Great food, travel, good natural health and music are some of my biggest life passions.
Rosella jam is possibly one of the best tasting jams I have ever tried. Rosella fruit comes from the rosella plant, or Hibiscus sabdariffa. I stumbled across this beautiful fruit this past weekend while walking around the local markets. Immediately I was drawn to the beautiful flower shape and knew instantly I had to take some of these babies home with me.
Upon filling my bag, the owner of the stall informed me that you had to be careful of the bugs. Initially, this was a little concerning. Images popped into my mind of hundreds of bugs emerging from these lovely fruits. Based on the way the girl described it, it was starting to sound like something of a horror movie. As my bag was full though, I pushed through and had big plans to get these in the sink and clean them ASAP. (That may be a bit of my obsessiveness coming through.)
The girl explained that the green seedpods inside the fruit needed to be separated from the beautiful red calyx. She then advised to boil the seedpods in enough water to cover until they became soft, then to use the liquid to pour over the separate calyx and boil further until this fruit was soft. Once this was done, she said to add an even amount of sugar to the mix and simmer for a while until the mix had a jammie texture.
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Sounds easy right? Well, it was, and the result was a delicious, smooth, silky, sweet jam with a bit of a tartness that made my tastebuds feel as though they had gone to heaven. Trust me: This is worth a try if you ever come across these wonderful, unique fruits!
Another good note about the rosella fruit is that they are good for you. So it's worth getting some of their nutrients into your diet! The recipe below will make around two tall jars, but adjust the recipe to your needs. This could also make a great festive gift idea!
- 500 grams rosella fruit, seedpod separated from the calyx and bracts
- Approximately 2 cups sugar
- Approximately 2 to 3 cups water
Instructions for Making the Jam
- First, fill your sink with water and soak these rosella fruits for some time. There will be bugs so it's just a case of flushing the water through them a few times just to get rid of them all. It appears these bugs can swim though so don't be afraid to be a little rough with the fruits to make sure they are bug-free.
- Next, the long tedious process of separating the beautiful red calyx from the seedpod. To do this I basically pulled each stem of the fruit off one at a time then removed the bracts from the green seedpod. The girl who explained the process stated you can simply pull the green seedpod from the centre whilst leaving the fruit intact. I tried this and failed miserably, but if you can do this, by all means, do it (the whole flower is called "Hibiscus flower," and these are found in syrup that you can add to your cocktails—I've seen them in the bottle-shops, definitely a fancy twist, and if you can do it yourself even better!). Once they are separated rinse them again really well as sometimes they have some excess residue and you want to make sure there are no hidden bugs!
- Put all the green seedpods in a saucepan and put enough water to cover the pods. What happens next is quite amazing the pods will release what is called pectin! This is completely natural and will mean you do not have to use a setting agent. Softly boil the seedpods for about 5 to 10 mins until they go soft and the water gains a slightly sticky texture. Strain the liquid and discard the pods.
- In another saucepan, put the rosella fruits and cover with the pod liquid and a little bit more water if necessary to keep the fruits covered. Simmer for around 5 to 10 mins until the fruit is soft and an almost syrup-like texture forms, add to this mix even amounts of sugar (for 500 grams of roselles, I used apron 2 cups sugar, but please adjust according to your quantity).
- Let the roselles and sugar simmering for about 10 to 15 mins, you will see the consistency become very jam-like and thicken. Remove from the heat and put in your prepared jam jars or glasses and let cool before putting in the fridge. Enjoy you have made your very own preserve!
- Also you can use this same recipe to make roselle cordial. Just add more water. This recipe is very simple, and you can't go wrong if you just follow your intuition. Trust me, you won't regret trying this!