We’re quickly headed towards summer here in Abidjan. All of our favorite tropical fruits are coming back to the market and we are profiting by producing an array of fresh juices in our Abidjan kitchen.
One of the juices our family looks forward to, and even craves, in the hot weather is bissap. Bissap, in its simplest form, is nothing more than iced, sweetened hibiscus tea. However, here in Abidjan, it’s commonly enjoyed with tropical fruits, mint, and other flavorings. There’s even a spicy version!
We like ours with pineapple. It’s simple to make and, according to scientists, it’s pretty good for your health too (particularly cardiovascular health). So, do give it a try and let us know what you think!
Country of Origin: Côte d’Ivoire
10 c water
2 c dried hibiscus flowers
1 pineapple, peeled, cored and sliced
1 bunch fresh mint, washed thoroughly, roots removed
1-2 cups sugar, or to taste
4 packets vanilla sugar (if available) or 1 tsp vanilla extract
1. Bring 10 cups water to a boil in a medium stockpot.
2. Meanwhile, rinse the hibiscus flowers in a strainer over the sink. Be careful, because the red color will bleed a bit under the running water. Leave in sink to drain.
3. Once the water reaches a rolling boil, add hibiscus flowers pineapple and fresh mint. Boil for 5-10 minutes, or until the color becomes a deep, purplish red.
4. Remove from heat and allow mixture to cool.
5. As soon as the mixture is cool enough to handle, remove mint and discard.
6. Remove pineapple slices and purée in a blender.
7. Strain the bissap into a large bowl. Return the pineapple purée to the bissap, along with sugar (to taste) and vanilla sugar or vanilla extract.
8. Stir until sugar dissolves completely.
9. Bottle the bissap and chill thoroughly.
10. Serve over ice, garnished with a sprig of fresh mint and/or a squeeze of lime.
Stay tuned for decadent bissap cocktail recipes later this week!