Once you have the syrup in your fridge, making a cup of this Simple Cranberry Hibiscus Tea is as easy as pouring boiling water into a cup.
Last Christmas was the first of its kind for me – I tried to make the celebration as planet-friendly as possible. Which means that it was also the very first year I did not actively add to the decoration collection. Instead, I did things like decorate the tree with edible cookies, holly berries and cranberry garlands. So when the time came to take all the decorations down – which in my home is usually the first weekend after New Years, I was left with a few uneaten cookie ornaments, and a sad looking, shriveled cranberry garland.
And I did not have the heart to throw away those cranberries. While the cookies went into the compost bin, I saved the dried cranberries in a tiny box for this recipe. Why didn’t I save the cookies? Because I couldn’t justify eating anything with a few weeks of house dust that cannot be washed.
This week, I had cause to brew myself some Hibiscus tea – did you know that it is an excellent remedy for menstrual cramps and mood swings? I am plagued by both, and my husband is usually the unintended casualty as he spends a few days every month walking on eggshells around me and indulging my every whim and fancy to save himself. The tea helps us both.
But this time, I decided to do make a Cranberry Hibiscus Tea blend – an antioxidant flavor boost seemed interesting + a way to use up my dried cranberry garland too. It was definitely easier than I thought it’d be. Once the syrup was brewed, strained and bottled, to make myself a cup of tea, all I have to do is spoon a little syrup into my cup, add hot water and enjoy.
Start with cranberries – I had an old forgotten bag in the fridge, hiding at the back of the produce drawer. I peeled the dried cranberries from the garland and washed them all – dried and fresh – until I was satisfied all the dust had washed off. Then I proceeded to pick off the mushy, unripe cranberries from the pile. Once the sugar syrup came to a rolling boil with a cinnamon stick, I added the cranberries and the dried hibiscus flowers and let it steep and cook until soft and could be mashed with the back of my spatula.
Turn off the heat and add a few slices of lime. Alternatively, you can just squeeze half a lime into the syrup. Orange might also work. Not a citrus fan? Leave it out altogether.
You can’t help but fall in love with the glistening red color of this syrup, it’s tart but sweet taste and the way it looks, swirling steam against the afternoon sun when stirred into a cup of hot water. Magical, fragrant and absolutely comforting, especially on a cold, desolate and painful day.
Keeps well refrigerated for a few weeks. And will make an excellent iced-tea in the summer too. I am very excited about its year-round possibilities…
Note: Talk to your doctor/herbalist before consuming hibiscus infusions. It is not recommended for persons with low blood pressure and pregnant women.