10 May 2016

Jacinta's tea: the growing part

     Although it seemed to me that the crop of hibiscus sabdariffa that was planted at False Bluff for 2015 was plenty, as I wrote in the previous post the 2015 crop is being harvested primarily for the seeds...and the next planting will be much, much larger. 
     Nonetheless, there has been some dried hibiscus flower tea packaged and sold - the "waste not, want not" result, of course, of harvesting the seeds. Currently in Bluefields the tea is used mostly during the Christmas season when the tea, usually served hot and infused with fresh ginger root, is an important part of local holiday tradition. But the stuff's so good, either hot or cold, that when it's available during non-Christmas times, it's snapped up pretty quick.
     The picture below shows part of the 2015 crop awaiting harvest. Turns out the right-of-way that the electric company cut is perfect for this stuff which is grown anew from seed after each harvest and never gets tall enough to threaten the wires that run overhead.

     An earlier post showed a hibiscus sabdariffa plant at False Bluff not yet in bloom - none of them was in bloom at the time I took that picture. So I pulled a picture off the internet for that post to show what the stuff looked like at harvest time.  Actually what gets harvested are the calyces, or sepals, of the flowers: they wrap around the seed pod and are tough and leathery feeling.

     The part that's harvested, the part that makes the delicious drink, the calyx or sepal, is what the flower - which is small and totally insignificant - becomes. (Yes, that small white thing in the center of the picture below is the actual flower of the hibiscus sabdariffa... ho hum.)