Make yourself the best Sorrel drink or Zobo drink with pineapple and ginger! Refreshing, healthy, delicious, and easy to prepare, this is the perfect thirst-quencher!
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what is Zobo drink?
Zobo drink, bissap juice, hibiscus tea or Jamaican sorrel drink as it is popularly known is a dark red drink made from the petals of the Roselle plant or hibiscus plant flower. It is quite popular in Africa, South East Asia and the Caribbean, where it goes by different names such as Jamaican flower or Agua de Flor de Jamaica, Roselle, Sorelle in Jamaica, Zobo or Zoborodo in Nigeria, and Bissap juice in Benin; just to give a few examples.
Because of zobo's rich cultural history, I cannot tell you how happy I am to have it in this year's roundup of recipes, celebrating Juneteenth.
Join me in celebrating Juneteenth with more than 30 other Black culinary creators. Juneteenth marks America's second independence day, signifying the final emancipation of those enslaved in the US announced in 1865. This year, we are celebrating "Freedom Day" by offering a delightful selection of mains, sides, desserts, and refreshing drinks that are perfect for backyard barbecues and summer gatherings with friends and family.
Join us in honoring the legacy of progress and freedom by cooking and sharing these recipes. Additionally, you can easily follow each participant by using the hashtag #JuneteenthCookout2023 on Instagram. You can find a list of all recipes from the 2023 Juneteenth Virtual Cookout on the Eat the Culture website.
zobo health benefits
Zobo has numerous health benefits some of which include:-
- Helps sink blood pressure - Zobo drink has blood pressure sinking properties. A study conducted on pre and mildly hypertensive adults aged between 30 and 70 years old suggested that daily consumption of hibiscus tea could aid in lowering blood pressure in pre and mildly hypertensive adults.
- Another study showed that the consumption of Hisbiscus sabdariffa assists lower cholesterol by lowering LDL-C and triglycerides. Hibiscus also has anti-oxidant properties and assists impede atherosclerosis thereby contributing to cardiac health.
- It supports liver health, helps fight against bacteria and promotes weight loss.
- It is high in calcium and therefore helps support healthy bones, gums, and teeth.
- Helps with constipation and to soothe an irritated stomach.
- A recent study has proven that zobo contains compounds that induce potent anti-cancer effects on the body.
Read more about the benefits of hibiscus in this article.
Here are the ingredients you will need please to make zobo.
- hibiscus petals (fresh or dry) - you can buy hibiscus sepals in most African, Caribbean, and Asian stores. The dried petals are also available online, on stores such as Amazon.
- some water - this is the base of the drink.
- ginger - gives it a slight kick and some wonderful flavour. Ginger also has amazing health properties. Research data indicate that ginger and its components accumulate in the gastrointestinal tract, thereby supporting observations of ginger’s effectiveness as an anti-nausea agent and as a potential colon cancer-preventing compound.
- orange peel - The orange peel is what gives the drink its lovely aroma and fresh, summer,citrus-based taste.
- chopped pineapple - adds some natural sweetness.
- sugar-free sweetener - while you can still use regular sugar which is traditionally used to make bissap juice or Zobo, this recipe is a healthier version of the otherwise normally sugar-sweetened drink as it uses monk fruit sweetener, which is both paleo, low carb and keto suitable. Other low-carb sweeteners such as erythritol are also okay to use, if you prefer.
- cinnamon sticks - these also give the drink a lovely aroma and flavour.
- star anise - is a spice that is totally optional but that I certainly recommend.
how to make zobo drink
Here is a summary of how to make Zobo drink with pineapple and ginger on the stovetop. The detailed instructions, refrigeration, and freezing instructions have been provided in the recipe card below. You can also make it using your Instant Pot or pressure cooker, as shown here.
- Wash the hibiscus leaves, drain, and set this aside. Proceed to wash the orange and peel it. You only need the rind (orange peel) for this recipe.
- Roughly slice the ginger. Using a blender, blend the pineapple and ginger.
- Boil water in a pot then add the sweetener. Add the hibiscus leaves, orange peel, cinnamon sticks, and star anise (optional). Cover and allow to simmer.
- Once done, remove the pot from the heat and allow it to cool. Add the blended pineapple and ginger, stir, then use a strainer or a piece of cheesecloth to sieve the bissap juice into a bowl or another pot. If using a cheesecloth, squeeze again to get as liquid as possible. Taste and add more sweetener if desired.
- Keep it in the refrigerator to chill. To serve, fill glasses with ice and pour the chilled Zobo drink on top. Serve chilled and enjoy.
refregeration and freezing
One great thing about zobo drink is that it can be kept in the fridge or freezer for later!
