Hungry Native headquarters recently received a package compliments of the Wild Hibiscus Flower Company in Australia, a jar of their whole hibiscus flowers in syrup. We’ve seen plain hibiscus flowers used as a garnish in salads, and the dried flowers are often used to make herbal teas, like Celestial Seasonings’ Red Zinger or South America’s “agua de Jamaica”, but jarred flowers in syrup were new to us.
Each jar contains about eleven flowers packed in preservative syrup that contains only two ingredients, sugar and water.
The syrup is a deep ruby-red, which makes sense, considering that hibiscus flowers are also used to make a natural dye.
We made this Key Lime & Habanero Cheesecake using a recipe from Bitchin Kitchen. Made with both cream cheese and mascarpone, the texture was exceptionally light and airy. The habanero supplied a fair amount of heat (we could’ve done with a bit more) and a hint of subtle sweetness. This cake is baked in a water bath for even cooking, but be sure to carefully seal your pan with extra wide aluminum foil, as water intrusion can quickly turn your chocolate cookie crust soggy. The hibiscus can’t really compete with the assertive flavors of the lime and pepper, but it does look good on top of the cake, and the syrup had a sweet, citrusy flavor that echoed the limes.
Included with the jar was a small pamphlet containing a few recipes, including these hors d’oeuvres made with goat cheese. Comprised of nothing more than a ball of goat cheese nestled inside of a flower and topped with a bit of chive, they were simple, but quite tasty. The flower was crunchier than expected, with a taste that was both sweet and vegetal. The creamy goat cheese is the dominant flavor, but the chives are a nice addition and the flower provides a very interesting vessel for the cheese.
According to their website, Wild Hibiscus Flowers got their start when founder Lee Etherington “playfully” (read: drunkenly) dunked a wildflower into his flute of champagne and was smitten with the results. We used prosecco, rather than champagne, but the results were similar. As the flower rests at the bottom of the glass, the bubbles run across the surface, causing the petals to slowly unfurl. Although it looked great, we found that using the flowers in this way didn’t really contribute any flavor to the drink, with the exception of eating the prosecco soaked flower itself. It’s texture was similar to fruit leather; it had a flavor somewhere between raspberry and cranberry, not bad at all. With that in mind, we tried a second version, this time adding a splash of the syrup to our drink. This sweetened up the dry prosecco, and turned it into a proper cocktail, with a sweet yet tart flavor that evoked thoughts of vitamin c.
Wild Hibiscus flowers certainly make for an impressive looking garnish, check out the rest of their cocktail recipes
Help support Hungry Native with AMAZON.COM, if you liked this post you may be interested in a jar of Wild Hibiscus Flowers. of your own. For more photos from this post and others, head over to our Facebook page WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/HUNGRYNATIVE
Unless stated otherwise, all content on HungryNative.com, including text, photos and whatever else we come up with, is copyrighted material.
This means that it cannot be reprinted, published, used, abused, stolen, or “borrowed” without our written consent (yes, even if you give us credit, or a link). If you are interested in working with us, or using a piece of our work, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org