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Hibiscus flower tea: Agua de jamaica by Karen Hursh Graber © 2006

Dried hibiscus flowers, known in Mexico as jamaica (pronounced "ha-ma-ike-ah", rather than like the name of the Carribbean island country) have long been available in health food stores in the U.S. for making a tea that is high in vitamin C. With the advent of interest in south-of-the-border cuisine, hibiscus flowers are now sold in bulk in most large supermarkets. This drink is particularly good for people who have a tendency, temporary or otherwise, toward water retention: it is a mild and completely natural diuretic. I drink a lot of it, so I use sugar substitute in this recipe.


  • 2 cups dried hibiscus flowers
  • 8 cups water
  • 3/4 cup sugar or equivalent amount of sugar substitute

Rinse and drain the hibiscus flowers in a colander.

Put them in a saucepan with 4 cups of the water and the sugar.

Stir and bring to a slow boil, lower heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.

The flowers will have lost their color into the water, which will be a deep red color. Let the liquid cool, then strain it into a pitcher.

Discard the flowers.

Add the rest of the water and stir.

Chill thoroughly before serving.


Link to source articles
Mexican roselle hibiscus: Cooking with jamaica
Other aguas de fruta
Published or Updated on: January 1, 2006 by Karen Hursh Graber © 2008
Contact Karen Hursh Graber

Follow Karen as she travels through the Central Mexican state of Puebla, meeting local cooks, tasting the food, and collecting recipes. With over 75 recipes, plus sections on ingredients and cooking techniques, the book takes the reader on a journey through one of Mexico's oldest and most renowned culinary regions. It can be ordered online.

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