Refrigeration:- Transfer your cooled sorrel to sterilized bottles or suitable containers, seal, and keep in the coldest part of your fridge. It will keep in the fridge for 3-5 days.
Freezing: If you want to store the zobo drink for an extended period, transfer it to sterilized bottles or suitable containers, seal, and freeze for 3-5 months. When you're ready to enjoy the zobo drink, remove it from the refrigerator or freezer and let it thaw overnight in the fridge, if frozen. Shake well before serving.
more recipes to love!
With roots in the African diaspora, these recipes represent a rich culinary tapestry. Influenced by African traditions, these dishes offer a vibrant fusion of flavors and ingredients. Recipes such as Afro-Caribbean-inspired Mango Scotch Bonnet Chicken Wings, this refreshing Zobo drink that is popular in West Africa, and Crispy Uda Pepper Shrimp featuring the Senegalese pepper showcase the diverse range of African culture.
To make this year's Juneteenth celebration even more special, celebrate in style with these tasty red-themed recipes from our other talented Black food creators:-
Great news, you have made it this far which means you probably made or are making this Zobo drink! It would go a long way if you could leave a ⭐rating on the recipe card or comment in the comments section below.
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This recipe has been updated in December 2022 with new process shots.
Zobo or Sorrel Drink Recipe
- 2 cups dried hibiscus leaves
- 10 cups water
- ½ piece ginger (roughly sliced)
- 1 pineapple (roughly chopped)
- 1 peel of an orange
- ½ cup sugar or monk fruit sweetener (optional) (see notes).
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- 3 star anise (optional)
- Wash the hibiscus leaves, drain and set aside. Proceed to wash the orange and peel it. This recipe only uses the rind so it is better to use good quality, uncontaminated oranges. Using a blender, blend the ginger and pineapple.
- Add water to a medium-sized pot and allow it to come to a boil then add the monk fruit sweetener. Reduce the heat to medium, stir and allow to dissolve.½ cup sugar or monk fruit sweetener (optional), 10 cups water
- Add the hibiscus leaves, ginger, orange peel, cinnamon sticks, and star anise (optional). Cover and allow to simmer for 30 minutes, stirring from time to time.2 cups dried hibiscus leaves, ½ piece ginger, 1 peel of an orange, 3 cinnamon sticks, 3 star anise, 1 pineapple
- Once done, remove the pot from the heat and allow it to cool. Add the blended pineapple and ginger, stir; then use a strainer or a piece of cheesecloth to sieve the bissap juice into a bowl or another pot. If using a cheesecloth, squeeze again to get as liquid as possible. Taste and add more sweetener if desired.
- Pop it in the refrigerator to chill. To serve, fill glasses with ice and pour the chilled Zobo drink on top. Serve cold, and enjoy.
- For a more intense flavour, allow your Zobo to refrigerate overnight. This allows the spices to blend with the hibiscus.
- The longer the drink boils, the more intense the flavour will be. Boil the ingredients for a shorter period of time (about 15 minutes) if you prefer a much less intense flavour. Also, for a more concentrated flavour, use the pineapple peels during the boiling stage.
- Use less water for a more concentrated flavour. The more concentrated the drink, the tangier it will be. To dilute, simply add more water.
- You can spice your Zobo drink or Caribbean Sorrel in so many ways. Other popular spices include black pepper, nutmeg or allspice berries. You can also use pineapple, lime or lemon peel.
- The monk fruit is a zero calorie sweetener that does not spike blood sugar. It is an optional ingredient so feel free to use other sweeteners such as regular sugar or erythritol, or leave this out completely.
frequently asked questions
The two are not the same and have the following main differences:
Hibiscus also known as (Hibiscus sabdariffa) is a perennial woody-based herb with a stout, fleshy calyx and bright red petals (the petals attain the bright red colour upon maturity, they normally have a cream colour before maturing). This is what is used to make the Zobo or Caribbean Sorrel Drink.
Sorrel also known as garden sorrel, is a herby perennial herb with green edible leaves, almost similar to young mangold. The leaves are normally blended in soups or used in salads.
Zobo has a citrusy taste, almost like a mix of raspberry and orange juice. To cut off the tangy taste, it is usually sweetened with sugar. In Jamaica, Sorrel is normally made around the Christmas period (the same way eggnog is served around Christmas time). It is also a great summer drink, especially when served chilled. Different Islands in the Caribbean have their own recipe variation of the drink (mostly through the use of different spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger). Some recipes also involve the use of rum.