When we were enjoying our meal at Fire n Spice, we had the opportunity to wash it down with some Sorrel Tea. It was delicious! I know sorrel to mean various wild greens or the prickly forest brownie in Cornelia Funke’s The Dragon Rider (one of our favorite books — especially as read by Brendan Fraser!), but I have now discovered yet another pleasurable association for this word.
What is called sorrel in the West Indies is a variety of hibiscus, also known as “Jamaica flowers.” Hibiscus tea contains a number of antioxidants, and has also been associated with a boosted immune system, lower blood pressure, lowered cholesterol, and a lower incidence of heart disease and cancer.
As if that weren’t enough, as noted on the Mountain Rose Herbs Hibiscus info page (also the source of the lovely pic — thanks MRH!): “Scientific studies with lab animals find that it stops the conversion of carbs in food to body fat. It fights appetite and encourages weight loss not by increasing energy expenditure but by encouraging the “wasting” of carbohydrates.”
Lastly, hibiscus petals are rich in Vitamin C, making it the perfect drink for cold and flu season! Keep some in the fridge and heat it up as needed, or serve as iced tea if you’re feeling feverish.
Sorrel C Tea
- 2 liters water
- 8 ounces dried sorrel
- 1/4 cup fresh ginger root, peeled and chopped
- 1 stick cinnamon
- 4 whole cloves
- Put all ingredients into a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Strain out a cup or two at this point for some hot tea, or set it aside to cool and move to the refrigerator. After a day in the refrigerator, strain out the flowers and spices. You can heat it back up for a more intensely flavored tea, add it as is to smoothies, or pour it into ice-cube trays for use in the future as either tea or smoothie components.
- You can also make a lovely punch by adding your favorite sweetener (hibiscus tea is on the tart end of the spectrum) and some floating orange, lemon and lime slices. Perfect for a mid-winter celebration or a summer picnic!
- Play around with the spices — add dried orange or lemon peel, allspice, or mace or whatever else you feel might complement the flavors.
So where can you possibly get your hands on some dried hibiscus flowers? Easy peasy! Through our affiliate, Mountain Rose Herbs. You can also try your local carribean market if you’re lucky to live near one. However I would encourage you to purchase organic flower petals since you can’t rinse them easily. I think we’ve purchased these at Trader Joe’s before, but I’m not positive.