Last week I mentioned dried hibiscus flowers. I got mine in a basket from Bountiful Baskets. You can also buy them online, just Google "shop for dried hibiscus flowers" and you'll get a whole list. A pound is plenty, and go for the whole flowers.
When I got mine, the first thing I did was surf the web looking for ways to use them. I tried a couple of different things but this was the best recipe. If you have fresh mint growing in your yard, you're all set. I have apple mint, which has fuzzy leaves and a milder taste than a lot of mints. If you have spearmint or a really strong mint, just use less of it, unless you like strong mint flavor.
Oh, by the way, this is not a thick pancake syrup. It's a drink/flavoring syrup. My kids' first question was, "Are you going to make pancakes for it?" Nope, not that kind.
1/2 lb dried whole hibiscus flowers, about 1 1/2 cups
1 cup fresh mint leaves
3 c. water
1 c. sugar
Put hibiscus and mint leaves in a 2 quart saucepan, cover with the water. Bring to boil. Cover the pan and let it steep for 20 minutes. Strain out the flowers and leaves. Return the liquid to the pan. It should be a lovely deep red color and smell fruity and flowery.
Add the sugar. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20-40 minutes, until the liquid is reduced by about half and becomes like a thin syrup. Cool, then store in your refrigerator. It will thicken a little more and almost become a soft jelly. That's normal.
Hibiscus Ice Cream
3 c. vanilla ice cream mix (Russell's makes a great one out here in Utah, or you can use your favorite vanilla ice cream recipe. I have a smaller ice cream maker that only does about 5-6 c. of ice cream at a time, so feel free to adjust the amount of this recipe.)
1/4 c. hibiscus syrup
Pour both items into your ice cream maker. Freeze according to manufacturer's directions. This makes a lovely lavender colored ice cream.
Hibiscus Fruit Punch
1 c. hibiscus syrup
1 c. sugar
Juice lemons, orange, and limes. Pour into a gallon pitcher. You should have about 2 c. of juice total. Add hibiscus syrup and sugar. Stir well. Add ice and water to make three quarts. Stir again to make sure the sugar is dissolved and everything is mixed. If you want to boost the lemonade flavor, you can add a half cup or so of lemon juice.