I’ve become quite obsessed with trying recipes for hibiscus tea, hibiscus curd, hibiscus jelly, and many more hibiscus treats since our hibiscus bushes are bursting with calyx (pods). We’ve grown edible hibiscus for several years and I’m truly amazed by the many traditional hibiscus recipes there and by people’s unique twists to those recipes.
Are all hibiscus plants edible?
The short answer is no one has test all the hundreds of hibiscus varieties, so we can’t say positively one way or the other. However, some have been tested or have been traditionally used for centuries and are considered safe for most people.
The three most popular edible hibiscus varieties are Chinese Hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis), Cranberry Hibiscus (Hibiscus acetosella), and Hibiscus sabdariffa also known as Roselle, Jamaican Sorrel, and hibiscus flowers.
Hibiscus sabdariffa is the most common hibiscus used in recipes for hibiscus tea and is often sold as hibiscus “flowers”. While the flower is edible, it’s technically not the part that is dried and used. The part that is used is the calyx with is the covering of the seed pod which is left after the flower falls off the plant.
All the hibiscus recipes I’m sharing in this post are made with Hibiscus sabdariffa, aka Jamaican sorrel, roselle, and sometimes just identified as hibiscus flowers in the recipe.
Where can you find hibiscus for using in recipes?
I’m going to suggest you try to grow edible hibiscus if your climate allows. It needs warmth and a long growing season and is grown as an annual in most areas. But it’s extremely easy to grow and is beautiful.
If you need to buy hibiscus you will probably be able to find some small packages of dried hibiscus “flowers” in your local grocery store, especially if they have an international section. I’ve recently seen them in our local grocery.
If you you can’t find them locally, you can purchase them online. They might say “hibiscus flowers” or “roselle” on the label. But they should also say Hibiscus sabdariffa.