Ever heard of Rosella Jam?
Possibly not, unless you are Australian? So what is it, you say?
Only the best preserve known to man! Known more to our grandparent’s generation as Rosella, the Queensland Jam Plant is a native of Africa and Asia, yet has become such an iconic part of Aussie folklore, Rosella Jam is considered quintessentially Australian.
If you want to make some yourself and have loads to share with family and friends, this is my Grandmother’s family recipe, along with some general tips for successful preserve making. Once you’ve tasted freshly made jam, you’ll be forever spoiled for eating the supermarket brand jam varieties again.
Tart, tasty and packed full of vitamin C, hands down, this is the best jam! Making the jam is not the arduous operation you think it might be; in fact, picking/sourcing the Rosellas is the most time consuming part of the process.
Growing ‘Rosellas’ in the Garden
The Rosella is a medium shrub that is related to the Hibiscus family and needs a growing season of at least 6 months of warm weather to mature, so is best suited to tropical or sub-tropical areas. The fleshy red calyx can be used in salads, jellies, cranberry-like sauces, jam and cordial, syrups and wine. Furthermore, you could plant the hardy Rosella as a hedge, a fast growing windbreak or privacy screen in the summer garden.
According to Green Harvest: Dried the red calyx is used for tea and it is an important ingredient in the commercial Red Zinger, Hibiscus and Fruit teas. The tea is very similar in flavour to rose-hips and also high in vitamin C. Seeds can be roasted and ground into flour. Young leaves can even be steamed or stir-fried and are known as Red Sorrel in the Pacific.
Tips for Jam/Preserve Making
For Rosella or any other jam, the addition of a good knob of butter when adding the sugar will prevent most scum from rising to the top.
Any that does rise, can be stirred in on completion of cooking.
Other points to watch are:
- Warm sugar for jam making.
Use a wooden spoon for stirring and never over boil, as this darkens the colour.
If you must add extra water, add it to the seeds when boiling. If you add water when cooking the leaves, you will need to purchase ‘Jamsetta’ (available from supermarkets), in order to make the jam set, as the seeds are the parts from which the pectin is sourced. It is the pectin that makes the jam set.
* To Prepare Jars for any Jam Preserves:
- * Wash jars well with a bottle brush, detergent and warm water.
- * Dry and warm the jars by placing on a tray in a low oven, heated to around 120 degrees Celsius, for 10 minutes.
- * Pour boiling water over the lids and drain.
- * Fill the jars with jam whilst they are still warm.
To Prepare Rosella Jam:
- * Separate red flower petals and seeds
- * Wash and drain.
- * Cover seeds with cold water. Tip: (Add a little extra water to the seeds, at this stage, if necessary, rather than adding extra later)
- *Bring to boil and boil covered, for 30 minutes.
- * Strain and reserve this juice.
- * To this juice, add the Rosella petals which have been thoroughly washed and drained. The leaves may not be completely covered with juice, but they will boil down very quickly.
- *Boil for 20 minutes.
- * Measure cooked pulp and return to pan.
- Add one only good teaspoon of butter, and the juice of one lemon.
- Add 1 cup of sugar, (which has been warmed on a heat proof tray, in a oven on low heat), to each cup of pulp, stirring well till all the sugar is completely dissolved.
- Boil quickly uncovered for 20 minutes or until jam falls thickly from a spoon when tested.
Tip – How to tell if the jam is set:
Monitor the jam stirring occasionally to ensure it does not burn on the bottom. … to see if the jam has reached setting point pour a teaspoon of jam onto a cold saucer, which has been sitting in the freezer. Leave the jam on the saucer for 1 minute then lightly push from one side with your finger – if the jam crinkles and is gluggy then it is set so turn the heat off. If the jam stays like a syrup then continue simmering and check again every 10 minutes until setting point is reached.[http://www.selfsufficientme.com]
- Fill jars with jam while the jars and jam are still warm. Allow to cool a little and then seal.
Trust me, you will have the family begging for more…
Delicious on toast, scones or pancakes, or even as chutneys, Rosella jam is worth ‘Pondering About ‘