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Aariq

I think those are hibiscus flowers--Jamaica in spanish.

MyF

my mum boils them - they taste like ribena blackcurrants exactly. high in vitamin c!

EY

They are dried hibiscus flowers. Trader Joe's sells these sweetened and they are deliciously addictive.

MH

They're known as 'rosellas' in Qld, an obvious essential for delicious rosella jam!

And yes, they're a type of hibiscus (Hibiscus sabdariffa to be exact).

Sticky

Thanks - there seems to be a kind of consensus on this. Are they flowers or fruit? The ones I saw were definitely more a fruit, not a petal in sight.

MH

I'd always assumed they were fruit because they're so dissimilar to other hibiscus flowers. It seems the retailed product is actually the calcyes/calyx/sepal - the part of the plant from which the hibiscus flower grows.

"Dried roselle calyces are sold in plastic bags in Mexico, labelled "Flor de Jamaica", leading many to believe that they are flower petals. Actually, the flower falls before the red calyx enlarges and becomes fit for food use."
http://newcrop.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/roselle.html#Food%20Uses:

Nevertheless, they still seem to be marketed as 'hibiscus flowers' in Aust - apparently great in champagne!

HanoiMark

Believe it or not I recently saw these in an asian market here in Toronto. I thought they looked just like "jamaica" that I am used to seeing in Oaxacan markets, so this makes sense that it's the fruit. So what do you do with them? I know the petals make great tea and "lemonade". So it's for jam? eat them boiled? hmm gotta try it.

Observer

They are roselle fruits....generally sour but boiled with sugar to create a ribena like syrup. Hibiscus flowers are not like that...or at least the national flower of my country Malaysia looks so different. Roselle starting appearing in Malaysia around late 70s. Grows well in tropics.

Sticky

In Australia, in a somewhat spooky discovery considering I had just posted about them, I spotted them in jars in syrup in grog shops - and the little blighters are dropped into champagne flutes and topped up with bubbly! A very fine use for them, I must say!

Trang

I second someone's opion that it was hibicus. Extract of hibicus makes a nice drink, high in iron and so on

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