Dried hibiscus flowers prepared as an agua fresca: refreshing. Paletas using jamaica: delicious!
These paletas or frozen popsicles are prepared with a beautiful ruby hibiscus water and a touch of mint. Agua de jamaica is a very traditional agua fresca found all over Mexico. The flavors that come from the dried flowers of the hibiscus plant are amazing. Not only is it used as an ingredient for drinks, but also for marinades and, believe it or not, as a taco filling. The hibiscus flavor is tart, so it pairs well with sweet or spicy flavors, such as paletas de jamaica with mango and chamoy hot sauce. I believe the adults love those even more than the kids do!
Add the water and sugar to a sauce pan. Heat to medium and cook just until sugar is dissolved.
Remove from heat and mix in the hibiscus flowers. Let cool at room temperature.
When cooled, strain the hibiscus simple syrup into a pitcher. Add 2 cups of cold water, juice of 1 orange and juice of 1 lime. Mix and taste for sugar.
Pour into molds and drop in some of the chopped mint. If using plastic molds, insert the sticks and freeze overnight. If using wooden sticks, freeze for 90 minutes, then insert sticks. Let sit at room temperature for 5 minutes before removing from molds.
When working with hibiscus, especially in liquid form, wear an apron and have the paper towels handy. It can stain your clothes easily. Keep the hibiscus stored in an airtight storage bag in a cool, dry space.