These vibrant hibiscus ice pops are an easy summer frozen treat that require only dried hibiscus, water, and sugar. Here’s how to make them.
The bright burgundy color of these hibiscus ice pops is only half the beauty of this delicious flower. It’s one of the most common flavors for aguas frescas, and its acidity is fantastic in this yummy frozen treat. [Editor’s Note: Curious about that other ice pop in the photo? You know the one, the spectacularly vibrant orange-hued ice pop? Rest easy, we’ve got that recipe, too. Just take a gander at our Spicy Mango Ice Pops recipe.]–Fany Gerson
LC Getting Your Hands on Hibiscus Flowers Note
Dried hibiscus blossoms are well worth seeking out for reasons that extend beyond just their flamboyant hue and sassy floral taste. Long revered among various cultures for varying reputed benefits, the crimson blooms can be steeped in hot water as an amelioratory tea or infused into a Christmasy cocktail punch. (We’re particularly keen on the tradition of Tahitian women who tuck a flower behind an ear to indicate their hand is ready for marriage. Why didn’t they try that in Sex and the City?!) Seek dried hibiscus blossoms out at hippy-like health food stores (if you’re in Manhattan, you can buy them in bulk at Integral Yoga Natural Foods) as well as online from any number of sources at Amazon.
Hibiscus Ice Pops
- 1 1/2 cups dried hibiscus flowers (see LC Getting Your Hands on Hibiscus Flowers Note for sources)
- 6 cups water
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- Dump all the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and continue cooking until the liquid is reduced by half to about 3 cups, which should take 20 to 40 minutes or so, depending on the size of the pan. Remove the pan from the heat and let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl. (If the mixture reduced too much to pour easily, add a little hot water.) Taste the hibiscus syrup. If it seems slightly too sweet, add a little cold water, a touch at a time, until the flavor pleases you. Discard the flowers or do like we do and spread them on a parchment-lined baking sheet and dry them in a low oven for little garnishes for cakes or cupcakes or other sweet little somethings to nibble.
- Fill a large bowl halfway with ice water. Place the bowl of hibiscus syrup in the ice water and stir occasionally until room temperature. Cover the hibiscus syrup and refrigerate until completely cooled, at least 4 hours and up to overnight.
- Divide the hibiscus syrup among ice pop molds or wax-lined paper cups and freeze until it’s just beginning to set, about 3 hours. Insert the sticks into the molds or cups. Let the ice pops freeze for at least 3 more hours, then unmold as directed or peel off the paper cups.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
Wow. The taste of these lovely, lovely ice pops is just as lurid as their vibrant hue. It’s deeply floral and, yes, sweet, but not cloyingly so. I have to admit, I only made a few ice pops, as it was all I could do to not sip all of the syrup straight from the saucepan—technically, from a spoon—as I stood at the stove. I added a little extra water to mine after first sipping some, as it was a little on the syrupy side for my taste. Then it was crazy perfect for my taste. I’m going to try this again (and again and again and again), and one of the many things I want to try is reducing the liquid even longer and stashing the resulting syrup in the fridge rather than the freezer and harnessing it as something to splash in Champagne or sparkling wine or just a simple glass of seltzer. I’m also going to turn some of the liquid into ice cubes and use them the next time I serve sangria to lend it a little lilt.
Originally published July 26, 2011