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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Rosella jam – small batch
- Small saucepan
- Ripe rosella fruit
- Raw sugar
- Filtered water
- Lemon juice, just a squeeze
- 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