To prepare the fruit for jam making first soak it for a few minutes in a sink full of cold water and then drain.
Then separate the red calyx (the fleshy cover surrounding the seedpod) from the seedpod. An easy way to do this
is using an apple corer pushed hard against the base of the calyx; the calyx will then separate from the seedpod.
Put the red calyx into a bowl and the seedpods into a saucepan. Cover the seedpods with water and simmer for 10
minutes, until soft and translucent in appearance. Strain the seedpods through a sieve and dispose of the seedpods,
reserving the liquid. This process extracts pectin from the seedpods to help the jam set. Then pour the liquid back
into a large saucepan, add the red calyx and simmer gently until they are very soft. Then measure this fruit pulp
and add cup for cup of sugar to fruit (or for larger amounts, 1 litre of fruit pulp = 1 kilo of sugar). Stir over
a gentle heat until the sugar is completely dissolved and then bring to the boil. The jam will froth high in the
saucepan and so needs to be no more than half full before you start it boiling. Test for setting by putting a saucer
in the freezer to chill, then put a teaspoonful of jam on the saucer, wait for it to cool slightly and then push
the top of it with your finger. If it crinkles it is cooked. Another sign that it is setting to watch for is when
the jam stops frothing and settles down to a hard boil. As the jam reaches setting point it is also most likely
to stick and burn so pay close attention and stir often. Remember that the setting of a jam is a chemical reaction
between the fruit acid, the sugar and the pectin, not an evaporative process. Jams set as they cool, if over-cooked
the setting point may be passed and instead a thick syrup rather than a gel is formed. Bottle the jam into clean
hot jars and seal immediately.
Jo Ley sent in the following hint:
If your Rosella Jam sets too hard, don't throw it out, just scoop out teaspoonfuls, roll into a ball, then roll
in roasted coconut.
Use it as a lolly.
Harvest a large quantity of rosellas, to fill your biggest stainless steel saucepan about two-thirds full. Wash well.
Cover the fruit, seeds and all, with water and bring to the boil. Simmer gently until soft, and the red colour has
faded from the calyx. Strain through a sieve, throw away the fruit and measure the liquid. Add the liquid back to
the saucepan and add a cup of sugar to every cup of liquid (1 litre of juice = 1 kilo of sugar). Heat gently until
all the sugar is dissolved, stirring often. Once the sugar is dissolved bring to the boil for one minute. Take off
the heat; add the strained juice of lemons (depending on availability and to taste, I would add up to 10 lemons to
3 litres of cordial) then stir in 2 tablespoons of citric acid. Bring back very briefly to the boil. Bottle into
clean, dry bottles and seal while still hot. This keeps at least for a year.
The dried 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 high in vitamin C. To make it, strip off the red
calyx (the fleshy cover surrounding the seed pod) and dry it in a solar drier or a slow oven until crisp. Only two
small pieces are needed per cup. Try mixing it with dried lemongrass or lemon verbena and dried organic orange peel
for a wonderful herb tea that is also good chilled.