A lover of all all things handmade as well as gardening, the beginning of summer means its a time to harvest the last of my winter crops and begin making pickles and jams to give as gifts over the festive season.
The Roselle a species of Hibiscus, also known as the rosella fruit in Australia is easy to grow. It’s an annual or perennial herb or woody-based subshrub, growing to 2–2.5 m tall and the flowers become fleshy and bright red as the fruit matures.
The stem may be used as a substitute for jute in making burlap. The red calyces used for food colouring, syrup and jams, and the green leaves in a light soup or stews, fried or eaten raw as a spicy version of spinach.
I often make a refreshing drink by boiling dried sepals and calyces in water for 8 to 10 minutes (or until the water turns red), strain, then add a sugar, lemon or lime juice and serve chilled. I also love filling the flowers with goats cheese and serving them on fresh baguette slices.
The main reason I grow them though, is to make Jam! Rosella jam differs from other jams in that the pectin is obtained from boiling the interior buds of the rosella flowers then strained and added to the mixture with sugar.
My recipe just in case your interested!
Step 1: I remove the red fleshy calyx, and the pods, and save each separately.
Step 2: Place the pods in a saucepan, just cover with water and boil until soft. Remove from heat, strain and save the liquid.
Step 3: Place the red calyx in a separate saucepan and, using the liquid from the pods, just cover them.
Step 4: Simmer over heat until soft; remove and measure the volume. Then add an equal amount of sugar to liquid. (ie: 1 cup of liquid with calyx to 1 cup of sugar). Replace on the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove and cool slightly, then bottle in sterilised jars.
From experience,the pods must to be green as this indicates they have pectin. Also, I’ve found washing flowers or pods before preparation add’s too much liquid to the mixture and the jam tends not to set.
If drinking or eating them is not your thing, they always make for lovely arrangements in a home!