This is a photo of the Rosella harvest. I grew two shrubs in the vegetable garden this year and this is what they produced. Rosella’s are a member of the hibiscus family and their fruit is used in tea, jams, cordials, and even food colourings due to their rich red colour. You can also eat their leaves & flowers in salads (something I haven’t yet tried) and use their fibrous stems as a replacement for jute. All, in all, an extremely useful and ornamental plant.
Yesterday I made jam for the very first time. Using a recipe from my great-grandmother and advice from my mother I cut & boiled, measured & stirred, and here’s the delicious result… two and a quarter jars of delicious tart fruity goodness (I think I’ll plant more shrubs next year to ensure a bigger harvest – you can never have too much Rosella Jam).
As for the recipe, it’s really easy. I also sterilised the jars by putting them through a wash in the dishwasher rather than following traditional sterilising practices. Being my first batch of jam and knowing that it will be eaten very quickly I wasn’t too worried about boiling the jars or chemically sterilising them. First time ’round I just wanted to concentrate on getting the jam right. I also didn’t bother brand name jam jars like Mason jars. Instead, I’ve saved the jars from jams and other condiments I’ve bought in the past and reused them. Here’s the recipe if you have a few Rosellas growing in your backyard.
- a few drops of lemon juice
Cut off stalks; separate the seed pods and husks. Put stalks and seedpods into a saucepan; cover them with water. Boil for one hour or till liquid is thick and syrupy; strain through cheese cloth (or sieve) into a saucepan. Add the rosella husks; boil for 20 minutes or till pulpy. Measure; add one cup of sugar for each cup of pulp; add lemon juice. Boil rapidly for 20 minutes, stirring continually; a little should set in a cold saucer. Bottle and seal.