for 5 minutes to calm the nerves.

In Africa, they are cooked as a side-dish eaten with ground peanuts. They may be used for stews, sauces, pie filling or jellies and may be almost like cranberry sauce in taste. It is not necessary to add pectin to make a firm jelly. The calyces have pectin and, in Pakistan, have been used as a source of pectin for the fruit-preserving industry. In the West Indies they drink a lemonade-like beverage made from the calyces. In Egypt, the same drink is enjoyed cold in the summer, hot in winter. In Jamaica, a traditional Christmas drink is made with calyces and a little grated ginger and sugar to taste, pouring boiling water over it and letting it stand overnight. Then served with ice and often rum. A similar spiced drink has long been made in West Tropical Africa.

The young leaves and tender stems are eaten raw in salads or cooked as greens or with other vegetables, meat, or fish. They are also added to curries. The seeds have been ground to a meal for food in Africa and have also been roasted as a substitute for coffee. Nutritionists have found calyces to be high in calcium, niacin, riboflavin and iron.

After some research it seems that all hibiscus are eadible. I have also found this warning:

"Due to the diuretic action of this herb the following drug interactions are possible: increased risk of toxicity with anti-inflammatory analgesics; if hypokalemia occurs possible antagonism with antiarrhythmics and potentiation of muscle relaxants; antagonizes antidiabetic (hypoglycemic) drugs; may potentiate and/or interfere with antihypertensives; may potentiate lithium therapy; when taken with corticosteroids there is a risk for hypokalemia; may potentiate other diuretics and increase the risk of hypokalemia. Due to the antihypertensive (hypotensive) action of this herb the following interactions are possible: when taken with anesthetics an increased hypotensive effect; potentiation of antihypertensives; when taken with diuretics difficulty with diuresis and hypertension may result; antagonism of sympathomimetics".

Source :

You do what is best for you. My children, myself, and our dog have all eaten the petals right off the bush in our back yard and we personally have had no problems. I think they taste very mild almost of a citrusy, minty, subdued, onion. You can use the leaves or flowers (calyx). There are many varieties with single double and triple petalled blooms.

Please make sure you know what you are using for sure is a hibiscus.

You can purchase dried hibiscus petals from health food stores as well. As with any fruit or vegetable, wash it well before use, then making an incision around the tough base of the calyx remove seed capsule or stamen. Hibiscus generally open in the morning and close at night. The blooms only last 24 hours. I suggest getting blooms in the morning and refrigerating them before they open. They will open when you bring them out of the fridge. Flowers can be added to salads for color. Flowers can be frozen whole into containers of water and floated in a punch bowl. (I'm thinking Hibiscus ice cubes.)

Hibiscus Syrup (Microwave Method)

  • Petals of 10 large hibiscus flowers chopped slightly
  • 1/4 cup of fresh lemon or lime juice
  • 1 cup of boiling water
  • 1 cup of sugar (maybe I'll try some honey)
Cover petals with lemon or lime juice in a deep bowl. Microwave for 2 minutes on high. Place the sugar and water in a saucepan, stirring continuously, heat until boiling and sugar is all dissolved. Add the petals that have been cooked with the juice to the sugar mixture. Stir well. Cook until reduced by 1/3 - about an hour. Strain or double strain to remove petals until syrup is free of debris. The syrup keeps for a year, unopened.

Hibiscus Syrup

  • 5 cups sugar
  • 4 cups water
  • 4 cups calyces, chopped
Heat the sugar and water in a large saucepan until the sugar is completely dissolved. Add the calyces and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer gently until the volume of liquid is reduced by a third. Remove from the heat and strain. Bottle the syrup while still hot into clean bottles and seal. The strained calyces can be eaten. This syrup will keep for at least a year. Once opened, it will keep for months if refrigerated.

Hibiscus Tea

  • 6 cups water
  • 4 oz. dried hibiscus flowers
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
  • sugar or honey to taste
Bring water to a boil. Remove from heat. Add hibiscus blossoms and allow to steep, covered. When cool, add sugar or honey to taste, and lime juice. Drink hot or chill.

I am working on this. I think it may be a great new liquor in fusion as well. I will update as soon as I get results I like and as my crop allows.

All of my info is from these sites.

If you are interested, they have a lot more information check them out.

1 comment:

Tiare said...

I`m a sucker for Hibiscus syrup and especially i like to add a handful of dried Hibiscus flowers to my homemade Grenadine, recipe "3 from Seamus blog: