In this week's The Willowbee Tree story, “Pushing the Sun”, Little Ty has been feeling particularly small. If he could have one wish, it would be to be taller.
But then the Willow Tree takes him to the Nile River of Ancient Egypt, where the smallest creature of all pushes the powerful sun across the sky with its tiny legs and tiny steps. Ty and his brother and sister return home with a new appreciation for the powers of being small.
Pushing the sun across the sky sounds like thirsty work, and — since the children went to Egypt — what could be more appropriate to quench their thirst than a tall, cool glass of hibiscus iced tea?
Hibiscus tea (which goes by many other names in Northern Africa, including “karkady” and “bissap juice”) is a popular Egyptian drink, made by steeping dried hibiscus blossoms in hot water. It can be drunk hot or cold, and its rosy red hue makes it feel incredibly festive.
Even after scouring a few good markets, though, I had no luck finding loose-leaf hibiscus blossoms in my Midwestern town. The best I could do was a box of “Berry Hibiscus” tea bags, but those — as it turned out — were good enough. The resulting tea was refreshing, with just a hint of puckishness on the back end. It was a cousin to unsweetened cranberry juice.
Of course, you can add sweetener to this tea if you like, but I recommend waiting to add it to individual glasses right as you're pouring. Whether you're pushing the sun across the sky or just having a rigorous day of autumn leaf raking, this tea will hit the spot.
10 Berry Hibiscus flavor tea bags
5 cups hot water
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 tablespoon orange blossom water
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
10 mint leaves
In a large pitcher or mason jar, pour 5 cups of almost-boiling water over the tea bags. Allow the tea to steep for about 10 minutes, then strain off or fish out the tea bags. Add the vanilla, orange blossom water, and nutmeg.
Then, tear the mint leaves and add those, too. Stir the mixture well, then chill it in the refrigerator for at least a half hour.
Once the tea is chilled, serve over ice. Add sugar, to taste, to each individual glass.
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About the Author
The Sparkle Kitchen Series is created by Meryl Carver-Allmond.
Meryl lives in a hundred year old house near the prairie with her sweet husband, two pre-schoolers, one puppy, one gecko, and about ten chickens. While she's been writing since she could pick up a pen, in recent years she's discovered the joy of photography, too. She feels lucky to be able to combine those skills, along with a third passion--showing people that cooking for themselves can be healthy and fun--in her weekly Sparkle Kitchen posts.
When Meryl isn't writing for Sparkle Kitchen, you can find her on her personal blog, My Bit of Earth, where she writes about chickens, babies, knitting, gardening, food, photography, and whatever else tickles her fancy on any given day.