Hibiscus flowers are not only beautiful to look at, they can also be used in the kitchen to whip up several tasty treats. Most people have seen fresh hibiscus flowers used as garnishes. However, hibiscus flowers have a lot more uses than that especially if you get them in powdered form. Hibiscus powder has a longer shelf life than fresh flowers and it is easily purchased online through specialty shops. Although prices vary, a ½ pound bag of Hibiscus powder will typically lighten your wallet by $13. Here’s a quick rundown on five of the best ways to use it in your kitchen:
Hibiscus powder has a sweet and tart flavor profile that reminds me of rhubarb and raspberries. That’s what made me decide to use the hibiscus powder as a rhubarb compote flavor enhancer. The compote may be used to create a tart, a crisp or a turnover. I’d also suggest topping the hibiscus tarts with a hibiscus powder infused crème fraiche or mascarpone.
Another great way to make use of hibiscus powder is to combine it with a raspberry or rhubarb jam. I have found that the hibiscus powder’s natural red coloring really deepens the color of the jam. I’d suggest making up a large batch of hibiscus infused jam and using some of the extra jars as hostess gifts.
Hibiscus Infused Rhubarb Pickles
Want to get a little funky? Why not make rhubarb pickles with hibiscus powder? It will add another layer to the dish’s distinct flavor profile that will have your guests asking for more. Just follow your basic rhubarb pickle recipe and add in a spoonful or two of hibiscus powder. The hibiscus infused, rhubarb pickles can be eaten straight out of the jar or sprinkled on a salad made with fresh greens and goat cheese.
Hibiscus Infused Drinks
I have found that hibiscus powder works well when paired with various alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. I have paired it with such spirits as raspberry schnapps, white rum, Hpnotiq, raspberry vodka, gin and cognac. It will also blend well with Caribbean sorrels, champagne and dessert wines. When it comes to non-alcoholic beverages, I’d suggest adding it to soda water, lemonade and ice tea. You might also want to use a hibiscus powder and sugar blend to rim your cocktail glasses as well. In my opinion, doing so adds an extra touch to margaritas and martinis.
Hibiscus powder can also be used to create a hibiscus infused vinegar or a hibiscus infused oil that can be used as a salad dressing. Simply add the hibiscus powder to the vinegar or oil of your choice. Then treat it like you would any other infused vinegar or oil. In my experience, you should let the mixture sit for two weeks before using it on your salad. That should give the oil or vinegar enough time to fully absorb the hibiscus flavor.
Killeen Gonzalez enjoys summer sports and recreation. She also has a degree in hotel and restaurant management.
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