Hibiscus Roselle is a tropical plant but grows well here in Georgia in our summer heat. It will not survive the our winters but can be taken inside for winter protection and brought back out when the danger of frost is over for the next summer. Dried hibiscus can be purchased for tea but just like other foods you can enjoy growing it and know that it is a food that has not been sprayed with toxic chemicals.
The calyx is the part of the plant that you use for making tea. This is the part that is located below the bloom.
Plant your hibiscus in a sunny location in a good soil that drains well. In your garden this would be the same good quality soil that your vegetables like. Hibiscus Roselle also grows well in containers, providing lots of color as well as providing you with the calyx to make that wonderful flavored tea.
After the bloom starts to wither snap off the bloom including the calyx below it. The calyx is the red rounded bulb shaped piece that is right below the bloom. Discard the withered bloom and taking a knife or an apple corer make a slit in the side of the calyx removing the seed. Removing the seed pod is totally optional. I have to say that I usually don’t.
Your tea can be made with the fresh hibiscus or dried to use later. It dries wonderfully in my Excalibur dehydrator so that we have hibiscus tea all winter to flavor kombucha or just to make the hibiscus tea itself. After the hibiscus is completely dry store in an airtight container to use when you need that little lift that the tea can bring.
Hibiscus Roselle tea is reported to lower blood pressure and lower your LDL cholesterol. If you are able to help control these health issues with something natural that tastes great I think that it is definitely worth trying. Hibiscus tea does not contain caffeine and is reported to help you relax, making it a good drink for those that are sensitive to caffeine.
Making Hibiscus Tea
What you need:
2 quarts of boiling water
1/2 cup of dried hibiscus
Pour the boiling water over the hibiscus and let steep for at least 5 minutes, longer if you like a little stronger flavor. Adjust the water you use if you like it stronger or weaker.
You can sweeten if you like or enjoy just as it is!
Using Hibiscus To Flavor Kombucha Tea
When your kombucha tea is ready (Click here if you need instructions for making kombucha tea) for the second fermentation is when you will add the hibiscus to flavor it. You don’t want to add it to your kombucha scoby because you want to keep it pure so that you can flavor your tea different ways.
I add about a half cup of dried hibiscus to a half gallon glass jar of kombucha tea. Put a lid on it and leave on the counter for about 3 days. Check it at that point to see if it is the flavor that you like. When it is flavored to your taste strain out the hibiscus and refrigerate the tea till you are ready to drink it.