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Cranberry Hibiscus: A Tropical Treasure in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

This amazingly beautiful plant is not only attractive to the eyes but also to the taste buds! It is believed to have originated in Africa but is now found in many tropical regions throughout the world as well.

One thing we love about jungle life is learning about the edible plants and herbs around us! Both the flowers and leaves of cranberry hibiscus are edible. The flower holds a much milder flavour than the leaves but is equally packed full of nutrients. The shrub grows at rapid rates and the more it is pruned, the healthier it grows. Cranberry hibiscus makes a perfect candidate for the garden to table salads.

The flowers are most commonly used to make Hibiscus Tea. You can brew your tea with dried or fresh flowers. The fresh flowers are said to retain more benefits than if dried but they do not store well so the next best option is to sun dry them or dry them on very low heat in the oven.

The leaves resemble a magenta-coloured maple leaf. The flavour is remarkably similar to cranberries: acidic yet a hint of sweet, berry flavour. The younger, smaller leaves are great for salads and can be enjoyed when eaten fresh. The older, larger leaves can be cooked to make them a bit more tender and palatable.

It is believed that Cranberry Hibiscus contains a compound called polyphenols which have been proven to combat inflammation. Some research supports that it also contains high levels of antioxidants that can help fight cancer, lower cholesterol and improve liver function.

This plant contains very high levels of protein and vitamins B3, B2, A and C.

Due to its acidity, this amazing shrub also offers a great natural alternative to insecticides in the home garden. Not only does it deter certain insects from the garden but it also attracts beneficial insects to help control the living populations of unwanted pests that have camped out.

Thanks Cranberry Hibiscus, you true tropical treasure!


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