'You eat with your eyes first', admittedly we all do.
It was a Ruby Red drink, with a slice of lemon on the side and a two-leaf spearmint floating at the top and ice cubes soaked in this rich color. It looked so perfect.
Does this tickle your taste buds enough?
Well, if they do, we're ready to share the secret recipe for this hibiscus drink.
The main ingredient of this hibiscus drink is the Hibiscus Flower, particularly the Roselle species of the Hibiscus family.
But before I spill out the Roselle tea recipe to you, let me tell you something about this beautiful flower.
The Red Hibiscus Flower and the Ruby Red Roselle
The botanical name of the hibiscus flower is Hibiscus rosa-sinensis and the Roselle is Hibiscus sabdariffa.
Roselle is what is abundant in the hills of Meghalaya and is called 'Jajew' in the Khasi language. It is mainly harvested in the months of November and December. It has ruby red coloured flowers and gives a sour and fruity taste. Both the leaves and the flowers of the roselle plant are edible and it is one of the indigenous food of Meghalaya.
Did you know the Hibiscus family is also popular around the world?
Around the World with Hibiscus
- Let me begin with the beautiful and exotic Malaysia! When Malaysia received its freedom, it was in need of a flower that would symbolize its identity. The Hibiscus was chosen among 7 other flowers, after careful consideration. They chose the Hibiscus Flower because of its big beautiful red petals. It also blooms throughout the year without much attention needed.
- If you have just landed in The Hawaiian Islands, because you are a guest, they will greet you with a bright yellow colored Hibiscus flower. Why? The Hawaiians have adopted the Yellow Hibiscus as their State Flower. In Hawaiian culture, Hibiscus is a symbol of old royalty and communicates power and respect. It’s commonly given to visitors, state officials and tourist.
- Ever heard of Agua de Jamaica? It is similar to the iced tea recipe I will share. In Latin America, they consume abundant amounts of Agua de Jamaica. This drink is known by many names, Thai school children drink "grajaeb".
- Karkadé in Africa and is especially popular in North and Central Africa. Where they used either the roselle or the hibiscus variety.
- The Panamanian's drink their hibiscus tea mixed with cinnamon and nutmeg and call it "saril".
- To the people of the Caribbean, hibiscus tea is known as Sorrel.
- The Italian’s drink hibiscus tea as a hot tea and call it "carcadè".
- In India, Hibiscus is used for worship and hair colouring.
- And in our part of world, Meghalaya, it is one of the indigenous food of the Bhoi tribe. It is cooked along with dry fish. Makes a perfect combo with fatty food such as pork. The locals also used it to make delicious pickles out of it. Apart from cooking, they also used the flowers as a mordant for making natural dyes! The Garo tribe called it 'galda' which they prepared by boiling it with pork, fish or chicken.
If you have some hibiscus flowers or roselle petals, you will need to dry and powder them, use the red hibiscus varieties for the ruby red colour. Store them in containers and you can use it for different purposes.
How to dry Roselle calyces or petals?
There are two ways in which you can dry your Roselle petals or calyces. The first and one of the most easiest and less energy consuming method is drying them under the sun. Although this may take more time than usual depending on the severity of the sun, it one of the most practiced methods.
The other method involves using an electric dehydrator whereby you use electricity to dry your Roselle petals.
If you plan on using Roselle petals to make Roselle tea, you can always start growing the plant in your own garden. It does not require much attention and you can re plant the seeds after each harvest and continue to reap the benefits of this ruby red plant every year.
How to prepare hibiscus tea?
As promised, let me share our Zizira recipe of how to prepare hibiscus tea:
Simple Roselle Iced Tea Recipe
- 2 spoons Roselle powder – You can get some roselle petals on our shop if you would need some.
- 2 cups Water
- 1/4 cup Honey (optional as a sweetener)
- 1 tablespoon fresh Lime Juice
- Mint and sliced lemon to garnish.
- Take two cups of water and add the roselle powder, stir it well.
- Mix in the honey and lime juice till completely combined.
- Strain the tea before you pour it into a glass.
- This is an iced tea recipe; you can chill it in the refrigerator for a couple of hours or just add some ice cubes. Either way it tastes delicious!
- Next step simply enjoy this refreshing roselle iced tea like all the people around the world do.
So now that you have the recipe, let me tell you that it comes with a lot of health benefits.
What is this red hibiscus tea good for?
Well, here are some Health Benefits of the Hibiscus Family:
- Hibiscus is rich in vitamin C and Antioxidants.
- Amongst many benefits, hibiscus is known to help reduce blood pressure and other liver diseases.
- It also promotes weight loss, increase iron and hair growth.
Hibiscus Tea can be taken daily to experience the health benefits of this plant.
Hibiscus may affect estrogen levels, when taken in excess amounts. It is also not meant for people with low blood pressure.
Do consult your physician if you have any doubts.
At Zizira we encourage natural and healthy living, we hope that this Roselle Tea recipe has added a little flavour to your everyday life.
Well, if you have bought some Zizira’s Dried roselle Petals, then cha ching!
Here are some more delicious recipes using roselle petals
- Roselle Stir Fry Sauce
- Roselle Tea with Ing Makhir Ginger
- Roselle Cake
- Roselle Pancakes using Roselle infused Honey
Have you ever tasted hibiscus before? Tell me about it in the comments below.