Ever since a small conversation this morning I’ve had roselle on my mind. Roselle is known by a multitude of names in various parts of the world. A few of them are Hibiscus Flower (not the ornamental flower), Flor de Jamaica, Jamaican Sorrel, Gongura (the short variety). Hibiscus Flower is really a misnomer since the part used isn’t the flower at all but the calyx seed pod after the flower has finished blooming, similar to okra (Bhindi / Lady’s Fingers) which is also in the Hibiscus family.
After the flower drops off, the fleshy succulent-like calyx that remains on the plant is bright red and sour in flavor similar to cranberries. When I was growing up in India we had roselle growing in the garden every year. It came up wild like a weed and wasn’t a deliberately planted crop. We used to make jam with it. More info about Roselle here: (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roselle_(plant)).
Today I got out my substantial stash of dried Flor de Jamaica (I buy it in bulk at a store that caters mostly to Hispanics) and made cold and hot infusions. Both the cold and hot water infusions immediately took on a bright red color.
Agua de Jamaica is a popular beverage in Mexico and is commercially available in several forms. These are obviously very sugary preparations. Made from scratch at home, one could choose a preferred sweetener. Had I thought of it I would have included home grown stevia leaves in today’s infusions.
I am now enjoying a Flor de Jamaica margarita using the cold infusion I made today. I sweetened it with some of my homemade wild violet blossom syrup (https://pleasantpeasantcuisine.wordpress.com/2015/08/12/wild-violet-blossom-syrup/). Ok. I know. Although Roselle is purported to have health benefits as a antihypertensive among other things, this may not exactly seem to fit in with my usually health conscious posts. But this is Friday night!