Rosella Jam | Small Batch

Rosella jam is a treat well-known to Australians. Sadly, it’s not something that’s easy to come by though. Generally, if you’d like rosella you grow your own, and that’s exactly what I did this year!

Rosella bushPin

The plant is quite hardy and will produce an abundance of fruit as well as beautiful flowers. The trick is to ensure you keep harvesting them as they ripen to encourage more growth.

This season I largely dehydrated the leaves to keep aside for rosella tea. I also infused some in honey, which has been delicious! As the season came to a close though I had two small handfuls left on the rosella bush. So, rosella jam it was! Albeit a tiny batch.

Do make sure you keep some seedpods aside so you have seeds to grow next year too.

Rosella fruit on bushPin

A bit about rosella

Rosella, also known as wild hibiscus, is ruby red with a deliciously tart flavour. It is known as an Australian bush tucker food but it’s not actually a native, and was imported from Africa. I’ve read also that others believe it was imported from Indonesia however, most sources agree on Africa. I believe it was in fact the Egyptians who first made it into a tea too.

It’s traditionally considered a wild grown food but it’s also popping up in many backyards. I was introduced to it by a friend and found it in my community garden, which is where I fell in love with it.

Additionally, rosella is rich in vitamin C and antioxidants so is a wonderful food to include in your diet.

Rosella fruitPin

How to make rosella jam

The great thing about making rosella jam is that the same recipe works with any quantity of fruit.

All you need do is remove the calyxes (red leaves) from the seedpods for the volume of fruit you have. It was 14 for me today, which was loosely – one cup.

You then wash the calyxes and the seedpods separately because you’ll be using both parts.

Pin

The seedpods are useful as they contain the pectin that helps the jam set. I like to slightly pierce the seedpod too.

You then add the volume of pierced seedpods you have to a saucepan and just cover them with water. Boil for 20-30 minutes or until soft.

Rosella seedPin

Once that’s done, strain off and keep the liquid and put the seedpods in the compost.

Return the liquid to the same saucepan and add in the washed calyxes. Bring those to a boil and cook for another 20 minutes or until the liquid has thickened.

Remove the saucepan from the heat and measure the volume of cooked pulp. Return it to the saucepan and now add in the same volume of sugar along with the squeeze of lemon juice. Bring to the boil and cook for 10-20 minutes or until the jam has thickened then transfer to a jar and keep in the fridge.

See how easy it is? And why you don’t need to rely on a set recipe but rather – the volume you have on hand? That’s what I love most about this jam.

If you’re looking for a different style of jam, take a look at my lacto-fermented fig, honey and cinnamon butter too.

Have you tried rosella before? As a jam, tea, cordial or any other way? Let me know how you’ve had it in the comments.

Small jar of rosella jamPin

Rosella jam – small batch

A small batch jam to use up the end of season fruit from your Rosella bush
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Course: Spreads
Cuisine: Australian
Keyword: Preserved Food, Preserves
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 4 people

Equipment

  • Small saucepan

Ingredients

  • Ripe rosella fruit
  • Raw sugar
  • Filtered water
  • Lemon juice, just a squeeze

Instructions

  • Remove the calyxes (red leaves) from the seed pods then wash and drain them separately
  • Slightly break open the seed pods and add them to a small saucepan. Pour in filtered water until the pods are just covered. Do make sure they're submerged
  • Bring to the boil and cook, covered for 20 minutes or until the pods are soft
  • Strain and keep the liquid and put the seedpods in the compost
  • Pour the reserved liquid back into your small saucepan and add in the washed calyxes. If the calyxes are not submerged in water add a tiny touch more filtered water
  • Boil down for another 20 minutes allowing the mixture to thicken
  • Remove from the heat and measure the volume of cooked pulp. Return this to the saucepan and add the same volume of sugar along with the squeeze of lemon juice
  • Bring to the boil and cook for 10-20 minutes or until the jam has thickened
  • Transfer to a clean jar and store in the fridge

Notes

If you find you have cooked the jam down too much and it goes very firm in the jar…. it’s then perfect for slicing to have with cheese! Much like this quince paste.

Nutrition

Serving: 20g

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Recipe Rating




26 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Hello Gabby
    I have been making Rosella Jam every 2nd year for the past 20 or so years here in northern NSW. I plant 4 plants every other year and sometimes get at least 2 crops off them before pulling them out. Your recipe is exactly like mine.

  2. 5 stars
    Great recipe, thank you… great that it accommodates just a couple of handful of rosellas or as in my case 4 cupsful of seed pods… I will do better next time… but still happy with the outcome.

