As fall sets in, I finally got an opportunity to harvest the last of the Roselle calyxes in our Cranberry Hibiscus patch in the back corner of the garden.
So what is Roselle you ask?
It is known by many names including: Florida Cranberry, Cranberry Hibiscus, Hibiscus sabdariffa, Jamaican sorrel, Indian sorrel and many more 😉
Just about a year ago, we bought 4 tiny plants from our friends at Lion Eyes Farm and Hubby transplanted them right away. They did pretty well for a bit, then were heavily attacked by bugs and pests and then the hurricane pretty well finished them off, or so I thought.
Then just over a month ago, Hubby gave me the surprise that they had pulled through and were covered in calyxes. Calyxes are the “fruit” and can be dried for a tasty tea or used to make syrups or even, you guessed it, jam.
*** Do note and be cautious as Roselle, Hibiscus sabdariffa, does have some effects on lowering blood pressure.
Roselle and False Roselle, there is a difference!
Previously, we had planted False Roselle, which although similar is quite different.
False Roselle has similar looking pods but the leaves are Red instead of Green and the pods can not be used for tea/syrup/jam but rather the leaves make a tasty salad or so I’m told.
They are easy to confuse, trust me, I was confused at first 🙂
Food comes from the Grocery Store!
I tried to engage our son’s help at every step, from harvesting to the final product. Hubby and I grew up in the city which gives me an unusual fear/aversion to foods that are not bought at the store. I know it’s ridiculous, I’m working on it.
So being that I am acutely aware of this, I am making sure to teach our son differently.
The final product is a beautiful jam. Being the first time I tried this, I kept it fairly simple and used Sugar as I feared it would not set up right.
I considered going sugar free for a brief moment but the taste without sweetener is a little too tangy for my taste buds.
Next time I plan to try some alternative sweeteners and see how it goes.
- 12 ounces Roselle fruit (whole)
- 1⅓ cups Sugar
- 2 cups Water
- Fill a large bowl with water and soak the Roselle fruits. There will be bugs so this will flush the bugs out.
- Next separate the calyx from the seed pod. This give you an opportunity to check each pod and make sure no bugs get into your jam. (I measured and got just under 6 ounces of just fruit.)
- Put all the green seed pods into a sauce pan and cover with water (for me this took 2 cups of water). Simmer for about 10 minutes at low heat or until the water feels thickened when mixed with a spoon.
- Strain the liquid and discard the pods. Be sure the strainer you use it not too fine or the pectin "jelly" will get left behind in the strainer.
- Place the fruits in the sauce pan and cover with the pod water. Add extra if needed, or not, I didn't have to 😉
- Simmer for about 10 minutes.
- Optional, strain our chucky bits. Be sure not to leave behind too much pulp/pectin in the strainer, you will need that so it sets properly and also take advantage and measure your mixture by weight. This weight is how much sugar you should use 😉 Neat right!?!
- Add the sugar.
- Allow to simmer for about 10-15 minutes. You will see the consistency thicken but I did the cold freezer plate test which lets you decide when it's ready.
The final verdict?
Both our son and the Hubby loved it. Hubby says this is now his favorite, beating out my incredibly delicious Mulberry Jam, which I think is saying something 🙂
Let me know if you try it and how it goes!
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