The beautiful flowers of the hibiscus tree might fall right after they bloom, but their life does not end then. Once dried, they are very high in Vitamin C and antioxidants and a natural diuretic. Use them in teas, candies, baked goods, and delicate savory meals.
Hibiscus flowers have a tart fresh flavor reminiscent of warm summer breezes and beach vacations.
Steep petals in hot water to make Agua de Jamaica, a very popular Jamaican hibiscus tea drink. Mix the tea with ice, sugar, and lime juice to make a Cambodian favorite. Or use in a herbal tea blend with black or green tea leaves and other spices. For a classy reinterpretation of Sangria, mix hibiscus water with a chilled red wine for a refreshing summer drink.
Make candied hibiscus flowers with the dried whole blossoms and use as a garnish on cakes, cupcakes, or ice cream for a Mexican delicacy.
The best way to cook with hibiscus flowers is to infuse the flavors into water and then strain out the petals. Then use the water to make baked goods like breads, cookies and cakes. Or use it in cold desserts like sorbet, ice cream, or jello.
Hibiscus petals can be used in savory dishes too! Sauté with onions and serve with corn tortillas, avocado, and shrimp. Or make a concentrated tart syrup, an ideal flavor balance to gamey meats like duck and venison.
For a beautiful and functional display, store dried hibiscus flowers in a large glass jar with an airtight lid.
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