Monin Hibiscus Syrup
Monin Hibiscus Syrup is just one of a delicious range of flavours, used by coffee shops such as Costa Coffee and enjoyed across the country and further afield.
The bottles come in a 70cl Glass Bottle, and a 1l Plastic bottle variation which is ideal for bars, cafes and coffee shops, but can also be used at home.
Hibiscus comes from a family of flowering plants that includes several hundred species which are found in subtropical and tropical regions around the world. The base leaves of the flowers are used to make a tea which is well-loved for its deep red colour, sharp flavour and exceptionally high vitamin C content. Some species of hibiscus are edible and can be dried, candied or used as a garnish whereas others are used as a vegetable. Monin Hibiscus syrup captures the floral notes of this versatile flower and adds a fragrant hit to a range of drinks.
Hibiscus in history
Mentions of the hibiscus are made in some of the worlds oldest writings with a physician in the 3rd century BCE praising the plant for its medicinal properties. Hibiscus is also named in early poems and an ancient epigram describes the graves of the ancients being planted with flowers from the same family because it was believed that the dead would be able to feed on the plants.
The name Hibiscus describes more than 250 species of which some are more herb-like and others are grown for their vibrant flowers that grow in a range of colours. Those grown in Cuba thrive in the tropical climate which can bring on respiratory problems for the locals who use the hibiscus to treat their coughs.
In Colombia, hibiscus is used to treat hair loss and scurvy and in Samoa it is thought to relieve the pain of childbirth, but there are strains which can have the same effect as alcohol, not to mention those that can induce hallucinations, so there are some species which are best avoided.
Hibiscus around the world
Hibiscus is grown in gardens all over the world although in some areas it is considered an invasive species and treated as a weed. However, there are areas in which hibiscus is considered a staple foodstuff, such as Turkey where they stuff it with bulgar wheat or rice and the boiled leaves are used as a side dish. One member of the hibiscus family is grown in China where it is made into a herbal infusion and used to treat a range of conditions.
Perennial strains of the hibiscus are usually grown purely as decorative plants, but in Catalonia, the leaves are thought to relieve the pain of the rash caused by stinging nettles. The leaves of younger plants can be used as an alternative to lettuce, the older ones can be cooked in the same way as other leafy greens and the buds and flowers of hibiscus plants are often used in salads.
In Northeast India, a species of hibiscus is cultivated for use in many of the traditional dishes of their local cuisine despite being almost unheard of in the rest of India. Similarly, in Kashmir, the leaves are highly sought-after to make a vegetable dish known as Soachal.
This family of plants are also used extensively in Austrian medicine both as a tea, which is drunk to aid digestion, and in baths to treat skin problems. In ancient Egypt, hibiscus tea was used to treat nerve and heart disease and to lower body temperature, whereas a pulp made from hibiscus leaves is used to treat wounds in parts of Africa.
Make the most of hibiscus syrup
The tart flavour of hibiscus makes certain flavour combinations really work, which is why a shot of hibiscus syrup in a cup of fragrant mint tea is always a treat. Anything flavoured with rose will also bring out the flavour of hibiscus.
This recipe combines the familiar sweetness of meringue with the delicious tang of hibiscus and uses the amazing deep colour to create a truly striking dish.
You will need:
Monin hibiscus syrup
120g of caster sugar
2tsp of cornstarch
Pinch of sea salt
3 large egg whites
¼ tsp of cream of tartar
250ml of cream
2 hibiscus teabags
Whipped cream dispenser
1. Preheat the oven to 120°C and line a baking sheet with parchment or baking paper
2. Whisk 2 tsp of sugar with the corn starch and the salt in a small bowl ensuring that there are no lumps
3. Cut the teabag open and crush the contents into a fine powder using a pestle and mortar, food processor or spice mill
4. Whisk the egg whites with the cream of tartar until the mixture forms soft peaks
5. Add the remaining sugar slowly and beat in between to ensure they are thoroughly combined
6. Sprinkle the sugar, salt and cornstarch mixture into the egg whites and fold in gently
7. Using a strainer with a fine mesh, sprinkle half of the ground hibiscus into the mixture and combine gently
8. Spoon the meringue mixture onto the baking sheet, making six mounds and using a spoon to make a small well in each, then sprinkle the remaining ground hibiscus
9. Bake the meringues slowly, turning regularly, until the outsides are dry which should take around 65-75 minutes, then turn off the oven and leave the door ajar until the meringues have cooled completely
10. To make the whipped cream, add the monin hibiscus syrup to the cream in the canister of a whipped cream dispenser. Screw on the cream charger, and shake vigorously to mix. Squirt the whipped cream into the meringue wells, and dust with the remaining ground hibiscus.
This classic pavlova recipe is the perfect way to showcase the flavour of hibiscus, offsetting the slight tartness with the sweetness of the meringue and the sumptuous silkiness of the whipped cream.