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Hibiscus :: Herb of the Month + Sun Brewed Hibiscus Tisane

Posted Jul 17 2009 10:16pm

Hibiscus sabdariffa

Another delivery arrived from Santa, a term of endearment my husband Peter and I use for UPS. One of our not so elf-like friends placed a small box at the front door. It was what I anticipated, a box of goodies I ordered from Mountain Rose Herbs. This box contained four bags of herbs, two of these bags of herbs are hibiscus [whole dried flower and powdered], which is our featured herb of the month for July.

Dried Hibiscus Petals and Powder

Hibiscus is one of many edible flowers that you can use to add interest and beauty to recipes. Hibiscus blossoms, also called Roselle, and known in Mexcio as Jamaica - pronounced “ha-MIKE-ah”, create one of the most beautiful and delicious floral infusions you can imagine.

As a beverage, hibiscus is great served warm or cold. Classic hibiscus tisane or infused drink is a wonderful way to help cool the body, and with the triple digit heat we have been experiencing this week in the high desert, a hibiscus drink is much appreciated. Here’s a bit of trivia, in North Africa, Hibiscus tea has long been known to act as a natural body refrigerant, and Pharaohs once drank this tea to refresh themselves in the desert heat.

Today I took advantage of the sun’s intense heat and making sun brewed hibiscus tisane.

Sun Brewed Hibiscus Tisane

This beverage contains 0% caffeine

1 quart [4 cups] of pure water
4 tablespoons dried hibiscus flower petals or 8 whole hibiscus blossoms
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice or raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar, optional
Sweeten with sweetener of choice [agave, stevia leaves], to taste

Place all ingredients, except sweetener, into a glass vessel and place outdoors in direct sunlight. Allow it to brew in the sun for 1-3 hours. Stir in sweetener of choice and serve.

Sun Brewed Hibiscus Tisane

The results yield a deep crimson color beverage. It has a pleasant fragrance and a tart cranberry-like flavor with a hint of citrus; it’s delicious.

Ways To Use Hibiscus

The petal blossoms are slightly acidic. Use fresh petals sparingly in salads or as garnish. The dried maroon petals are perfect for making tea infusions. Hibiscus combines well with mint.

Use the petals to infuse granitas, ice cream, and sorbets, or make popsicles! The powder form is great for making smoothies, dressings, and creams. Add color and flavor to all sorts of drinks and recipes using either the powder or dried flower petals.

Health Benefits

The red, pink, orange and yellow hues of the hibiscus flower signal its rich supply of carotenoids - like beta-carotene and lycopene, flavonoids, and phytonutrients that provide powerful antioxidants, namely vitamin C , all helping to maintain the body’s good health. Hibiscus also acts as a diruetic. Studies show it may also lower blood pressure, help reduce the oxidtion of LDL cholesterol [the cause of plaque build up arteries], and help maintain a healthy heart.

Herb of the Month Giveaway

Each month we feature an herb, highlight its benefits, showcase it in a raw vegan recipe, and offer a giveaway of an assortment of products featuring the herb of the month courtesy of our wonderful sponsor Mountain Rose Herbs.

At the end of this month July, a name will be drawn from the comment section of this post, and Mountain Rose Herbs will send an awesome assortment of products featuring Mint to the winning participant.

Thank you in advance for your participation and good luck!

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