February: ICED GUMAMELA TEA
Illustration: Gumamela (Hibiscus)
Gumamela (hibiscus) is usually cultivated for ornamental purposes, but the flowers of the red hibiscus (Hibiscus sabdariffa and Hibiscus acetosella) are actually edible, and can provide many health benefits. The hibiscus flowers are rich in antioxidants such as beta-carotene, vitamin C, and anthocyanin that may protect heart health and fight inflammation. Enjoy a cool pitcher of Gumamela Iced Tea on a warm day.
- 2 cups Fresh Hibiscus Petals or ½ cup dried Hibiscus Petals
- 8 cups Water
- 1/4 cup Honey (or your choice of sweetener)
- 3 Tbsp Fresh Lime or Lemon Juice (about 2 pieces of fruit)
- A bunch of fresh basil leaves
- Make sure to use only the petals. Remove the pistil & pollens, and the calyx / green base of the flower that is attached to the stem. You can use the flowers fresh, or dry them to save for later.
- In a large pot, bring the hibiscus petals and water to a boil.
- Add the fresh lime/lemon, some zest from the fruit peel, and some basil leaves.
- Let the tea steep for about 15 minutes, then strain the tea.
- Add the honey, or your choice of sweetener.
- Let it cool, then pour over ice, or chill it in the refrigerator for a couple of hours.
Note: Hibiscus tea can affect estrogen levels, which means that it should not be consumed if you are pregnant, or trying to become pregnant.