Hibiscus flower also goes by the name jamaica, sorrel, chai torsh, bissap, and many others. From Iran to Mexico to Tobago this crimson blossom has a serious fan following.
Hibiscus flowers are sort of a miracle plant. The leaves are used to make healing compounds. The seeds have diuretic properties. The fibrous stems are used to make burlap. And the sepals – the fleshy part that holds the flower – are used for food coloring and for tisanes.
To prepare, bring 2 quarts of water and 1 cup of sugar to a boil. Add spices if you like; popular options are cinnamon, ginger, lime zest, grains of paradise, a lace of mace, and dried vanilla pods. Add 1 cup of dried hibiscus flowers. Take off heat, cover, and steep for 20 minutes, then strain. Chill and serve. Preferably over ice with a squeeze of lime.
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