I was all set – more than set, pumped! – to tell you about Junkanoo and my experience at a Junkanoo practice last night, but it was rainy yesterday and the practice didn’t happen. When I texted my mum about my disappointment, she said “Oh. Probably it was too wet. Bahamians don’t go out in the rain.” It’s true! So I wasn’t that surprised when my friend and I pulled up to a ghostly parking lot. Still, I had hoped that since it was dry when we were leaving the show would go on. It didn’t rain anymore for the night either! At least as far as I can tell.
Anyway, that leads me to the subject of today’s post: hibiscus honey! As I wondered last night what I could tell you about instead of the practice, I thought of this pink flower I took a picture of last week and the idea popped into my head. Who knows what that pink flower is, but I’m sure you’re familiar with hibiscus since they’re emblematic of all things tropical. They’re rather delicate, barely surviving on the tree, much less in your hair. I’ve had more hibiscus wilt on my head than I can count. I’d pluck a flower, place it artfully beside my bun or, when my hair was shorter, faux-hawk, and skip along my merry way. Later, I’d jump as some strange thing fell onto my neck – my flower! 🙁 Or I’d catch my reflection in a car or shop window and the flower would be drooping and sad. If it lasted an hour, that would be long.
Let me tell ya, the real money in the hibiscus is the sweet nectar at the base of the flower. When I was younger and saw the bushes in bloom I’d make a beeline to them and pick one after another, separating the petals from the receptacle and sucking on the bottom of the flower. There’s only a little of the hibiscus honey inside, not even a quarter teaspoon, hence the need to pick so many from my grandmother’s trees. But I wouldn’t take all the flowers! I’d stop after 5 or 6. Now how much of that was because I felt bad and how much was because I’d had enough nectar, I can’t say.
I have no clue how I learned there was honey at the base of the hibiscus. And not all hibiscus either! Specifically the kind with green and white variegated leaves. I’ve tried plenty, and other varieties are disappointingly dry. The ones in these pictures have just a teeny amount.
Did a friend (Elora) show me? Did I notice the nectar one day and was curious enough to taste? Earlier this semester there were trees on campus covered in round yellow and red fruits. I wondered about them for all of maybe two days before I eventually gave in and bit into one, praying I wouldn’t get poisoned. As a grown adult.
However I found out, I always think of hibiscus honey when I see the flowers on the trees. Sometimes I wonder if I could get away with plucking one, but most of the time I leave them alone. Have you ever had hibiscus honey? Is there some other flower nectar you’ve tried that I should know about? Please tell me in the comments!