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A Citrus Christmas Treat: Honey Tangerines with Hibiscus Flower Syrup


Our Blurry Christmas Tree


It’s Christmas weekend! What a fantastic treat for us on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday. And I know we are all looking forward to eating all the jollof rice, pies and roasts. I recently planned my own Christmas menu and I couldn’t resist the temptation to add more and more. 

My brother in law is sorting out pudding and as he is vegan he likes to get a special fruity pudding. Its so rich and moist with some oat cream which goes on top, but also very heavy after all that feasting.

And so, I have added a fruit dessert, a citrus Christmas treat which we can enjoy in-between meals or after pudding, with a bit of exercise dancing. As a child, I remember peeling a tangerine while holding it up to my face with my eyes closed. That refreshing spritz of citrus water always felt like a mini spa break., and even now it brings back such sweet memories. It is delicious, refreshing and the perfect palate cleanser.

A Citrus Christmas Treat


If you are in Africa then Tangerines will most likely be available, but in some countries tangerines are less popular, instead clementines are common because they have little or no seeds. Substitute with what you have, oranges are also as delightful.

The Hibiscus Flower Syrup is not really a syrup in the sense that it is not one part water and one part sugar as a syrup recipe calls for. In Nigeria Hibiscus flowers is known as Zobo and is enjoyed as a drink or tea. I love to use it for sweet and savoury syrups and glazes for cakes, meat or fish. I just love the dark crimson hue extracted from the dried leaves.

Tangerines are already quite sweet, clementines are less sweet, so this recipe really allows you to tailor the ingredients to your preferred taste. Add more or less honey to suit you, and use sugar if you don’t have honey. But honey is far more delicious I can assure you. Make this Citrus Christmas Treat your own and enjoy it with family and friends.

Honey Tangerines with Hibiscus Flower Syrup 

For 6 – 8 tummies
Preparation time: 20 minutes to 1 hour


10 – 12 tangerines or clementine, peeled & separated

1 tbsp dried hibiscus leaves

500ml water

Juice of two lemons

5cm / a thumbsize ginger, peeled and grated

3 – 4 star anise

1 cinammon stick

½ tsp lemon zest

2 tbsp honey

4 basil leaves, chopped

Let’s start with the hibiscus brew. On medium heat bring a small pot to the boil with 500ml of cold water. Rinse the hibiscus leaves and add into the pot. Also add the tangerine peels, ginger, star anise and cinnamon stick. Once hot, turn heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Take off the heat and leave to steep for up 20 minutes. Using a sift with tiny holes, drain the liquid and discard the peels and leaves. Save the cinnamon stick and cloves and place in a bowl.

Add the honey, lemon juice, chopped basil and lemon zest. If the honey is thick, mix it with a tablespoon of hot water before adding to the steeped hibiscus liquid. Mix well and add the tangerines into the liquid. You can serve immediately, in small bowls or cute little glass cups. But the longer the fruit sits in the hibiscus syrup, the more it will absorb its yummy honey, citrus flavours. You can add a dash of brandy or your favourite liqueur to it.

Oh! I cannot wait to finish off Christmas lunch with this!


From my family to yours!



  1. Pingback: Lerato’s recipe for sharing this Christmas — Features — The Guardian Nigeria | Lerato Loves Food

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