When i first visited Haiti I noticed how much they used the hibiscus flower for tea and medicinally,
Today hibiscus is popular for its potential to reduce high blood pressure. studies show promise for both the tea and hibiscus plant extract to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. The tropical plant has even been used successfully as part of an herbal extract mixture to treat head lice.
I wondered if i could use it in my cooking for its health giving properties, and to add some extra flavour or just to add some colour, just like other edible flowers, like roses and violets. and yes you can for example, you can use the dried flowers to produce a tea it is known by many names around the world and is served both hot and cold.
The beverage is known for its red colour, tart flavour, and high vitamin C content.
Powdered it can coat truffles or infuse cream for ganache meringues or sugar syrups.
You can even use it in meat marinades, its especially good for lamb!
How to do it
Find a Healthy pesticide-free hibiscus for the best flavour, use the hibiscus sabdariffa variety.
Pick the flowers off of the plant 1 by 1, and put them into a container. go through the flowers, and pull off the yellow stamens in the centre. discard but leave the stems on the flower for now, this will make them easier to handle during washing and drying.
Clean the flowers
Dip the flowers in salted water to remove any dust and insects. 1 blossom at a time, dip the flowers into the water, gently swish it around, then lift it out and set it aside. Check and repeat as necessary.
Spread the flowers out on a drying rack. You can use a cake cooling rack, If it’s a windy put another rack on top Or Secure the flowers with thin wire
Keep the flowers at an angle under the wire, so that the wire goes between the petals.
Leave the flowers outside in the sun, but bring them inside at night.
Keep doing this every day until the flowers dry completely. They will shrink and turn brittle. How long this takes depends on how dry or humid it is, as well as how sunny it is. Expect to wait at least 3 days.
It is very important that you bring the flowers indoors for the evening, as any morning dew will reverse the drying process.
Keep the flowers in the sunniest spot on a patio, or balcony.
Check on the flowers once or twice daily until they dry. If you notice that the flowers are only drying on 1 side, turn them.
Once dried store in a jar with a lid on if you are using them as an inclusion or grind the flowers into a powder if you want to use them for coating truffles.
Store in a dark place