Roselle, or Hibiscus sabdariffa, is a tropical plant in the same family as okra and cacao. The leaves and flowers of roselle are edible with a tart flavor. They are great used in savory cooking to add tanginess, but this recipe is sweet. The recipe below was inspired by this one, but my recipe uses the leaves of the plant instead of the flower buds, since the plant doesn’t produce flowers outside tropical zones (the growing season is too short in Maryland). I also used whole orange chunks and different sweeteners in the drink.
1 cup fresh roselle leaves
5 cups water
1 cinnamon stick (add extra 1/2 stick if you really like cinnamon)
2 star anise
Half a small orange, cut in half
3 Tbsp turbinado sugar (or jaggery or sweetener of choice to taste)
Rinse roselle leaves. Add all ingredients, except sweetener, to pot of water. Simmer on stove 10 minutes. Take off the stove, add jaggery or turbinado sugar, and let sit until cooled off. Jaggery and tubinado are both less refined sugars. Jaggery is orange in color and often used in Indian cooking, while turbinado is light brown in color. Squeeze out the orange and strain out the solids and refrigerate. You can also squeeze the other half of uncooked orange into the drink if you like the added orange flavor.
If you would like to grow this easy plant for yourself, rareseeds.com sometimes has seeds available.
Sources: Plants for a Future