Thursday, September 15, 2011

Preserving! Hibiscus Syrup

I've always been slightly spoiled by my intrepid travelling friend, Dean. As he has travelled the world for work, Dean has seen and experienced things that most of us only read about. No lie. And, as he has travelled, he has generously brought me unusual and interesting souvenirs... carpets and scarves from Pakistan to carved wooden masks from Africa to an evil eye from Turkey. Most recently, I was spoiled with a ridiculously large bag of dried hibiscus flowers and no idea what to do with them. (Momma oozed with jealousy after having recently purchased a significantly smaller bag for more than $12.)

So, Dean regaled us with tales of a hibiscus drink that the locals would make, as the hibiscus added a very refreshing tone to sparkling water or juices. And while we haven't had four months of summer full of hot days, we have had some beautiful days worthy of thirst quenching.

You might laugh here... or nod your head in commiserating agreement. This recipe actually started as an attempt at making hibiscus jelly, which I thought would be the most amazing addition to a cheese plate or just on some lovely airy scones. Well, alongside this "intention" was my complete lack of canning and jelly making knowledge. By "complete lack," I mean precisely that. I had never ever attempted to make jelly before this. Everything went exceedingly well until I blindly added the pectin, jarred the mixture, then processed it (for a requisite 10 minutes)... never to see the mixture jell. Honestly, I just assumed that it would. That said, my newfound preserving confidence (after purchasing  the cookbook and ambitiously attempting about five+ more recipes in one weekend) led me to this conclusion... my jelly may not have jelled but my syrup turned out perfectly.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


With the abundance of beautiful ripe fruits and vegetables seems to come the overwhelming need (or, sometimes, guilty conscience) to preserve said produce and save it from over-ripening and being destined for the garbage bin... Couple that general urge (or guilt) with two super-preservers (yep... I mean you, Heather and Amanda) and this wannafoodie got her butt kicked thoroughly into preserving gear.

My first foray into preserving was last summer with my good friend Heather. She and her husband turned their thumbs green and yielded a corner garden full of lovely things. In particular, there was a great abundance of green beans. And Heather and I, being Heather and I, thought immediately of amazing spicy pickled beans to adorn our caesars. The whole escapade was fraught with squeals of uncertainty, splashes of vinegar and several large jars of (pickling) beans.

This year, I was regaled with tales of Heather's preserving (including some incredible tasting apple butter) and Amanda's days of preserving her and her boyfriend's produce. I was inspired. And, thus, I got to work.

Pictured (from left to right): Hibiscus Syrup, Carrot Jam, Bread and Butter Pickles, Corn Relish, Spiced Golden Plum Jam, Peach and Onion Chutney, Spicy Pickled Beans, Dill Pickles, Spicy Dill Pickes, Silk Road Dill Pickles, Pickled Carrots.
Related Posts with Thumbnails