Infusing Hibiscus

| July 21, 2008 | 2 Comments
  • 2 Comments

hibiscusMy drink of choice at taquerias has always been a large, refreshing glass of jamaica, the brightest and probably healthiest agua fresca in the glass barrel lineup. The beautifully scarlet infusion of hibiscus flowers is rich in Vitamin C and carries a tartness that I love. The dried flowers can be found in any Latino market, or, if you prefer, organic flowers are sold in bulk at markets like Rainbow Grocery. Brewed in boiling water, sweetened with honey, spritzed with a touch of fresh lime or orange, and then served over ice, it’s a delicious and healthful way to banish soda and other bottled drinks.

Abundant in Australia, where it’s known as roselle, hibiscus has recently been exchanging its Mexican and health-food togs for an elegant spin in the world of cocktails. A Sydney-based company, Wild Hibiscus, has begun preserving the whole flowers in syrup. A single bud and a spoonful of its sweet, rosy syrup transform a glass of prosecco into one of the prettiest drinks around. It’s just as easy to dress up a seasonal bellini or brighten a vodka martini.

For now, you can order online — a small jar of 11 flowers and a serious party pack of 50 — but keep an eye out for the jars soon in local markets.

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About the Author ()

Thy Tran writes literary nonfiction about food, the rituals of the kitchen, and the many ways eating and cooking both connect and separate communities around the world. She co-authored the award-winning guide, Kitchen Companion, and her work has appeared in numerous other books, including Asia in the San Francisco Bay Area: A Cultural Travel Guide and Cooking at Home with the Culinary Institute of America. Her writing has been featured in The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Fine Cooking and Saveur. A recipient of a literary grant from the San Francisco Arts Commission, Thy is currently working on a collection of essays about how food changes in families across time and place. Though trained as a professional chef, she works on cookbooks by day, then creates literary chapbooks by night. An old letterpress and two cabinets of wood and lead type occupy a corner of her writing studio, for she is as committed to the art and craft of bookmaking as she is to the power of words themselves. In addition to writing, editing, teaching and printing, Thy remains active in local food justice and global food sovereignty movements. Visit her website, wanderingspoon.com, to learn more about her culinary adventures.
  • Jeanie

    Wow! This is so beautiful! I just bought a jar from Village Market, the wonderful store in the Ferry Building Marketplace.

  • http://hibiscustea hibiscus tea

    I first tried hibiscus tea at a health spa in france and enjoyed the taste. Once I discovered about medical benefits, I was extremely determined to buy some. Couldn’t find it at all in any nearby suppliers but purchased on line. I’ve been consuming about three or more cups per day (cold) for around 15 days currently and also latest blood pressure reading was the best it’s been in Several years! I highly recommend.