(Hibiscus sabdariffa) Hibiscus is a plant that is found throughout the world in warm, tropical climates. It is both an annual and a perennial plant. Used primarily in herbal tea recipes, hibiscus flowers are also used to make jams, syrups and cocktails. Hibiscus, or Roselle as it is also known, has many medicinal uses, together with the most appealing flavor as an herbal tea. It has a well-balanced, tart and astringent flavor with a deep red color in the cup.
While Hibiscus is used mostly for its color and flavor, it does have reported uses as a medicinal herb. It is high in Vitamin C and, with its great color and taste, hibiscus is a perfect addition to herbal formulas for children.
Brew 1 tsp of herb in 1 cup of water at 212º - steep for 5 minutes.
Hibiscus Simple Syrup
1 cup water
2 cups granulated sugar
½ cup hibiscus flowers
Bring water to a boil; reduce heat to low. Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Add hibiscus flowers and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain and discard the herbs. Allow to cool. (Extra syrup can be refrigerated in a sealed glass container.)
The syrup is delicious over pancakes, waffles, crepes, fruit, custards, ice creams and more. It can also be added to cocktail and juice recipes.
Spicy Hibiscus Poached Pears
3/4 cup hibiscus flowers
1 ½ cups boiling water
½ cup water
1 cup sugar
6 whole cloves
4 green cardamom pods
2 Tbsp. cinnamon chips
6 pears, peeled
Pour boiling water over hibiscus flowers and let steep for 10 minutes. Strain out the flowers.
In a saucepan combine hibiscus flower water with ½ cup water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and add sugar and spices, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.
Pour this sauce into a 9" x 13" glass baking dish. Add the pears, standing them upright. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 325° for 1 ½ hours.
To serve, carefully transfer the pears into dessert bowls, and spoon some of the sauce over the pears.
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Please Note: The information given here has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.