Foodie Blogroll

Monday, April 18, 2011

Agua de Flor de Jamaica (Hibiscus Tea)

We are getting into some hot weather lately, so I thought I would bring to you a nice refreshing drink... agua de Jamaica. A refreshing beverage with it's deep ruby color makes for a stunning drink to look at. Popular in the Caribbean, Central America and Mexico, it's basically a tea made from hibiscus calyces. I picked some up when I found it in our Save-A-Lot store.
Which is also where I found some piloncillo a Mexican brown sugar that is made from pure, unrefined cane sugar that is pressed into a cone shape. The taste is very similar to brown sugar with a molasses flavor, but does not contain any molasses. You can use it in recipes like you would brown sugar. In Mexico they make it into a drink (agua de panela), like they do with tamarind, (agua de tamarind) and flor de jamaica. You could probably find both in a Mexican or Latin market. To use the piloncillo warm it in the microwave for 20-30 seconds first to soften it enough to cut, grate it if finner sugar is needed.

To make the TEA:

1/2 cup Dried Flower of Jamaica
4 cups water
1/3 cup cane sugar "panela" (more or less to taste)
cinnamon stick, ginger, cloves, nutmeg (optional)
Jamaican rum (optional)
Lime & fresh Mint (garnish optional)
Soak the dried flowers in the water for about 2 hours, or in a sauce pan pour 2 cups of water boiling water over the dried flowers, you can add the sugar, ginger and cinnamon stick at this time. Steep the flowers in the water for about 20 minutes, then add the remaining 2 cups of water.

Strain out the flowers and chill & serve it over Ice. I strained it right into my glass filled with ice. I used the boil method so the sugar would dissolve nicely. I didn't use the cinnamon, spices or rum this time, because I wanted to taste the flavor of the hibiscus first.

It is very refreshing a little tangy which I liked, of course you can add sugar to your taste. Go ahead and add some rum...
...give it that Caribbean flair, and feel like you are in the islands mon!

Hibiscus tea has some health benefits is high in vitamin C and studies have shown that by drinking it it can lower high blood pressure and reduce high cholesterol levels. So enjoy.

The latest update on my baby pineapple...I wanted to show you the purple flowers that pop out on it. They start to bloom at the bottom then work their way up. It was hard to get a good photo of them with this camera.