Hello Everyone! Tonight I’ll be sharing my last blue recipe for the year! I honestly thought that this would be a difficult colour to feature when I was first planning dishes for this theme, but I enjoyed cooking up the blue dishes that I shared with you guys over the past two months! I don’t think I ever talked about the butterfly pea flower and its many benefits in any of my posts so I thought I’d share them here to wrap up my blue theme.
Butterfly Pea Flower Health Benefits
Also known as Clitoria Ternatea, they have been consumed for centuries as a memory enhancer, brain booster, anti-stress and calmative agent. It is an amazing brain boosting herb native to tropical equatorial Asia. It is jam-packed with health promoting antioxidants, flavonoids, and peptides, and has shown considerable promise in studies as a natural remedy for a range of health complaints.
In studies to date, Butterfly Pea has shown to act on several key systems of the body:
- The Nervous System – it has a calming effect on the brain.
- The Digestive System – it is an antiemetic (anti-nausea), anti-dyspeptic (anti-indigestion), mild-laxative, and stimulates flow of bile from the liver.
- The Circulatory System – it helps stop bleeding and is a blood purifier.
- The Respiratory System – it acts as an expectorant and has shown to reduce the irritation of respiratory organs, and is useful in treating colds, coughs and even asthma.
- The Urinary System – it is a diuretic, helping promote normal urination and can be used for difficulty in urinating.
- The Reproductive System – it is reported to be spermatogenic, aiding in normal sperm production
- The Integumentary System – pre-maturing ageing is often a problem of the skin. Flavonoids present in the butterfly pea flower haa been found to boost collagen production, increasing the skin elasticity…
…And that’s only just naming a few of its health benefits.
Butterfly Pea Flower in Food
Known for its luminous indigo colour, the butterfly pea flower is traditionally used as a vegetable in cooking, to colour desserts, or to make a strikingly vibrant coloured tea. In traditional Thai cooking, butterfly pea flowers are squeezed for their blue extract, which is then mixed with coconut milk and other base ingredients to naturally colour Thai desserts blue and purple.
Traditional butterfly pea flower tea is made from the ternatea flowers and dried lemongrass. One of the most distinctive characteristics of butterfly pea flower tea, and indeed other drinks that use the butterfly-pea flower extract, is that it will change color when the pH balance changes. A deep blue tea will turn purple with the addition of lemon juice, turning a deeper shade of purple the more lemon juice is added. If mixed with fuchsia roselle hibiscus leaves, the tea will turn a bright red colour.
Similar to the recipe that I shared last week, the magic in this recipe comes from this little blue flower and the addition of lemon juice. Like most magic tricks, this one is based resoundingly on science. The magical colour changing effect comes when these two components are mixed: the blue tea turns purple and eventually magenta the more acid is added. I think we can all agree this is quite possibly the prettiest (and most entertaining) lemonade ever.
To make this magic lemonade, you’ll need to get your hands on some fresh or dried butterfly pea flowers. These are steeped along with sugar and hot water to make a vibrant blue sugar syrup, which makes up half the final lemonade. The other half is simply lemon juice and soda water. You may also use sparkling or just plain water.
PREP TIME <10 MINS | COOKING TIME 10-15 MINS | SERVES 4-6
For the blue sugar syrup
- 3 cups water
- 1 cup white granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup dried butterfly pea flowers
- 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 8-10 large lemons)
- Ice cubes
- Mint leaves (optional)
- Sparkling soda water
- Combine all the ingredients for the blue sugar syrup in a medium-sized saucepan. Bring to a rapid simmer and then remove from heat.
- Cover and let it steep for about 10 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh sieve, discarding solids, and then set aside to cool.
- Fill individual serving glasses with ice and pour the cooled butterfly pea flower sugar syrup, filling the glass to about a third of the way.
- Add the juice of about 1 lemon together with some mint leaves. At this point, you’ll start to see some colour changes happening.
- Pour the soda water and watch the magic happen! Enjoy!
– Ally xx