Wild rosella (Hibiscus sabdariffa), is an introduced species that typically grows in the most north parts of Australia from Cairns in the east through to Broome in the west.
The petals can be used for making jellies and dessert garnishes. They have a tart flavour with a raspberry/rhubarb/plum quality.
Most commonly known for its use in champagne. It works well in either sweet or savoury dishes and goes well with ginger, chilli, and sugar, and fruits such as apples, peaches pears, nectarines and banana.
Fabulous accompaniment for lamb, pork and game. Use it in sauces, jams, ice cream and pastries.
Dissolve 5 cups of sugar in water over heat in a saucepan. Add 4 cups of prepared flowers. Bring to boil. Simmer on low until water reduced by a third. Remove from heat. Strain. Bottle syrup while hot.
Serve cooked calyces with icecream or custard
Syrup has a shelf life of one year. Once opened keep in fridge for up to 3 months.
To prepare flowers – harvest flowers when entire calyx is red. Remove petals, seeds and stems. Chop to make syrup. Leave whole to serve with champagne cocktail
If using fresh fruit – First remove the seed pod for cooking, cut off the very bottom of the calyx and using a finger, push the visible pod up through the top, where the sepals are close together or just peel the calyx off the pod and stem. Put the seed pods aside.
Weigh the fruit – you will need an equivalent weight of sugar to make the jam.
Place into a large heavy based saucepan – the jam will froth high in the saucepan and it needs to be no more than half full before you start it boiling. (add a small amount of water – no more than ¼ cup for every kg of fruit)
Simmer gently until the calyces are very soft. Keep an eye on the mixture as you may need to add a little more water to stop the mixture from sticking. The mixture should be quite thick and gloopy.
Add the weighed sugar and stir over a gentle heat until the sugar is completely dissolved.
bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes.
Skim the froth for a more presentable jam. Bottle the jam into clean hot jars and seal immediately.