Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Roselle or Hibiscus

Sometimes you take something for granted, don't really look at something, until you examine it from a different perspective. So it is with Hibiscus, also called Roselle, which my beautiful Bride wanted to introduce me to, in Thailand the dried Hibiscus flowers are steeped in hot water, then sweetened with a little sugar, to make a refreshing drink. We found that in the Caribbean, it is known as Sorrel, and we found some for sale in Kensington Market in Toronto. You may also be able to find it in good, or maybe bad, Chinese supermarkets, we've heard, but we haven't found it ourselves yet, but perhaps we're going to the wrong supermarkets. The best Roselle comes from the Sudan, but most of the World's production comes mainly from Thailand, and less so from China (Thailand has better quality).

Roselle is enjoyed in many countries, and by many names, Sorrel in the Caribbean, krajeab in Thailand, Jamaica in Latin America, mesta/meshta on the Indian subcontinent, rosela in Indonesia, asam paya or asam susur in Malaysia, the list goes on. It has many uses, including as a food colouring, the fibre can be used to make burlap, and the leaves can be used in making curries. It's also an excellent source of Vitamin C. But it is known more as a tea or fruit drink.

The recipe for Sorrel drink in the Caribbean is fairly simple, steep several of the dried Hibiscus flowers in hot water, with a chunk of bruised ginger, then enjoy.

You can see the bright red colour that results from the dark red of the dried Hibiscus flowers.

Let it cool and add a little ice for a refreshing drink, especially on a hot summer day.

What I learned from this, this brings me back to what I wrote firstly, is that when drinking the refreshing and slightly sour, which is probably why people sweeten it with sugar, is that it tasted very similar to my favourite tea of all, Rosehip tea from the German company Pompadour, which has as its ingredients Rosehip and Hibiscus Flowers, and that the taste that I liked in this tea, came from the Hibiscus rather than from the Rosehip!

Too, I had read, and didn't clue in, in the ingredient listing of several herbal teas that I have enjoyed, including ones from Celestial Seasonings, Hibiscus is somewhere, sometimes second or third, in the listing.


Sadie said...

This tea looks very refreshing. I like hibiscus tea for it's vibrant color. Lately I used freeze dried dragon fruit as tea, and it's just as pretty. It's not as tasty as hibiscus, but the fruit plumps up and taste very tangy.

Mike said...

That must be the red-fleshed dragon fruit? The more popular dragon fruit has white flesh, there is also a yellow-fleshed one.

Sadie said...

Yes, this is the dried red-fleshed dragon fruit. I have never seen the white or yellow ones before. I have never eaten a fresh one either but would love to try it sometime in the future.