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Oh Hibiscus! How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.. hot, cold, spicy and tipsy!

By far the most frequently asked question about our new Organic Hibiscus Flower Tea is, “How do I prepare this stuff?” So I thought I’d send a few recipes your way. Don’t be limited by these suggestions. Use this as a jumping off point for your own culinary creations.

The Basic: Hot Tea: Put 2 or 3 whole dried blossoms in a teapot with filter. Add 8 ounces of boiling (or near boiling) water. Steep for 5-10 minutes.

WARNING :) This will be very sour. Most people add a sweetener of some kind. 2-3 tsp. of your favorite natural sweetener should produce a very nice sweet-tart flavor.

Spicy it up!: Lots of spice or fruit combinations work well with the basic recipe above. Try adding cinnamon, vanilla, orange peel, cloves or cardamom. Remember when adding spices to teas to add the spices later in the steep cycle. Many spices if brewed too long will impart an unpleasant flavor to your tea. If you want “more” of a given spice flavor, increase the quantity of the spice not the brew time.

Start Dreaming of Hot Summer Days: Hibiscus tea is very often consumed as a refreshing iced beverage. Here are a couple of regional variations.

Agua de Jamaica: This is a classic in Mexico. I went to school in El Paso with frequent sorties into Juarez, Mexico (purely for the cultural experience of course). I have fond memories of one local street vendor with an enormous glass jar of bright red “Jamaica,” teetering precariously on his rickety cart and shouting all afternoon in a sing-song voice to passerby’s, “Jamaica. Jamaica. J-A-M-A-I-C-A!”

In honor of Do´n Tito: Place ½ cup of dried hibiscus flower and one large cinnamon stick in a large glass jar or pitcher. Fill with water. Cover and leave in the refrigerator over night. Add simple sugar to taste. Serve over ice with a lime wedge.

Egyptian Style Karkade’: If you read my email on Monday you know I had the opportunity to enjoy hibiscus tea served up Egyptian style on a recent trip to Egypt. I’ve fancied it up a little for you all.

Bring 2 quarts of water to boil. As soon as it starts to boil, add 2-3 cups of dried hibiscus (yep, that’s a lot.) Immediately take off the heat and let steep for 10 minutes or so. Filter out the hibiscus using a strainer. (I often just line a colander with cheesecloth and it works fine). Stir in 1-2 cups of sugar (or other natural sweetener.) Add 2 tsp. of rose water. Let chill in the refigerator over night. Serve over ice with a sprig of mint in each glass.

Get Silly: One of my mottos is “All things in moderation, including moderation!” That’s my excuse to cut loose once in a while, feel free to borrow it. The delicious sweet-sour flavor of hibiscus tea makes for an awesome margarita. Here ya’ go!

Bring 3 cups of water to boil. Just as it starts to boil add 4 or 5 hibiscus blossoms. Take off the heat and let steep covered for 20 minutes. Strain out the hibiscus (see tip above). Add 1/3 cup of agave nectar. Let cool in the refrigerator.

In a cocktail shaker add ice, ½ cup of the hibiscus tea prepared above, juice of one lime, 2 shots of silver tequila and 1 tablespoon of agave nectar. Pour half into a salted glass filled with ice. Paper umbrella optional :)

I hope that provides some inspiration! Here's the link to grab your bag of our Organic Whole Flower Hibiscus.

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