Saturday, April 2, 2011
The Diversity of Rosa de Jamaica, (Hibiscus Tea)
Rosa de Jamaica, know in English as red Hibiscus, has some interesting uses in Guatemala and Central America. I wasn't aware of its use as Rosemallow or Hibiscus tea in the states until I saw it used for the first time in Guatemala. The leaves are supposed to have medicinal properties that help with cracked or sore skin. The seeds are said to have diuretic properties good for people with kidney trouble or water retention. The flower is even more diverse!
Central America is not the only country who uses the Hibiscus flower. It is also used in Hawaii, France, East Africa, Brazil, India, China, Thailand, Korea and I'm sure that's only a few of the places. Since we are in Guatemala, though, here are some ways I have seen it used locally.
This bright red flower is cultivated, picked and dried, then sold to be eaten or made into delicious drinks. At our house we buy the dried Jamaica and then boil it. When it is ready, we add sugar and have a drink that tastes vaguely like Kool-aid or cranberry juice.
It is also manufactured into wine.
Some people even make Rosa de Jamaica tacos: (click for the recipe.)
It has been made into jellies and syrups, sorbet, and is said to fight cholesterol and aid weight loss.
Have you ever tried Rosa de Jamaica? If so did you like it?