Rosellas remind me of all the completely delicious older women in my family.
I have many food memories dappled with Rosella Jam. My Maternal family come from Northern NSW where Devonshire Teas with generous dollops of market bought or Nanna made Rosella Jam were a common seasonal occurrence. Rosella season is very short, so the rush to get our hands on some has always been, almost desperate. We’ve also cooked the hibiscus calyx in syrup for a now expected High Tea delight, floating in our glasses of bubbly, or added to soda and gin with a little fresh lime for a beautiful sundowner.
My assumption has always been that rosellas were a uniquely Aussie thing, only grown in Northern NSW and Southern QLD, but I’ve realised that they are in fact, very common across the globe. Most cultures steep them to make a very pretty infusion with a little lemon, sugar and lots of ice. They’re also dried for tea and often listed with the ingredients as Hibiscus.
If you’ve never really experienced Rosellas, a good starting point though is always the jam. It’s sweet, but perfectly tart with a flavour somewhere between strawberry, lemon and rhubarb. Spread it on your toast, dollop it on your muesli with greek yoghurt, put it in the base of a steamed pudding, or on the bottom an upside down cake. It’s lovely dolloped on a sweet tart or folded through some lemon curd. I’ve even dropped in on the bottom of my glass of kombucha for a little fun.
Anyhow, here’s a very easy recipe to adapt to any quantity of Rosellas that you might stumble upon.
1. Seperate the calyx from the seed pod, you can use a knife or your hands; whatever is easiest for you.
2. Wash your seed pods then pop them in a pot and just cover them with water.
3. Put them on the stove, bring to the boil and cook them until they are transparent.
4. Strain the pods, keep the liquid and discard the pods. The liquid is full of pectin which will thicken your jam beautifully.
5. Wash your calyx, add to the pod liquid and weigh them together. This will determine the amount of sugar that you need.
6. Pop the sugar, calyx and pod liquid in a heavy based pot and bring to the boil.
7. Reduce the heat so that your rosellas are on a continuous steady boil and cook for a good hour, skimming the scum that rises and stirring to prevent the jam sticking. There’s no need for a continuous stir, but some attention every 5 minutes or so would be good.
8. When the scum stops rising and the boil slows, it’s time to pop a little jam on a saucer and put it in the fridge to cool for a setting point test. When your saucer of jam has cooled and you’re happy with it’s consistency, take the jam off heat, pour into sterilised jars and pop the lid on while he jam is still hot. This will create a vacuum and keep the jam for 2 years or more on your pantry shelf.
9. If you’re not happy with it’s cooled consistency, cook for 10 minutes and keep repeating the setting point test until you are.
If all else fails, we currently have jars in stock on our pantry shelves at The Jam Pantry