I am from the island of Jamaica, which means that the popular drink called Sorrel (not to be confused with the plant of the same name) is a holiday staple in my home. The drink is typically made with strongly brewed hibiscus flowers, ginger, sometimes lime, and is sweetened with sugar to the preferred taste. It is also traditionally spiked with rum for the adults in the family.
During the holidays, particularly the Christmas holiday, Sorrel, is enjoyed on the same level as Egg-Nog by the young and the old alike in Jamaican households. Hibiscus, however, is not just for enjoyment during festive occasions. In my home, I typically have the flowers stored in dried form in my freezer by bulk, with some stored in my Tea Cabinet in a simple glass jar for fast brewing on a regular basis.
My go-to recipe for a quick Sorrel-inspired Hibiscus Tea involves about 2 tablespoons of dried hibiscus flowers (I prefer whole as opposed to crushed flowers brewed in boiled distilled water) and ginger powder to taste, both of which I adjust up or down based on my mood on any particular day. I also sometimes add saffron and other fragrant herbs to my Hibiscus Teas as well, but ginger and hibiscus are my go-to flavors for this tangy brew based on my traditional tastes.
When I sweeten my Hibiscus Teas (which I always do), I typically choose to do so with sugar (white or brown) or honey, although sweetening with Agave also works well for me. I will let you know now that I am not a fan of all brands of Stevia (many have a sweet but strongly bitter taste for me), but if you are a Stevia fan, I have found that the Sweet Leaf brand of the product is not bitter and you may choose to sweeten your tea with that plant as well.
The hibiscus flower has a strong link to the maintenance of heart health and has shown some promise as being both an anti-cancer and anti-bacterial medicinal plant.
Packed with antioxidants, as well as a number of different essential nutrients and minerals, the flower has been shown to lower cholesterol and improve blood pressure, plus, the widely eaten variety of the plant has a beautiful blossom (that attracts hummingbirds) and a red color that can be used in numerous art projects for dying as well.
The taste of hibiscus flowers is tart/tangy, and this acidity makes it so that it is (I have found) not a great mix with liquid dairy products since it will separate the whey proteins from the milk fats. This is why, when I add Hibiscus Tea to my smoothies, I avoid yogurt and milk entirely.
In celebration of my love for hibiscus, I am sharing a quick and easy smoothie recipe with you below. Feel free to adjust it to your liking, and let me know if you enjoy or try it in the comments section below.
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