Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Delicious Hibiscus

Roselle (Hibiscus) is an amazing plant. One tiny heart shaped seed planted in the early spring will produce a massive plant about 5 feet tall and 5 feet wide. It grows in full or partial sun. No soil amendment is needed, but they do well with some mulching once they are over 12 inches high. No extra watering is needed once you mulch the plants. More can be read about nutritional information and varieties here. 

The red calyx is harvested in late fall here in southwest Florida. Our tortoises love to eat the leaves and flowers. They provide them with quality, nutritious food. The seeds are wonderful for chickens. At the end of the season, we will cut the stems and give them to the chickens, the will peck them until each and every seed has been eaten. 

I like to peel off the outer red part (the calyx) and leave the seed head to fully develop on the plant. 

I place the red calyces into a pot on the stove and cover with drinking water. Cook on medium high for about 10 minutes, stirring from time to time.

 After 10 minutes, it should look like this....

Next, simply strain to remove the softened calyces. You can add water and drink as tea or use the juice to make syrups for shaved ice, pancakes, and more. 

To make an all natural shaved ice syrup, use 2 cups of Roselle tea and 1/2 cup of pure cane sugar. Cook until it comes to a rolling boil that cannot be stirred down. Remove from heat and place in glass jar or pitcher. This can be used 1/2 and 1/2 with water and warmed to make Roselle tea. 

Roselle pancake syrup can be made using 3 cups of Roselle juice and 1 1/2 cups of sugar. Cook until it comes to a rolling boil that can't be stirred down. Pour into jars and seal lids. Store in the refrigerator. 



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