Give me a jar from the rosella tree, my native sweetie…
As I delved into the native plants of Australia there often seemed to be this undertone of a hostile environment with no edible species for humans to survive on. I would often read these articles in mirth recalling the numerous ‘bush tucker’ species that I had been fortunately introduced to as a young boy. I remember homemade rosella jams and cordials being a special treat that got brought out on Christmas and Easter for the family meals. The adults would find it delectable, even the men would be seen at breakfast squabbling over the rosella jam rations and the amounts of fresh bread available (which was a big thing as most of the men in my family didn’t eat breakfast). It wasn’t something I really appreciated as a young boy, when it was crammed between the delicious strawberry, raspberry and blueberry jams you kind of felt spoilt for choice in the sweet world of preserves. Rosella has a more subtle tart flavoring, similar to a ripe plum though not as sweet or sour, it is an interesting taste. While I am still not the biggest fan of the jam (which in its defense, I am not the biggest fan of spread on bread. I prefer a sandwich or a roll), I have come to appreciate a homemade rosella cordial and vinaigrette. It is mouth watering with a nice kangaroo stake or as a refreshing drink after a sweaty session in the veggie plots.
The ingredients and recipe below will make ~1 litre of Rosella Cordial
- 600g-1kg of Fresh Rosellas (you want it to fill 2/3 of your soup saucepan)
- 600g of Sugar (I use raw sugar from organic sugar cane but that’s more a preference than a need)
- 3 Lemons
- 2 teaspoons of citric acid
- Wash the rosellas well, juice and strain the lemons.
- Place the rosellas (seed pod and calyx) into the large saucepan until it is 2/3rds full and fill with water until the fruit are covered.
- Bring to the boil and then allow to simmer until the calyx’s bright red coloring has faded.
- Strain the resulting liquid through a sieve, throw the used fruit into the compost and measure the amount of liquid.
- Pour the liquid back into the saucepan, add the sugar and allow to simmer, stirring the sugar in until it is dissolved, once dissolved bring to the boil for 1 minute.
- Take the syrup off the heat, stir in the juice of the lemon and the citric acid.
- Bring back to the boil for 30s while stirring and pour into sterilized, dry bottles.