Sunday, April 18, 2010

Hibiscus Jelly

For this month's Tigress' Can Jam, Marisa at Food in Jars has declared the focus to be on herbs. An excellent choice that opened the doors up wide to experimentation. Herbs are what make hundreds of preserves into thousands of preserves. Their inflections bring about completely different flavors. To sound just vaguely drippy: herbs bring excitement. (I'm pretty excited. Drippy? Dorky? Maybe.) I have a bunch of herbal things to post, this is only the beginning, as they say, so stay tuned.

Flowers fall under the herb rubric which suited me just fine. I had been thinking about hibiscus for a while. Certainly not local, but I did get organic hibiscus petals purchased in the health food store. Did you know that hibiscus tastes nice and chewy when it's cooked? Toothsome is the word. And of course, it makes a great tea. While researching hibiscus stuff, I saw this recipe for Hibiscus Flower Margaritas and one for Hibiscus jam (no-sugar, but you can sub). And Kate, from The Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking, and fellow jammer, made a gorgeous Rhubarb Hibiscus Preserve you should check out. If you have hibiscus plants, well then, hooray for you! There's a lot to do with them. A natural diuretic and high in vitamin C, you can read more about hibiscus flowers here. Now, on with the jelly!

Really, this is a very straight-forward jelly recipe in which apple jelly gets a hibiscus boost. But something about the color just made me thrilled with the result. You know when you make something and you think, meh, it won't work out, and then it does, totally!? And you think: why didn't I make more!! So, that's what happened. I didn't care much about what happened, it was an experiment, blah, blah, and I ended falling in love with it. I put it in a pint jar like a fool (shoulda put it in two half-pints. What was I thinking? I do this sometimes.) But whatever, I'll make it again. I really think it's the color that had me hooked. It's tastes delicious, though, apple-y but with a tarter citric kick. But that color! I took a billion pictures, but you don't need to see them.

2 cups of apple pectin stock
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
1 1/3 cups sugar
3 tablespoons of dried hibiscus flowers

Bring all to a boil, dissolve sugar and bring temperature up to 220 degrees until jell stage is reached. Ladle into hot jars and seal, process for ten minutes. I left the flowers in the jelly, because they taste good. You could strain them if you want. Or you could visit Shae at Hitchhiking to Heaven and see what she says about the Artful Suspension of Flowers in her April canjam post. In a nutshell, it ain't so easy!

23 comments:

  1. Wow! That is fantastically gorgeous! I have no idea what hibiscus tastes like but if it looks like that I need to try it! Yum!
    I guess I need to get canning this month!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I spent a couple of summers on an archeological dig in Egypt, where hibiscus tea called karkade (prounounced karkaday) is drunk a lot. It's also a beautiful colour. When I'm done my lovely yellow-green dandelions, I may get tempted by hibiscus.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh wow, that is beautiful! I think it's time I found some hibiscus...

    ReplyDelete
  4. What a beautiful colour! You know that one is going to look good glinting in the sun when you pass by the pantry. I have a hibiscus in the back courtyard maybe its time to look at it a little differently.

    ReplyDelete
  5. That really is the most gorgeous gem like jar of jelly! And a totally new jam concept for me!

    ReplyDelete
  6. This is soooo beautiful. Do you think it's necessary to use dried flowers, or might fresh ones work fine? I am almost ashamed to say that I have two totally happy hibiscus plants growing in my kitchen and I compost the flowers. I need to stop that. I should at least be drying them for tea.

    And thanks for mentioning my petal permutations, too!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Meg - You've probably had it in some herbal tea of some sort at some point. You should get some!

    Sarah - It does make a great tea, too. Can't wait to see your dandelions!

    Kat - Yes, it's time! Even just for some tea or margaritas...

    chfg - Oh, I'm not sure if it will make it in the pantry. But yes, it would. I would have to take it out and gaze at its sunken treasure of flowers.

    iB - It is such a gem like color! Like a ruby.

    Shae - Thanks! I am really unsure about that. Maybe dried lasts longer?

    ReplyDelete
  8. You jelly looks wonderful! What gorgeous color.

    Also, you were right; the middle jar in my lineup does have too much head space, haha. That will definitely be my jar. ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  9. This is gorgeous, and when I heard herbs, I never even thought to consider flowers. That is why I love the Can Jam--inspiration from others! And it does have a very sexy color to it, doesn't it?

    ReplyDelete
  10. I have hibiscus in my backyard. Didn't even know you could use the flowers. Interesting idea!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Mmm. This jelly is gorgeous (artful suspension of flowers and all :)) I've spent the last ten minutes just eyeing it up and thinking about all the possible applications for that sweet/tart habiscus flavor.

    What's been your favorite way to use this so far?

    ReplyDelete
  12. Jelly looks lovely, but I am in need of your awesome jar!!! Nice work on the Can Jam!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Tracy - Thanks! (Sorry to be a nerd on the headspace issue!)

    Leena - I know-- I think this month is going to yield a lot of inspiration!

    Andrea - I'm sure you'll have something whipped up in no time. Hibiscus-lemon balm syrup maybe?

    Lo - Thanks! Gosh, I've been just using a spoon so far. I would love to hear some ideas other than toast or biscuits...It would make a pretty fruit tart glaze!

    ReplyDelete
  14. RCakewalk- Thanks! I know, I found these jars in a thrift shop and don't think I'll ever find them again...Sigh.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Ah, I learned something today. I actually looked into drying my hibiscus and discovered that it's a certain type of hibiscus -- Hibiscus sabdariffa -- used for tea and foodstuffs. My hibiscus is Hibisucus rosa sinensis, which I learned can be useful in oils to prevent hair loss and shampoo and like that. I don't think I'm going to get into canning my own shampoo, so I'll keep composting!

    ReplyDelete
  16. I've had hibiscus drinks at Mexican restaurants, very refreshing. And what a great color!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Shae - Thanks for the very important tip. Good to know! You mean you don't want to make shampoo jelly?

    Sara - It's called Jamaica in Spanish. I love that drink when I'm there.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Love this combo. Hibiscus bleeds such loveliness into everything it touches! Definitely going to try this one; thanks for inspiring.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Kate - Loved your pairing, too! I've got it on the docket.

    ReplyDelete
  20. hi
    i'm just gonna ask about the recipe... what if you don't have apple pectin, can you substitute ordinary pectin?

    ReplyDelete
  21. Diandra - I'm sure you could, but you'd have to do a completely different recipe. Maybe if you made apple jelly using apple juice, and added the hibiscus to flavor and color it, then add the pectin. Try following the directions on a packet of pectin for apple jelly, and add the hibiscus in. I'm sure it's doable.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Hi awesome stuff and inspired me to set up my own blog.. I have been playing with Jamaica some and also Cactus Tuna, I love the Magenta color it is out of this world, I have also played with blue potatoes I can say I am loving all the cool colors that are coming to me through my own foraging as well as what is at the market. Well here is to the grand experiment and jelly, jams and syrup...

    ReplyDelete
  23. Redbronze - Cool! Cheers, and congrats on your blog. Full rolling boil ahead!

    ReplyDelete