“No Wall Y’all Hibiscus Flower Jam”

Tart, yet pleasantly sweet,  my “No Wall Y’all Hibiscus Jam” smeared on buttery toasted  baguette slices is something close to divine deliciousness. Have you ever had Hibiscus Flower Jam? It is quite common in Mexico and is just one of the many things I love about that country.

The culinary name in Mexico for this flower is Jamaica (pronounced ha-may-kah). Either picked and dried at home, or purchased dried in markets, these flowers have so many wonderful uses. Flavored waters, hot or cold tea, beautiful red syrups for drinks or desserts as well as thick jams are just some of the ways to enjoy.

One morning last week my friend Terry and I wandered into a restaurant, El Atrio Del Mayab, on the central plaza in the city of Valladolid in the Yucatan Peninsula, ordered cafe con leche and pan tostado with butter. The waiter brought us our order along with a small bowl of jamaica jam. I knew I would have to make a batch when I returned home.

Dried hibiscus flowers are found at most international or hispanic markets here in Nashville, or online shops.  I had some in  my pantry for making refreshing hibiscus ice tea, but made some jam instead.

Dried hibiscus flowers, freshly squeezed orange juice and zest and sugar are all you need. Mixed together and cooked down slowly to thicken into a deep carmine jam….

….put into jars and chilled…ready for pan tostado.

Make more jam, build less walls y’all.

Images from Quintana Roo & the Yucatan. Xpu Ha, Izamal & Valladolid, MX.

No Wall Y'all Hibiscus Flower Jam/Jamaica Jam

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups dried hibiscus/jamaica flowers
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups freshly squeezed orange juice
  • zest of one orange

Directions:

  1. Mix all ingredients together in a non-reactive pan. Bring to a boil over medium high heat and stir to dissolve sugar. Turn to simmer and cook for 30 minutes. Remove from heat. Cool for 10 minutes.
  2. Put mixture into a food processor and pulse about 10 times to break up larger flower pieces to make a spreadable jam.
  3. Spoon jam into clean jars and let cool completely. Add lid and refrigerate. Jam will keep for up to 2 months.

Extra; For Jamaica Tea steep dried flowers in hot water. Drink hot or chill for iced tea.

Travels in the Yucatan – La Flor de Santiago Salsa

 

Yucatan & Quintana Roo 2011
Merida, Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Progreso, Campeche, Muna, Chetemal, Mahuahual, Xpuha….
In the heart of Merida near the Mercado, is one of my favorite restaurants, La Flor de Santiago.
Steaming cups of cafe au lait, freshly made pastries, huevos, frijoles negros, mango, papaya, pina…all make this a favorite of local residents.  Stepping  from the morning already warm street into the darkly cool interior of La Flor de Santiago was the perfect start to what turned out to be a perfect day.
Radish Salsa from La Flor de Santiago

There is always something memorable to eat and this visit was no exception. Along with abundant choices for breakfast there was a really unusual and delicious salsa made with radishes. It was a bit sweet, salty, crunchy with a hint of oranges & limes. I had it with my eggs and went back for more. I keep a little notebook with me when I travel to jot down recipe ideas or recipes that I find and want to try at home. I call my version, “La Flor de Santiago Salsa”.
Ingredients you will need:
12 Radishes, washed and trimmed & diced
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
Juice from one orange
Juice from one/half lime
1 tsp raw or brown sugar
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
salt & pepper to taste
1. Put orange & lime juice in a mixing bowl. Add diced radishes.
2. Add chopped cilantro, 1 tsp raw sugar & 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar, salt & pepper.
3. Stir ingredients together, cover & chill for at least 1 hour before eating.
Serve as a side for grilled or baked fish or chicken, or eat with crispy tortilla chips.
I coated a piece of fresh tuna with herbs de Provence and pan-seared it in a bit of olive oil, adding some fresh mango slices along with my radish salsa.