Making rosella jam

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Our rosella plant in flower.
Our rosella plant in flower.

When I was at the Council nursery a while back, they asked me “you know about plants, right?”. When “um, sure” was the answer, a rosella plant was pressed into my hands. Ok, now what do I do?

I had, of course, heard of rosella, and rosella jam in particular. A bit of reading uncovered that rosella is a fast-growing summer plant, reaching 1-2m in height.

The bright red calyx is what's used for jam and other cooking.
The bright red calyx is what’s used for jam and other cooking.

True to expectations, it proved to be very vigorous, and I harvested the fruit this weekend. It’s actually the red calyx — which surrounds the green internal seedpod — that’s used in cooking.

A basket full of rosella calyx.
A basket full of rosella calyx.

I was able to get a modest harvest of about half a basket (perhaps 50 calyx). Following some excellent instructions on how to make rosella jam, I spent the evening simmering and sieving, while watching TV.

A small amount of rosella jam.
A small amount of rosella jam.

The results were a little over a jar of rosella jam, which was transformed from the bright red calyx into a deep red colour.

And the taste? Think strawberry-meets-rose, distinctly different from any other jam I’ve tasted. Delicious!

 

 

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