Hibiscus is one of my favourite bases for herbal tea. It’s a pretty red flower and its petals are edible in dried form, but especially popular for making tangy and fruity beverages in many parts of the world. We often hear about the antioxidant benefits of green and black tea, but hibiscus also has antioxidant properties, is high in vitamin C, and is being researched for blood pressure and lipid-lowering effects – highly deserving of some space in your tea cupboard. Take caution (and do your research) if you’re pregnant or are on any medications, as it may interfere.
The preparation I made today is similar to the way that hibiscus tea consumed in the Caribbean and Central American countries. It’s called sorrel, not to be confused with the plant, sorrel (Rumex acetosa). Any time I’ve had it in the Caribbean, it was lightly spiced, but heavily sweetened, and I wanted to swap those two properties. What’s great about making your own tea is that you can use whatever spice mix you like best (I included star anise and orange, which are not common), and adjust everything to your own taste.
- 1 L (~4 cups) filtered water
- 2 Tbsp. dried hibiscus petals
- 1 star anise pod
- 2 whole cloves
- 1 whole allspice berries
- 1 cinnamon stick + more for stir sticks (optional)
- 1/2 a blood orange (or regular orange), sliced
- raw honey, to taste
- Add all ingredients to a medium pot.
- Over high heat, bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to low, cover, and gently simmer for 15 minutes.
- Remove pot off the heat and let it sit/steep for another 10-15 minutes, allowing the tea to cool slightly.
- Serve with a side of honey, to taste.