We can learn a lot from ancient civilizations, as they intuitively knew that food and drink can have dual medicinal values, and the Pharaohs of Egypt were no exception. Hibiscus tea, otherwise known as Karkadé, was the preferred drink of the pharaohs, and the popularity of this beverage continues to this day. Karkadé is actually a tea made by boiling the hibiscus flower, but there is so much more to this plant than its sweet fragrance and bright pink color.
This tea is also an elixir for overall health, and an excellent appetite suppressant. According to Web MD, hibiscus improves heart health, cholesterol, diabetes and even hypertension. In one medical study, patients who drank this tea three times a day lowered their systolic and diastolic readings. This tea is also touted for being an appetite suppressant. I personally love to drink this tea during the midday slump when I start to crave sweets, this tea calms down cravings significantly.
Rich in vitamin C, calcium, and iron, the flowers, leaves, and seeds of the hibiscus are all edible. However, the calyx is the main part of the plant,which becomes big, red and juicy after the flowers die. Thus, the calyx has been used for tea, syrups, and jellies. As for flavor profile, hibiscus has a tangy, tart, floral and earthy flavor with a hint of sweetness and fruitiness. Imagine a cross between pomegranate and cranberry, which pairs harmoniously with lemons for a spectacular lemonade!
Vendors sell Karkade, or hibiscus lemonade throughout the streets of Egypt, clanging cymbals to get attention the way an ice cream truck plays nursery songs. The vendors meander the busy streets, train stations and bus depots with the grace of a ballet dancer, often wearing a bouquet of the trademark flower on their sash as they pour the tea into long glasses for a quick sip on the street.
Wedding parties In both Egypt and Sudan love toasting the bride and groom with a glass of this festive tea. Even in China the hibiscus flower represents good luck and happiness during marriage ceremonies.
Now you might be wondering, where have you been all your life without drinking this tea? Well you have come to the right blog, as I will share an easy recipe for this refreshing drink. All you need are hibiscus flowers, which you can order online, or tea bags if you want an easier option. However the flowers are far more fragrant and rich tasting than the tea bags. You will also need orange blossom water, which you can find in any middle eastern or Indian market. As for sweetener, Egyptians use honey but you can use regular sugar or stevia for a sugar free option. Garnish the tea with fresh mint and berries to bring out the flavor of the hibiscus even more.
A good quality tea kettle is important too, and my personal favorite is the Buydeem Tea Maker. As they were kind enough to sponsor my video, they are offering my viewers a DOUBLE discount, first using this link HERE: https://bit.ly/3B157HI Then use promo code: TEA15 for a second discount! What I really love about this brand is there are 5 cooking modes and 4 tea options, and each temperature brings out the flavor of your favorite tea blend. As I can get clumsy inthe kitchen, I really appreciate the removable stainless steel infuser with a handle so you can take out the tea leaves without making a mess or burning yourself. To see my easy technique, check out my new video below:
Egyptian Style Hibiscus Lemonade
- ¼ cup dried hibiscus flowers, or 3 hibiscus tea bags
- I used this organic brand for my tea:
- Juice of 3 lemons, or ½ cup lemon juice
- 1 tbsp orange blossom water
- ¼ cup of honey or sugar, you can also use stevia or monkfruit for a sugar free option
- Fresh mint and berries for garnish
- Add the hibiscus flowers to the infuser of a tea kettle, or add tea bags instead. Fill the kettle up to 75% full, and bring to a boil. Let the hibiscus steep in the hot water for 5 to 10 minutes. In a pitcher stir the lemon juice, orange blossom water, and honey. Remove the flowers in the diffuser from the tea. Add some of the hot tea to the lemon mixture, and stir to dissolve the sugar or honey. Add a couple of cups of ice, then add the remaining tea to fill to the top. Garnish with mint and berries and serve.