I wish this next story was my own, but it’s not. It’s my mother’s.
She and my dad traveled down to Brazil to visit family and they stopped in a little artisanal shop in the countryside of Sao Paulo state. A rather old, withered kind of man ran a little shop and at the time of my parents’ arrival, he was harvesting dried hibiscus flowers and bagging them up for tea!
Oh the joy!
She brought back a tin full for me and it smells like a juicy tropical heaven baked in the sweet spring sun. Are hibiscus flowers edible? Because that’s exactly what I wanted to do.
What if I made my own fresh hibiscus tea and even attempted to dry some flowers to store for later?
Oooooooh, the DIYer in me surged through my nerves!
- Native to tropic and subtropic regions, the hibiscus plant has several hundred different varieties of the hibiscus plant.
- Hibiscus tea is more commonly made from Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, native to East Asia and has vivid red petals.
- In Hawaiian tradition, if a girl wears a hibiscus flower in her left ear, she is married or in a relationship. If worn on the right ear, she’s single!
- High in Vitamin C and anti-oxidants.
- Aids in lowering blood pressure and cholesterol and is a natural anti-inflammatory.
- Generally speaking, Hibiscus tea is safe to drink, though not advised when pregnant or breastfeeding.
DRYING HIBISCUS FLOWERS
- harvest your hibiscus flowers
- pick the petals off individually or remove the stamen (the long thing in the middle that has the pollen at the end of it) and the green leaf cap at the base of the flower if you want to keep the flower intact.
- give them a good rinse in a colander and pat them dry.
- in a tea towel, an herb net dryer, or a clean old sheet that you don’t mind getting stained, arrange the hibiscus petals in full sun (this also works well if you have a dehydrator in your kitchen for 45 minutes to an hour).
- Let them fully dry in the sun. If it takes more than a day, move them inside so they don’t get wet with dew overnight. The key is to remove the moisture.
- Store dried petals in an airtight container!
- Use 10 fresh hibiscus flowers or 1/4 of dried hibiscus petals for every 4 cups of freshly boiled water
- let steep for 10-20 minutes, depending on how strong you like your hibiscus tea
- add lime juice, mint and/or honey to taste!
I hope you enjoyed this one as much as I did, tea lovers!
Keep on steeping,