Shakespeare said, “That which you call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”Hibiscus is commonly called Red Sorrel, Jamaican Sorrel or Florida Cranberry. Whatever the name this little flower packs a delicious punch.
Sorrell is native to Central and West Africa. It is grows in abundance in Jamaica and Florida. In this warmer climate, it grows all season long and produces beautiful, red flavorful calyces. The calyces of the roselle flower are used to make a variety of jams, sauces and teas.
In the Caribbean, roselle is used to make a festive Christmas drink. Bakers can substitute roselle for rhubarb when making fruit crisp or pie. The seeds, which are high in protein, can be roasted and brewed like coffee, or ground and added to soups and salads. The nutrient-rich calyces can either be stored frozen or dried for making cordials, punches, and jams. The calyces can also be used to add color and flavor to herb teas. You have to be sure to harvest calyces before they turn brown on the plant and separate them from the seeds before using them in recipes.
The health benefits of Hibiscus Tea include relief from high blood pressure and high cholesterol, as well as digestive, immune system, and inflammatory problems. It helps to cure liver disease and reduces the risk of cancer. It can also speed up the metabolism and help in healthy, gradual weight loss. Of course, the FDA has not approved sorrel for any of these uses, but the research is on-going.
The red calyces are a rich source of antioxidants along with sources of key nutrients such as Vitamin B2 (riboflavin), Vitamin C (ascorbic acid), Vitamin B3 (niacin), iron, calcium as well as carotene. This little flower is loaded with benefits for your body.
As someone who has an immune system that is suppressed by Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE), I am constantly on the lookout for natural remedies to address my hyper autoimmune response. My husband drinks his daily cup or two for his blood pressure. And while I can’t promise that it will operate the same in your body as it does in ours, we have had great success in addressing these pesky issues.
My best advice is to give Hibiscus Tea a try. Even if, the health issues don’t go away, you still will have a new love that you can enjoy either hot or cold. And for those who like a bit of spice, you can add some Jamaican rum! I want to encourage you to try Hibiscus Tea, so you’ll find my favorite recipe for Hibiscus Lemonade below. It’s a perfect addition to any day.
2 ½ cups water
1 ½ cups sugar
½ cup Hibiscus Tea
2 ½ cups of water
1 cup lemon juice
~Heat 2 1/2 cups of water and 1 1/2 cups of sugar to a boil and boil until the sugar dissolves.
~Remove from heat.
~Add the Hibiscus Tea and let the mixture cool to room temperature.
~Strain the flowers out of the sugar mixture.
~Add the strained sugar mixture to a pitcher.
~Add 1 cup of lemon juice and 2 1/2 cups of water.
~Stir and taste. Add more sugar as necessary.
~Drop lemon slices and ice in chilled glasses and pour the lemonade over the ice.
Long Walk Spring Farm is a proud partner of Prairie View A&M University, College of Agriculture and Human Sciences as a Specialty Crop Test Farm.