You have probably heard of hibiscus plants and can even pick out a hibiscus flower from other flowers in your garden. After all, these plants are quite common and bloom during summer which makes them a sight to behold with their large, showy flowers. But are hibiscus flowers edible?
While most people only use these flowers for aesthetic purposes, few know that these flowers are also edible. At this juncture, it is important to point out that not all hibiscus plants and flowers are edible. To avoid getting in trouble, keep to hibiscus varieties known for edibility such as Hibiscus sabdariffa, Hibiscus acetosella, and Hibiscus rosa-sinensis.
Traditionally, hibiscus flowers were used in the Nile Valley region of Africa and Asia to make tea. The tea has a deep pink color that is hard to resist and can be drank hot, warm or chilled. You can enhance its taste with honey and a squirt of lime juice. The tea is not only delicious and colorful but is also great for soothing and curing various ailments including skin diseases, coughs, and gallbladder attacks.
Hibiscus flowers contain proanthocyanidins, flavonoids, vitamin C and some diuretic properties. These are what gives hibiscus tea a potent kick and endears it to people who love using herbal teas as home remedies.
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To make hibiscus tea, you need 2 cups of fresh flowers or a ½ cup of dried flower petals, 8 cups of water, honey and lime juice (if you like your tea sweet and flavored).
The process-Put the flowers in a pot, add water and bring to boil. Once the water starts boiling, remove it from the fire and allow to steep for about 15 minutes. If you like your tea sweet, add honey and lime juice.
Strain the tea and serve it warm. Alternatively, you can chill it for several hours in the refrigerator.
Eat them raw, baked, pickled or boiled
Hibiscus flowers can be eaten raw, pickled or boiled. They are used to make sweet, iced beverages in India or baked in cakes by the Chinese. The flowers have a mild, citrusy taste and can be used to replace tart citrus flavor. They also do a great job at flavoring cakes, rum drinks or dressing meat. In some instances, the petals are added to soups to give them a spicy taste.
In Milwaukee restaurants, hibiscus-cured duck breast is a common delicacy. On the southern side, hibiscus flowers are used to flavor ice pops while Mexican restaurants have hibiscus flowers on their menu as agua de Jamaica.
So, are hibiscus flowers edible? Yes, they are quite a delicacy and much more than just ruby-red, eye-catching flowers you see in pots and gardens.