WHAT IS IT?
Hibiscus Flower (Roselle) is a big, bold, and a bit brash, with a wonderfully exotic aroma. It’s a large, edible, flower from a vining plant, of which there are hundreds of species, but roselle is the one commonly used in the exotic teas of North Africa. It has become, culinarily, the most commonly used, for its strong red color, taste, and as an excellent source of vitamin C.
At the bottom of the flower is the calyx, a bulbous, cup-like base. That holds the seed. At harvest, the calyx has the seed removed, and the flowers can then be used fresh, or dried.
In cooking, when dried, it is primarily used as:
- a flavorant, most commonly as a stand-alone hibiscus drink that goes by many different names;
- in a blend with tea, or soda;
- as a food colorant, for its bold red hue.
- as a more mild
The taste of roselle hibiscus is tart. The color of liquids and foods is bright red. Like cranberry, the tartness can be balanced with sugar. For savory dishes, it can impart a more mild contrast, like a light vinegar.
Dried hibiscus sabdariffa, more commonly called roselle, is an indigenous plant of continental West and East Africa, which probably originated in India, that is now grown commercially in many tropical regions of the world.
Today, China and Thailand are the largest commercial producers of roselle. China’s quality varies greatly. Sudan grows the best roselle, but quantity is erratic, and cost is high.
A FEW IMPROVISATIONAL RIFFS
Hibiscus is believed to have originated from India, spread by traders and migrants to Europe, Southeast Asia, China, and the Islands from Oceana to Hawaii.
A double red hibiscus gets its first written mention in Europe, in 1678.
For the African diaspora, the descendants of slaves who were sold to the plantations of the New World, roselle, which was shipped along with slavers’ human cargo, became an unbroken connection with home. The drinks of the Americas, and the Caribbean, called agua de Jamaica, jugo de Jamaica, or rosa de Jamaica, across different parts of Latin America, is the connection to bissap, in Senegal, sobolo, in Ghana, and zobo, in Nigeria.
- Anthur Sen
- cây bụp giấm
- cây bụt giấm
- cây quế mầu
- Flor de Jamaica
- Hmiakhu Saipa
- khate fule
- Lakher Anthur
- Matu Hmiakhu
- məcuː baraŋ
- məcuː prɨk
- saríl or flor de Jamaica
- sɑndan tẹːh
- sillo sougri
- slɜk cuː
- sőm phɔː diː
- Ya Pung
- ಪುಂಡಿ ಪಲ್ಯ
- ಪುಂಡಿ ಸೊಪ್ಪು