Wild Hibiscus

My prediction is that in the near future, you will be seeing hibiscus flavor popping up everywhere. Let’s just say: Hibiscus is the new black! Until recently, hibiscus has most commonly been used in the culinary field as a tea. However, there are a lot of fun ways to use this elegant flavor in drinks, desserts and entrees as well. Available in most latin markets, you can buy it dried and make some fantastic infusions. Or to make some fun drinks, I recommend Monin’s Hibiscus flavored syrup; try a new twist on a flavored lemonade or Italian soda! Hibiscus flavor can also be a great accompaniment to savory dishes as well, check out my recipe below for a great crostini with brie and hibiscus flowers in syrup and chicken skewers.


For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Hibiscus flavor, when boiled down into a syrup it gives a sweet, rhubarb-raspberry flavor. The color is an inviting magenta that adds that chicness to any drink or dish.


One product I really like is Wild Hibiscus flowers in syrup. They are 100% natural from Australia and are super fun as a garnish to a drink or atop a cheesecake to make an elegant dessert, or even in a salad. Check out the Wild Hibiscus website for some more information about these beautiful and tasty treats. Telephone 800-499-8490 or email bubbles@wildhibiscus.com


Hibiscus is popping up in all kinds of products too, even in tequila! We just received a hot new product called Gran Centinario Roseangel. It is a respesado tequila aged in port barrels that are rubbed with hibiscus. This is only available in certain states at this time so be on the look out for it!


Hibiscus Rum Punch


Makes about 10 cups, enough for 12 to 14 servings


6 cups boiling water

1/2 cup dried hibiscus flowers

1 cup honey

2 cups white or spiced rum

1 cup fresh lime juice

1/2 teaspoon Angostura bitters (optional)


For garnishing

Lime wheels or edible flowers


In a medium nonreactive saucepan, bring the water to a boil and add the hibiscus flowers. Remove from heat and let steep for 10 minutes. Strain the hibiscus tea into a large heat-proof container or pitcher and discard the solids. Stir in the honey. Place in refrigerator to chill. When mixture is cold, stir in the rum, lime juice, and bitters, if using. The punch keeps, covered and refrigerated, for up to 4 days.


To serve, fill tall or old-fashioned glasses to the top with ice. Pour in about 3/4 cup (6 fluid ounces) of punch. Garnish as desired.


Recipe from Sips & Apps, © 2009 by Kathy Casey, reprinted by permission of Chronicle Book





Hibiscus, Warm Brie & Almond Crostini

Makes 20 to 24 pieces


1 jar (250g) Wild Hibiscus Flowers in Syrup

1 small (8-oz) wheel brie cheese

20 to 24 1/4-inch-thick diagonal slices baguette (about 1 baguette)

3/4 cup sliced almonds, with skin

Garnish: fresh thyme or snipped chives


Preheat oven to 450° F. Drain hibiscus flowers and reserve syrup. Cut each flower in half.


Cut the brie into 1/4-inch-thick slices sized to cover about three quarters of a baguette slice. Spread the almonds in a flat dish. Press the brie firmly onto the bread slices then, facedown, into the almonds. Place on a baking sheet. Bake until the brie is soft, bread is crispy, and nuts are lightly toasted, about 4 to 6 minutes. Top each one with a piece of hibiscus and drizzle lightly with the reserved syrup* as desired. Garnish with herbs. Serve immediately.


*To thicken the syrup, put it in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Then reduce the heat to medium and cook until syrup is reduced by 1/3 or coats the back of a spoon. Syrup will thicken more as it cools.


Note: for a tasty variation try this recipe with Cambozola – a mild brie-like blue cheese.


Recipe by Kathy Casey for Wild Hibiscus ©2009


Chicken skewers 


Grilled Chicken & Hibiscus Skewers with Sassy Ginger Dipping Sauce

Makes 4 skewers


1 jar (250g) Wild Hibiscus Flowers in Syrup

1 Tbsp. finely minced or grated fresh ginger

1/2 to 1 tsp. hot sauce

3 green onions (scallions)

1 to1 1/4 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 32 pieces

vegetable oil as needed

salt and pepper

4 metal skewers or 10″ heavy wood skewers soaked in water


Drain hibiscus flowers, reserving syrup in a small bowl.


To make the dipping sauce: Mix ginger and hot sauce into the reserved syrup.


Trim and cut each green onion into 4 pieces. Thread each skewer as follows: 2 pieces of chicken, 1 piece of green onion, then 1 hibiscus flower*; repeat twice; then finish with 2 pieces of chicken. Lightly brush skewers with oil and season to taste with salt and pepper.


Preheat grill to medium-high. Cook skewers until chicken is cooked through, about 4 to 5 minutes per side. Drizzle skewers with dipping sauce and serve extra on the side.


*Cut one flower in half if needed; jars contain approximately 11–12 flowers.


Recipe by Kathy Casey for Wild Hibiscus ©2009




Posted by Kathy on July 23rd, 2009  |  Comments Off on Wild Hibiscus |  Posted in appetizers, Cocktails, Dishing with Kathy Casey Blog, KOMO Radio, poultry, Recent Posts, Recipes

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