I have a confession, yesterday, while reading the inaugural issue of Dabble Magazine, I came across a mention of Hibiscus Flowers in Syrup. I was captivated by their beauty in a champagne glass and the way they supposedly open up after you plop them in your flute with some bubbly. You can buy them at a variety of specialty food stores (the cheapest I found was here) but ever the DIY/ gardener I went out in search of the plant that actually produces these to find out if I, or you in other zones, might be able to grow these ourselves. I would love to add canned flowers to my preserving repertoire and wouldn’t you agree, a locally grown variety would be a fabulous addition to a Farmer’s market stand?
(BTW these come from Australia).
So here is the lowdown. You need to plant Hibiscus sabdariffa (Terengganu variety if possible) – they look like this:
You can buy seed for these through Tropilab and they report that these will grow in zone 7 and above. (but I have to think if you have a heated greenhouse, in most zones, that this would be a fun addition to your collection.) I haven’t yet found a source for potted plants.
Regarding the canning: the ingredients are simple. Cane Sugar, Water and Flowers. Though I have not yet tried it, I think that if were to make a simple syrup (2 Parts sugar to 1 part water – boil until combined) it would be possible to pack the jar, pour the cooled syrup over the top and then can normally with a hot water bath. Does anyone already grow these that I might be able to source some flowers for a trial run?
(I am referencing this page for some wild hibiscus related recipes that I am taking tips from — including removal of the calyx).
If you try this, please let us know, I am curious to hear, see and maybe even taste the results!
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