Low-Carb Hibiscus Tea Recipe
It is a wonder that hibiscus tea has not caught on in the United States. Hugely popular throughout the Caribbean, in Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East, it is a glorious, brilliant red with a tart and fruity flavor. Hibiscus tea also has health benefits, including but not limited to lowering blood pressure and blood sugar. Plus it is high in antioxidants!
Because of its fruit-like flavor, hibiscus tea makes a great substitute for sugary juices (and yes, naturally occurring sugar is still sugar). Hibiscus tea has virtually no carbs or calories.
However, because it can lower blood sugar and blood pressure, hibiscus tea should be used with caution until you know how it affects you if you are medicated for these problems; we don’t want any crashes. Hibiscus may also cause menstruation or premature labor in pregnant women, and so should be avoided by those who are expecting; it should also be avoided by nursing mothers. In very high doses, hibiscus can be hepatotoxic (toxic to the liver), but a couple-few glasses a day should be fine.
How to Make Hibiscus Tea Concentrate
I make a very concentrated hibiscus tea; it takes up less room in my refrigerator. It also allows multiple uses. I put:
1½ cups dried hibiscus flowers (I can get them in bulk at local health food stores) in a nylon mesh jelly bag. I put that in a half-gallon pitcher and fill it with boiling water. I let it steep until cool enough to handle, then remove the bag, squeezing out the liquid. I discard the hibiscus flowers and add water to the pitcher to fill. This goes into the fridge to chill.
This gives you several options. You can:
- Fill a glass with ice, add an inch or two of concentrate, then fill with water. Obviously, you can adjust proportions to your tastes. Hibiscus is tart; feel free to sweeten it with liquid stevia, monk fruit, or sucralose.
- Do the above, but sweeten with flavored stevia extract – lemon or orange are good with this.
- Use chilled sparkling water to fill. This is my favorite! So many flavors of sparkling water go well with hibiscus – lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit, raspberry, cranberry lime, La Croix’s Hi!-Biscus flavor, or just plain club soda, all will work. Again, sweeten to taste.
- Fill with diet soda — lemon-lime, grapefruit, or ginger ale will all work well.
- Do any of these, but add a shot of vodka! This gives you a tall drink you can sip slowly, and that will keep you hydrated while relaxing. Perhaps another liquor will do, but I haven’t tried it. It seems to my cook’s mind that white rum or white tequila might work, but this is strictly up to you and your liquor cabinet.
- You also can drink hibiscus tea hot, of course, but I’m writing this in the summer. Pour the concentrate into a mug, diluting to taste, nuke it for a minute or so, then sweeten as you like.
NOTE: If you don’t have a nylon mesh jelly bag, they’re cheap, can go in the washer, and take almost no space to store. Or you can simply let your brew cool and pour it through a strainer.
More Low Carb Recipes & Articles by Dana Carpender.
Dana, here! Just last night I found what I feel is the ultimate hibiscus-sparkling water combo: the hibiscus concentrate as described above, about an inch and a half in the bottom of one of my huge, 1-liter glasses, 6-8 drops of lemon drop flavored stevia, and Waterloo brand strawberry sparkling water! I’d never seen strawberry sparkling water, so I grabbed it. It’s good alone, but with the hibiscus? Amazing!