19 April 2010


Rosella (Hibiscus sabdariffa) makes a yummy drink called Jamaica.  It is also used in tea, cordial (a sweet syrup used for non-alcoholic drinks) and jam. I have been growing it in my veggie patch for two years.  Last year it was smothered by the Tomatillos and didn't flower much, but this year I have four good strong plants.  The small blooms last for a day and then close up inside the calyx (the part that covered the bud before the flower opened).  After that the calyx swells and when they are ready to pick they snap off the stem.  If they are still bendy you've probably got a bud that hasn't opened yet.  Here's my photo diary from flower to drying and a recipe for Jamaica.  Enjoy!

Hibiscus (Rosella) flower in bloom

 Calyces after the flower has finished blooming.  The calyx on the left has just closed up and the right-side one has swelled and is ready to pick.

Calyces drying on my window sill.  I removed the spent flowers that hadn't fallen out.

Agua de Jamaica (Hibiscus Flower Water)
Dried hibiscus flowers, known in Mexico as jamaica (pronounced hah-MIKE-ah) are used to make this refreshing, delicious drink. This recipe takes takes about an hour to prepare and another hour or so to chill. It makes a half gallon/2 litres. 

2 cups dried hibiscus flowers
2 quarts/litres water
3/4 cup sugar (or to taste)

Rinse and drain the hibiscus flowers in a colander. In medium saucepan, bring one quart/litre of water to a boil. Add hibiscus flowers and sugar. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for approximately 15 minutes. Mixture will be dark red in color. The flowers will have lost their color into the water, which will be a deep red color. Let the liquid cool, then run the mixture through a strainer. Pour into a pitcher and mix with remaining quart of water. Chill thoroughly before serving. Pour into tall, ice-filled glasses and serve. 

(recipe from MexGrocer)

1 comment:

  1. Looks like you're growing alot of the plants indigenous to our area in Mexico. I didn't know you could pick the blooms from Jamaica plants. Have always seen and picked them from small trees. All the grocery stores here sell the dried Jamaica blooms. It's a very popular drink. The blooms and the plants and trees are a beautiful deep red. Your recipe for the Jamaica drink is a good one. We drink it here all year round.