The New York Times named hibiscus as the Flavor of the Year in 2022 because of its “crimson hue and tart, earthy flavor”—with 2022 Food and Beverage Flavor Trends calling hibiscus a flavor on this rise. At the Culinary Vegetable Institute, we couldn’t agree more. We’ve been saluting the unique flavor of hibiscus for years.
Bar Garnish: Candied Hibiscus
Dip hibiscus leaves in water, and then in a sugar-citric acid blend. Transfer them to a dehydrator and dry until delightfully crispy. Results are like fresh Sour Patch Kids! They’re perfect to garnish cocktails and in salads and canapés.
Fine Dining: Hibiscus Salad with Violas
The flavor of hibiscus has been compared to pomegranate or cranberry, and its leaves are eye-catching, not what diners expect in a salad. To add a layer of honey-vegetal flavor and bright pops of color, top with edible violas: bright yellow lemon meringue, for example, or the intensely-hued black raspberry.
Banquet/Country Club Dining: Petite Salads
For banquets, there’s nothing better than small bites that offer up big flavor. These enticing little salads serve as passed canapes, topped with green hibiscus leaf pieces, offering an unexpected surprise—something different from a more typical banquet offering.
More About the Hibiscus Leaf
Use hibiscus leaves in these dishes as well as in fruit salads, stir fries, and slaws—and refreshing hot and iced teas.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this installment of our “Plating Techniques” series!