Pagès has chosen to introduce Hibiscus in several of its creations, for its slightly tangy taste.
Hibiscus, a plant with a rich history, adopted by many civilizations for its virtues and the values it conveys
Origins of hibiscus
Known since ancient times, Hibiscus was first cultivated in Egypt and South Asia. It was first used as an ornamental plant and then as an edible flower. Gradually, it was also consumed as an infusion for its therapeutic properties. It was in the 12th century that Hibiscus was imported into Europe by the Moors, a Berber population from North Africa. It was long thought in Egypt that Hibiscus tea developed carnal desires in women. They are then prohibited from consuming it for many years.
In ancient Greek, the word "Hibiscus" means "marshmallow". If the Hibiscus has many nicknames, the best known is that of "daughter of the islands". Indeed, there are a large number of Hibiscus varieties in Polynesia, Hawaii and Malaysia. This plant was elected as a national plant by the islands of Hawaii and Polynesia.
Today, Hibiscus is present in all tropical and subtropical parts of the world. Hibiscus is mainly found in Mediterranean areas of Europe where it is not freezing regularly.
Characteristics of hibiscus
Name: Hibiscus Syriacus or Hibiscus Rosa Sinensis
Species: Shrub with perennial flowers
There are more than 200 species and 30,000 varieties of Hibiscus. The two best-known species are "Hibiscus Rosa Sinensis", also known as "Rose of China", and "Hibiscus Syriacus". This shrub with perennial flowers has evergreen foliage that can reach 4 to 5 metres in height. Hibiscus is sensitive to the cold, it needs a slightly moist soil and a high exposure to light and sunlight. It is necessary to protect it well or to install it indoors, if it has been planted in a pot, as soon as the temperatures are close to 10°C.
Its deep green foliage is brilliant. Its alternate leaves are oval or lanceolate and reveal pretty, open funnel-shaped flowers during the hottest periods. Hibiscus flowers are usually bright and intense red in colour. They can also, depending on the varieties of the plant, take on a white, yellow or orange colour. Some Hibiscus flowers change colour as they age. The blooming flowers of Hibiscus are generally recognized by all and explain the success and reputation for beauty of this plant.
The red-flowered Hibiscus species is less fragile than the others, it is the one most often found in gardens. The other species require more maintenance and must absolutely, in France, be grown in pots on a terrace or balcony in order to be winterized indoors during the winter period.
Uses of hibiscus
Hibiscus is used for food and medicinal purposes.
Raw or cooked flowers of some Hibiscus species can be eaten. They are also used to prepare drinks, yoghurts and desserts. Hibiscus is the ideal flavor for cakes and can be used to brighten up various sauces and jams that you want to give a beautiful colour. Its acidulous taste, reminiscent of Cranberry to some or Pepper to others, brings a lot of pep to culinary preparations.
It can also be used as a natural colouring agent, its deep red colour very easily tints any type of ingred
Benefits of hibiscus
Hibiscus, a plant very appreciated or even considered celestial by many peoples, has many virtues.
Hibiscus flowers were once used to soothe coughs and treat angina. It is nowadays attributed with anti-oxidant properties to promote good health.
It is also said that the Hibiscus flower can heal insect bites and close cracks by applying it directly to the skin.