Once again the time has come to say goodbye. How do you plan on saying farewell and ushering in the new year? Whatever your plans, I'm guessing it will include something bubbly.
Hold on to your glasses because I am about to blow you away with the most amazing garnish for your champagne. It's charming, elegant, exotic and fun.
Take a few minutes to appreciate the awesomeness that is sorrel in syrup.
Wait! Did you just do that typical dismissive West Indian thing?
You DID NOT just steups (suck your teeth at me)!!!
Sigh. You did, didn't you?
It might interest you to know that people pay upwards of $10.00 US for a jar of just eleven of these flowers.
That's right, $63.00 for eleven flowers. And you were grumbling about the high price of sorrel this year at $5.00 or .80 US cents per lb. Not 'steupsing' now are you?
Let us take some time to appreciate the brilliance of the man behind all of this. According to wildhibiscusflowers.com, Lee Etherington is the man who invented this product 11 years ago. Whaaaaaaat??? And all these years I thought God held the patent for wild hibiscus. Maybe Lee thinks he invented the concept of putting sorrel in syrup. Again, this is old news. In the Caribbean we have been boiling and preserving this thing in sugar long before Mr. Etherington was even born. It's an old recipe but Lee has looked at it in a new way. Bloody brilliant. Forget about, out with the old and in with the new. How about keeping the old and making it new.
Lee is to be admired for an effective marketing strategy and branding of this product. Just look at the pretty packaging and the hype he has created about the way these flowers open up, or appear to bloom when placed in an effervescent drink.
This is what the sorrel or wild hibiscus flower looks like. There are several varieties, even a white one but only two are shown here as these are the ones I used.
The one on the left that looks like a jester's hat is less tart and is better suited to making the traditional Caribbean, Christmas time sorrel drink. The flower on the right had a superior flavour when cooked. This is the one to use in your champagne cocktail since it is closed and will 'bloom' when you pour your drink.
Wild Hibiscus Flowers in Syrup (Hibiscus sabdariffa) or
Mock Caribbean Cranberry Sauce
*adapted from the Naparima Girl's High School Cookbook
Makes 2 8oz jars
1 lb sorrel
1 lb granulated sugar
1 stick of cinnamon
Remove the seeds from the flower (* I left the seeds in the flower because I wasn't sure that the flowers would not float to the top of the glass. That, and I was lazy.)
Put sorrel and the cinnamon stick in a pot and just barely cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes until tender. Remove from the heat and measure sorrel. Add 1 cup of sugar for every cup of fruit and juice. Return to the heat and bring to the boil. Cook until water thickens to a thick syrup.
Pour into hot sterilized bottles.
Cooking for a longer time will make sorrel jelly which is good too. The jam does not take too long to cook and sets up rather quickly in about 15 minutes.
Wishing you all a blooming good 2010!