Friday, 22 January 2010

The Ribena Plant?

I finally know the name of this mysterious plant which my parents call the Ribena plant. I was telling them that Ribena is a name of a blackcurrant drink but they were adamant that the plant is called Ribena.

Strangely, I saw Guardian in Kota Kinabalu selling packaged snacks made of these "Ribena buds". This is not a Ribena plant or flower. It is Roselle, which belongs to the family of Hibiscus. Its scientific name is Hibiscus sabdariffa.

It tastes exactly like Ribena but we drink it mixed with other fruit juices because it is extremely sour without any sugar. We grow them at home where my father tends to carefully like all plants in our garden. My mum washes them, then peels off the red skin. The skin is boiled until all the extracts are removed from the skin. The boiled liquid is what our home calls the Ribena drink. According to mum, it is high in Vitamin C and is an anti-oxidant.

I've brought some to a colleague to try. Much later when she'd caught a cold, I'd asked her if she wanted me to bring more of the drink and she accepted the offer. So, perhaps, it's effective after all?

Personally, it tastes good with fruit juices. I find that drinking too much of it makes my stomach feels like having gastric, due to its acidity.

Check out the following blogs on their entries of the Roselle (Ribena) plant.
1) Life is like that has pretty pictures of the "ribena" fruit.
2) Jessie Ling's and Maya Kirana's blogs teach on how to make the "ribena" drink.
3) Wilson Wong's entry on the roselle plant is comprehensive yet informative and provided a link to a much detailed website.

The Roselle buds

What once was a well-kept single bush of Roselle plant has now multiplied to several!


Xiu Hong said...

I planted some in my garden.. It is very acidic.. you will feel it when you cook it for long period. It will erode your pot.

rabbit said...

Yes it is.

When my mum mixes a concoction from some of the syrup she has extracted from the plant, she always remind me to have eaten something before taking the drink.