Drop this one in your champagne!
Australian Bush Tucker Bites presents Wild Hibiscus (Hibiscus sabdariffa).
This plant is not strictly Australian. Depending on the source you read, it was introduced many hundreds of years ago by
- Indonesian fisherman trading with Indigenous Australians or
- two hundred years ago by colonists.
Regardless, it has been around long enough for the indigenous populations in Tropical Australia to incorporate it into their diet.
This hibiscus is most famous in Australia for its use in champagne. A preserved flower is dropped into the bubbles lending subtle flavour and glorious colour.
Rich in vitamin C, it is also used for jams and chutneys and can be consumed as a tisane to lower blood pressure.
The edible leaves were even reportedly eaten by Australian Prisoners of War in Singapore during World War Two to supplement the meagre rations from their captors.
This post was originally published on Medium as a part of the “Australian Bush Tucker Bites” series which is also available as an eBook introducing 52 bush food plants from around Australia.
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