Ever Had Spiced Hibiscus Flower Tea?

One of my favorite plants to grow down here is hibiscus. It is truly a beautiful plant and the flowers are breathtaking.

20130607_194143

I am not the only one who appreciates hibiscus. We frequently have hummingbirds in the garden sipping hibiscus nectar. My favorite part about the plant though, is that it’s edible. Hibiscus is high in vitamin C and iron. It is high in antioxidants as well. I find it interesting that it is iron rich considering hibiscus often suffers from iron chlorosis (a condition caused by a lack of available iron in the soil. You can spot it in the above picture as the light colored leaves with dark veining).

Hibiscus is a member of the mallow family (Malvaceae.) It’s a kissing cousin to okra (one of my very favorite high heat vegetables.)

20130922_154400
This is an okra flower. You can see the mallow family resemblance!
20130827_190209-1
I grew okra in my front yard last year. Nobody complained! It isn’t as showy as hibiscus but you get the okra pods as a consolation prize!

Hibiscus is in flower most of the summer down here, which is quite a feat. Most plants (and people) wilt in the mid summer soaring temperatures. Everything tends to shut down and wait out the heat. I know I’m completely nuts, but I can honestly say that the heat usually doesn’t get to me. But I grew up in Texas, it’s highly probable that I just don’t register heat like people do who are from cooler climates.

When the flowers are in bloom I can usually be found enjoying hibiscus tea. I make it daily in the summer and it’s a simple process.

20131113_173734

Gather approximately 8-12 newly opened or unopened flowers in the morning. Use flowers from plants that have not had chemicals sprayed on them. I have used flowers from later in the day. The problem with this is: that you need to remove any damaged areas of an older flower. You will need more flowers to make up for what you remove.

Twist off the stem and the sepal (the green part).

20131113_180514

Open the flower if it is still closed and remove the reproductive parts: the pistil and stamen (Flowers are a plant’s sex organs! You can deal with your issues over that new found knowledge later.)

20130725_200255

You should be left with just the petals. Put the petals in a strainer and rinse them off.

20130725_201246

Start a pot of water on the stove. I usually use about four cups of water for the tea, enough to share. You can measure out the water by using the cup you intend to drink from.

I don’t advise drinking more than two cups of this in a day. In high enough quantity: the spices you will be adding will upset your stomach. So, unless you are sharing with a crowd or storing some in the fridge for later don’t try to make gallons of it. Moderation, in all things, is a good plan.

20131120_133110

Gather up your spices. I like chai and use some of the spices you would find in it. For this tea I use: cinnamon, cardamom, allspice and fennel. You don’t need much, maybe a teaspoon to 2 teaspoons combined total. In quantity the spices will quickly overpower the hibiscus flavor, so start conservatively. Omit anything you don’t feel like shopping for or using.

I use whole spices and crush them in my mortar and pestle, but pre-ground spices from your grocer are fine. If you are interested in a mortar and pestle you’ll have to keep your eyes peeled for a set while you’re out and about. A good place to try would be a spice specialty store or you can search online. Unfortunately it’s a pretty outdated tool in America, but it’s a wonderful addition to a kitchen collection for those of us in the know.

20130725_203053

Bring your water to a boil and turn off the heat. Add your petals and spices. Let steep for 5-10 minutes, but no longer, or it will get bitter. The petals will quickly transfer their color (and flavor) and turn a light purple/gray color. If you want a stronger flavor: add more flowers, instead of steeping the tea longer.

20131113_180409

Scoop out your petals and put them in the compost pile. Pour your tea through a strainer to remove the spice pieces.

20130725_204902

Add a dollop of honey, stir and drink up. You can vary the spices according to your taste.

20130725_204959

For an entirely different way to enjoy hibiscus tea you can try this site: link There is a short video at the bottom that shows how to make a tropical iced tea version.

20131113_174331

Now you have one more reason to grow and enjoy the beautiful and tasty hibiscus!

8 thoughts on “Ever Had Spiced Hibiscus Flower Tea?

    1. It’s at our local grocery store dried. I have never needed that many flowers at once so I just use what I have blooming at the moment. It does make a beautiful tea. I have never thought to mix it with green tea, now I’ll have to try it! Thank you for coming by! I appreciate the comment.

  1. Do you happen to grow roselle? I know I read about it somewhere, but I can not remember where. Do okra flowers make tea also? What I find online does not sound credible. (There is actually a recipe for okra tea, which is literally the water that a chopped up okra pod steeped in. That does not even sound good.)

    1. No. That doesn’t sound good! I have not made tea from okra flowers but now you’ve given me the idea to try it. I’m not sure I’ll like it though. Hibiscus tea is really high in vitamin c and very tart. I’m not sure what okra flower tea would taste like. We have turk’s cap growing in our neighborhood. I’ve heard that the fruit and flowers make a great tea and I’ve been considering adding some to my north yard. Roselle is an annual here and I haven’t made space to grow it. I bring my hibiscus inside for the winter, so I have 5 year old plants. But that’s only because I love their blooms so much! If you get to try okra tea let me know what you think. I didn’t put okra in this year but I may toss some seed out just to try the flower’s tea! Thanks for the idea.

      1. I will not likely try it, just because it sounds weird, and there are plenty of other things to make tea with here. Besides, okra does not perform very well here, so I want as many of the flowers to develop into pods as possible, rather than waste them on weird tea. I certainly would not make tea with an okra pod. I mean, that is taking advantage of the one aspect of okra that most people dislike, . . . the slime.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.