Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Rosa de Jamaica

I have had the pleasure of drinking rosa de jamaica recently for the very first time while in Guatemala City. It was very refreshing and really quite tasty. My host family made some for us. Of course I liked it so well that I had to get some tea bags and some loose in a large bag as well to bring back with me to the states. The taste is similar in a way to acai berries. Different but that same sort of undertaste is present. I really like it. Now for some info about it. Rosa de Jamaica is really a hibiscus tea. It is an hibiscus tea full of antioxidants and all sorts of things to detox the liver and kidneys according to my host family.

This flower, known as roselle in some parts of the world, is a member of the hibiscus family. What is sold in the market is dried sorrel, or acidic flower petals, which are used to make a tea that is drunk throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. Market vendors sell it by the pound out of canvas sacks. You don’t need much—maybe half a pound for three or four pitchers of tea. To make it, simply soak a couple of handfuls of the flowers in water overnight, then strain the mixture and add sugar to taste. Refrigerate and you have a refreshing treat for a hot day. In addition to making a good tea, rosa de jamaica is an ingredient in Caribbean folk medicine and is believed by many Guatemalans with whom I spoke to soothe headaches, hangovers and menstrual cramps.

You can chase a butterfly all over the field and never catch it. But if you sit quietly in the grass it will come and sit on your shoulder.

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