Food Fads and Trends

The New York Times published “How Will Americans Eat Next Year” where Food Fad Forecasters prognosticated on trends for 2022. I wonder what it takes to be Food Fad Forecaster? Is it prescient ability to see the next great thing? Or wily observance of trends becoming mainstream? Maybe it’s ‘influencers’ priming the pump on trends they willfully make meme? In any case, the food forecast that caught my eye was the Flavor of the Year: Hibiscus.

Flavor of the Year

Yuzu has its fans, but the even money is on hibiscus, which is adding its crimson hue and tart, earthy flavor to everything from cocktails and sodas to crudos and yogurt.”

Kim Severson, New York Times. December 28, 2021

It just so happens that I have a packet of dried hibiscus on my kitchen counter. NYT calls it hibiscus, I call it Jamaican sorrel and Mexicans call it flor de Jamaica. In Mexico it is steeped in hot water, sweetened with sugar and served cold as a refreshing agua fresca.

I grew up knowing sorrel as a drink which was heavily flavored with ginger, cloves and rum. Lots and lots of rum. My mother made gallons of it at Christmas and served it with slices of equally spiked Christmas cake. It was very sweet and very potent. Having zero tolerance for alcohol, sorrel was never my favorite drink.

Years later, I learned that there were non-alcoholic versions of sorrel.

In December while shopping at my Caribbean grocery store, I spied a packet and thought to give it a try.

It was not bad. Floral, tart and fruity, it reminded me of those Celestial teas that were so trendy in the ’80s.

No surprise that on further inspection, the popular Red Zinger tea is made from hibiscus, peppermint and citrus.

My random thought today is:

Am I a Food Fad Forecaster with prescient ability to pick the next great thing? or am I an old foodie who’s been around so long that I’ve tried every trend? One thing is for sure, I’m no ‘influencer’ picking the next meme. I’d have to install Tick Tok first … or at least, learn to spell it right.

This is my submission to What’s on Your Plate hosted by fellow Canadians Donna and Deb.

I am stretching the rules a bit, as one would hardly drink sorrel from a plate. Although … with my mother’s rum sodden sorrel, I very well might have! 🥴


    1. Just to clarify .. it’s the hibiscus flower petals that are used for making tea & drinks. There is totally different plant, also called sorrel which is used like a vegetable. In France sorrel leaves are eaten raw in salads or cooked like spinach.

      It’s all very confusing isn’t it … Jamaican sorrel which is call Jamaica in Mexico and is unrelated to the vegetable sorrel in France, where they call Jamaican sorrel l’hibiscus!


    1. I’ve learned that Rosella is the same as sorrel and that it’s even more popular in Australia than I thought. It’s fun finding out that things I thought so unique, are not in fact unusual in other parts of the world.


        1. Now that’s interesting! I imagined that you’d strain the jam to remove the petals but looks like you strain the seeds & add the petal. I bet this is tasty. So strange that this was never made in Jamaica. We had other jams – like Guava Jam – which to my mind didn’t taste like anything but sugar.

          and I didn’t know that you could eat the leaves! I read your post immediately after telling Janet Mary Cobb that the leaves are not eaten! There is another plant, also called sorrel in France, which is unrelated to rosella/Jamaican sorrel/hibiscus, which is eaten like a vegetable.


          1. So many sorrels! Yes the rosella leaves are a big part of the jam and the flavour. A bit like the pulpy bits in a Berry conserve.
            Guava jam is delicious too, although I have not made it. I think the rosella is native so the leaves might be a little different in Jamaica. I’d love to send some over to you, but I have recently opened my last jar.

            Liked by 2 people

  1. Hi, Sandy – Thank you so much for joining us at What’s On Your Plate. I learned so much from your post — starting with Food Fad Forecasters. Who even knew that that was a thing. I loved your comment about Tik Tok — totally cracked me up!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I still drink Lemon Zinger, usually with additions of ginger, honey and extra lemon. I make a condensed version in a quart jar and then add ice and soda water (daytime) or Lonetree apple ginger cider (evenings). Gorgeous pink bubbles. This mixture is also good hot when you have a cold; a small splash of rum guarantees a good night’s sleep!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I had no idea hibiscus and sorrel were the same thing! I was introduced to hibiscus tea many years ago in El Salvador. Loved it. Thanks, Sandy. Learned something today!


    Liked by 2 people

  4. Hibiscus in the bottom of sparkling wine is a thing worth trying too… although you could, of course, always just have it in tea… They sell them here in a syrup…rosella too. Speaking of which, rosella jam or jelly and cordial is also a hing.

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