Friday, December 17, 2010
Sorrel has always been an integral part of Caribbean food and culture, especially during the festive Christmas season. Made from the dried petals of the sorrel flower, sorrel makes a beautiful deep-red, delicious fruity-fragrant floral tea or infusion.
Sorrel is officially called the Roselle plant (Hibiscus sabdariffa), a species of hibiscus native to the Old World tropics. Thought to have originated in Africa, Ancient Egyptian legend has it that sorrel or roselle tea was the favorite beverage of the Pharaohs of the Nile Valley. It contains natural cooling and healing properties.
Rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, it has been used as a health tonic for centuries.
Some parts of the sorrel plant are also rich in calcium, magnesium and beta-carotene. It is also caffeine-free. It has been suggested that drinking a cup of sorrel or roselle tea after meals can help reduce the absorption of dietary fats and carbohydrates, thanks to its natural enzyme inhibitors.
It is not recommended for those with low blood pressure or suffering from gastric ulcers.
Sorrel drink is drawn from the red petals of the Roselle plant, referred to as Sorrel in the Caribbean. It’s an annual plant and grows to a height of about two metres. The blossoms are picked and then dried to make the juice.
Mixed with sugar or honey to temper the tartness of the fruit, Sorrel is served cold with ice. It’s often mixed with rum during the holidays and prepared with spices and orange or lime peel. You can also try drinking it warm, like apple cider.
Recipe for traditional Sorrel Punch:
1 cup sorrel petals (dried)
1 litre boiling water
Orange or lime peel
1 tablespoon cloves
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 teaspoon ground pimento
1 teaspoon cinnamon
25 g brown sugar
Dark rum (if desired)
Pour boiling water over sorrel in a glass jar or jug. Leave overnight or up to 24 hours. Strain off liquid, add sugar and rum (if desired) to taste. Chill and serve.