xmlns:fb='http://www.facebook.com/2008/fbml' Trinidad Sorrel Recipe and a Free Giveaway!!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Trinidad Sorrel Recipe and a Free Giveaway!!

A few months ago I noticed hibiscus tea being sold at Whole Foods and thought, how strange that teas are now being made using hibiscus flowers(the one commonly grown in yards all over TnT). I made a mental note to steep some hibiscus leaves from my backyard during the summer and never gave it a second thought.  It was not until I saw dried sorrel in a package being sold in my supermarket with the ingredient “Hibiscus”, and then I made the connection. That was my hibiscus/sorrel AHA moment…[now i am glad I didn't steep the hibiscus flowers from my backyard!]

[This is not the hibiscus "sorrel drink" is made from...this is the hibiscus from my backyard..]

Sorrel, or hibiscus tea, is an infusion made from crimson or deep magenta-coloured calyces (sepals) of the Hibiscus sabdariffa flower. It is also referred to as roselle (another common name for the hibiscus flower) or rosella (Australian), flor de Jamaica in Latin America, karkadé in Jordan, Egypt and Sudan, Chai Kujarat in Iraq, Chai Torsh in Iran, gumamela in the Philippines, bissap, tsoborodo or wonjo in West Africa, sorrel in Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, red sorrel in the wider Caribbean, and other names in other regions, including the U.S., where it is sometimes known as simply Jamaica. Hibiscus tea (sorrel) has a tart, cranberry-like flavor, and sugar is often added to sweeten the beverage. [Wikipedia]

Back in the days,  the scent of sorrel mingled with spices coming from Mummy’s kitchen was always a clear indication that the season was definitely going to be merry and bright…bright red that is(on our lips and clothes)! Pounds of fresh sorrel were purchased at the market, they were “cleaned”(not an easy task), washed and steeped in boiling water and spices over night. Sorrel was made in large quantities and bottles were filled and sent to neighbors. This is one aspect of our culture that I miss the most, the tradition of exchanging “bottles” filled with sorrel or ponche a crème or Puncheon rum laced egg nog during the holidays(and other goodies too).  These exchanges were done amidst lots of laughter and ole talk over wire fences that separated the houses.  This is just one of the reasons they say Trini Christmas is de best!

Some potential benefits of hibiscus sabdariffa (sorrel) include supporting healthy blood pressure and immune system, promotes healthful cholesterol levels, aids in weight control, helps support memory and concentration and promotes a healthy heart. It's also a very good source of vitamin C, calcium and magnesium….and most important of all it reduces aging!!! (Without all the sugar of course, feel free to substitute with honey or agave syrup.)

Now that dried sorrel can be found in natural food stores, Asian, Mexican and Caribbean grocers, you can enjoy this beverage all year round…especially during the hot summer months…if it ever gets here....!

There are various sorrel recipes “out there” which include ginger, orange peel, all spice or lemon juice, but the recipe I am posting is the way Mummy made it. If I make any alterations, then “sorrel” will no longer be linked to the wonderful Christmas childhood memories in Mummy’s kitchen….and then what’s the fun!!!!

My recipe produces “sorrel” with a wonderful balance of sweetness and tartness with a hint of cloves and cinnamon. Hopefully it will warm your heart (like it does mine), excite your taste buds and get you in the holiday spirit. Make some and don’t forget to “send a bottle” to your neighbors….both the naughty and nice ones….

Ria's "SIMPLE" Trinidad Sorrel Recipe

4 - 5 ozs dried sorrel (about 3 cups)***
12 cups water (3 quarts)
2 sticks cinnamon
20-25 cloves
2  cups sugar, or to taste (or raw brown sugar or other natural sweetener)
A little Alcohol--rum or vodka, to taste...[optional]

NOTE ABOUT USING FRESH SORREL-----**I recently experimented (12/2013) with fresh sorrel, but it was already cleaned. It measured half a pound, so I am figuring that you should use about one and a half pounds fresh, uncleaned sorrel if using. All other ingredients remained unchanged and it was just as delicious, ready to drink the next day and didn't require diluting! If you test it with fresh sorrel, please let me know!!!

Bring 12 cups of water, cloves and cinnamon to a rolling boil over medium high heat.
Remove from heat and stir in dried sorrel.  

Cover and allow it to steep overnight, 12-18 hours. (I leave it on the stovetop overnight)
[Sometimes I add the sugar at this point]

Strain using a fine mesh strainer into a bowl or large mug(pitcher).
[Do not pour the last bit as they may be gritty sediments at the bottom. Discard petals.]

Add sugar and stir until sugar has dissolved. 

If using raw brown sugar--heat 2 cups of sorrel in a saucepan, add sugar and stir until dissolved. Add back to the remainder of the sorrel. 

Pour into bottles or containers (empty rum, soda or juice bottles).
 Let it sit for a few hours to allow the sugar and sorrel to learn to live in peace and harmony....
Refrigerate until ready to drink. Enjoy over ice.

Add additional water to dilute if it’s too strong for your preference, however, remember it will dilute as the ice melts...

If you don't hear from me before the New Year, rest assured I'll be busy...Busy drinking sorrel attempting to reverse the aging process....amongst other things...like sleeping, ...watching re-runs of Christmas movies and........consuming large quantities of deliciousness....

Wishing you and yours a very blessed, safe and peaceful holiday season....

 and May your Christmas Spirit (assuming you have some) continue the whole year through...

With love,


Maggie Baboolal Patience said...

Christmas is not Christmas with out Ponche De Creme, Black Cake, Ham, Pastelles, Garlic Pork, fresh baked Bread, Ginger Beer, AND Sorrel!!!!

Cooking with Ria said...

Amen to that! Delicious menu! I could almost taste it all...Almost.

SunsetD said...

Omg ...Finally found a sorrel recipe that tastes good! Every year I try a new one and it tastes awful! Thanks Ria for the recipe... You should sell it to the sorrel company, cause the recipe the put on the package... Yuck! Dawn

sophieb6916 said...

You are most welcome...Glad you liked it!!

Cooking with Ria said...

Christmas is not Christmas without "Ponche Crema"

Cooking with Ria said...

Ria, if you're using fresh sorrel instead of dried sorrel, would the recope change?

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