Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Agua De Jamaica or Hibiscus Tea

In Isla Mujeres Food  
Agua de Jamaica

Hibiscus and other tropical flowers feed humming birds at the Hacienda Chichen
flor de Jamaica  Dried hibiscus calyces.
Hibiscus (English), Tulipanes (Spanish), Caanché (Maya). It is an indigenous species of Florida and Central America; the Hibiscus furcellatus flowers bloom with deep red five petal flowers or bright magenta petals. Many commercial hibiscus hybrids are now found in every tropical region of the world as ornamental bushes. Pistils have both sexes and are pollinated by humming birds, bees, and other insects feeding on the nectar.
    Hibiscus tea has a tart, cranberry-like flavor, and sugar is often added to sweeten the beverage. Four studies quoted in Wikipedia concluded it was effective at reducing hypertension, with one showing it to be as effective as captopril. It is also used as a mild diuretic by people who tend to retain water and is popular in the US for its high Vitamin C content.
    Agua de Jamaica has lately been adopted by creative Mexican chefs for use in a variety of both sweet and savory dishes, including marinades, sauces, sorbets, jellies and trendy cocktails. Its intense color and tart flavor are just the kind of characteristics chefs look for in the constant quest for originality. 
Agua de Jamaica Recipe
  • 2 cups dried hibiscus flowers
  • 8 cups water
  • 3/4 cup sugar or equivalent amount of sugar substitute 
  • Rinse and drain the hibiscus flowers in a colander.
Put them in a saucepan with 4 cups of the water and the sugar.
Stir and bring to a slow boil, lower heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.
The flowers will have lost their color into the water, which will be a deep red color. Let the liquid cool, then strain it into a pitcher. Discard the flowers, add the rest of the water, stir and chill.

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