    Keen to look more closely at your other recipes…fermented carrots with garlic and chilli sounds great. Will try that when baby carrots available in store. 🙂

    1. Hi Ursula this is my first time cooking rosellas now my question to you is how do you keep the pods submerged as mine keep floating. Thank you gail

  3. 5 stars
    Really enjoyed making this. What a pleasure of a plant to grow from seed in Abu Dhabi, needs no assistance just sun and water, beautiful flowers and calyces, and then your batch of jam made perfect sense

  4. Hi, I have struggled with using Roselle. I have had batches where the calyxes are fiberous and unappealing, and also some random harder or pointier bits that are also unappealing and not fun to eat. Have you experienced this and if so, any tips? I am probably going to just do a jelly to avoid the risk until I can figure out why they are happening

    1. Hi Andrea, I can’t say I have experienced that actually. The only thing I can think of at this point is that perhaps the mix hadn’t been cooked long enough? I harvested from my own shrub so also had the added benefit of getting the fruit off when it was perfect.

  5. Hi. Thanks for the recipe. My mum always made rosella jelly she called it and it had no lumpy bits so I presume the calyxes had been removed sometime.
    Just wondering if anyone knows this recipe please?
    Beth

    1. Hi Beth – I apologise but I’m not sure what you mean about the calyxes being removed? These are the red ‘leaves’ that are pulled from the fruit and what actually make the jam.

  6. 5 stars
    Hi Gabby, I am 67, but looking forward to making my OWN rosella jam very soon. I have 4 plants, but so far only three large rosellas ready for picking which I have done. I’ve put them in the fridge until a few more grow to full size. How long do you think (approx) they will be ok in the fridge? Few days? Also, when do the flowers appear, before the pod matures? (I’ve been away for weeks and haven’t observed them much so far.) And last question … any tips on removing the calyxes? I have a long distant memory of my uncle sitting near the rosella bushes, with a sharp stick like a skewer, and somehow using that in the process. I guess I should just use a knife, but whatever he did was deemed to be a ‘better way’.

    1. Hi Wendy – making your own Rosella jam is so much fun! Though you can get stained hands but it doesn’t last long. 4 plants is fantastic! You should be able to get quite a good batch of jam from that. I only had one relatively small shrub hence the small batch here. I think the fruit you have already should be fine in the fridge for a few days. You’ll likely find once the shrubs starts to take off lots will appear at the same time. And as to how it grows, the flowers will appear first followed by the lovely crimson rosella fruit. I actually just pulled off the calyxes but I know many who do cut them with a knife to make it easier. I can’t say I know about the process with a sharp stick but that sounds very interesting. Happy jam making!

    2. Hi Wendy,
      I have 12 bushes planted and what I usually do is separate the seed pod from the caylaxes and freeze both in separate freezer bags. At the moment I’m using up the last pack from the 2021 season. Hope this is helpful.
      Glenda.

  7. 5 stars
    Hi Gabby, this recipe sounds fantastic but I do have a couple of questions. How do I know when the Rosella is ripe to pick? Also can I use a substitute for sugar? A healthier option, maybe honey?
    Thanks

    1. Hi Nici, once you see flowers appear on your rosella shrub, it’s usually going to be roughly 2 to 3 weeks before the fruit is ready to pick. It will be quite plump too – about 2-3cm (1 inch) across at the widest part. As to the honey, I haven’t tried doing this but you could definitely give it a go! Because it’s liquid I would suggest using half the amount of sugar in honey and probably cooking a little longer. So if you had one cup of seed pulp, try adding in only 1/2 a cup of honey. You want to make sure the mixture has thickened enough so that it will set into jam. I hope that works! I might give it a go myself sometime too.

  8. This is my favourite jam! I’m sitting here waiting for the seed pods to boil. Can’t wait! When to harvest? When they are fully grown – ie when they are nice and round and red. How to make jam without the bits? We cut up the calyxes with scissors so they are in smaller bits. Or you can sift the unsugared mixture (slowly) to get all the calyxes out to make jelly.
    I hope that helps!!

    1. Yes! This is great thanks so much for the tips Julie. I’m waiting for this year’s seeds to sprout so I can plant a few again. I think it might be my favourite jam too.

  9. I am about to try my first tiny batch of rosella jam due to buying a plant recently. Being in my mid seventies, it has taken a long time probably because I was aware of how much my parents put into growing and making ‘tons’ of jam every year for Wayside Chapel which they sent via train from northern nsw. Thanks for being there and helping with your site. Shall cook tomorrow. Cheers Joy

    1. That’s so lovely Joy! What a wonderful memory of your parents doing all that jam making. I love having my own rosella shrub and just making us a small batch or two each year. I hope you enjoy it too!