Butterfly pea

Sometimes completely random things will catch my attention while I’m browsing; whether it be the internets, a big pile of books, or some market I’m wandering around in. Random thing causes research frenzy and then either action or moving on to the next thing.

This week’s is the butterfly pea.

Butterfly pea

The latin name makes sense now, doesn't it?

The butterfly pea, Clitoria ternatea, is apparently native to south and southeast Asia, and the beautiful blue flowers are made into a mild-tasting but antioxidant-rich tea or cold syrup-based drink. Most interesting to me is that the flowers produce a food-safe blue dye. It’s also used in Ayurvedic medicine, though I couldn’t find any evidence of the blue dye-producing flowers being used in India, only Thailand and Nyonya cooking in Malaysia.

From here:

This drink is served together with small jar of lime juice and pandan leaves flavoured syrup. The syrup is obviously for adding sweetness to it, while the lime juice performs magic.

When the deep indigo coloured tea made from pea flowers meets the juice of lime, it instantly turns into bright red purple colour. The drink itself has the slightest trace of ordinary bean flavour. The lime juice not only changes it colour, also adds flavour to the drink. Butterfly pea flower tea could be served either hot or cold, both with lime juice and syrup. However, cold one is much more fun for you could play with the colour changing magic easier through a tall glass.

Isn’t that cool? The possibilities for blue foods are endless. I can make pulut inti!

I found a source to order the dried flowers for tea online, but I’m even more interested in growing it myself. And look! There’s an exotic nursery in Punta Gorda with plants! There are definite advantages to living in Florida.

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