I thought I would post more on the Roselle shrub. This member of the Hibiscus family is a powerhouse of Vitamin C and antioxidants.
(Hibiscus sabdariffa) called Sorrel in the Caribbean and in Latin America and Flor de Jamaica in Mexico, is a tropical native of West Africa.
The flowers, leaves and swollen calyx are all edible. The flowers only last 1 day and then the calyx begins to swell. Starting out only about 1/4" by 1/2" long, the mature calyx before the seed pod matures can be between 1 1/2" and 2 inches long and a little less than that wide. See this link for health, culinary and livestock feeding information.
The leaves are great in salads and because they grow so strongly during our hot weather are one of the "greens" is use in place of lettuce including on sandwiches or shredded into soups and stews. In other parts of the world, the tangy leaves are pickled.
|Ready to dry or freeze.|
While the traditional use is as a beverage/tea/punch served hot or cold and sweetened, there are other fun ways to use this delicious cranberry/tangy food.
I like to use my homemade syrups to make fresh soda drinks. The usual ratio is 1/4 cup of syrup to 3/4 cup of ice cold seltzer, or sparkling water of your choice. Club soda is an option but has sodium added. I am not a lover of sodas (I like a root beer once in a while - preferably in a root beer float :-), I do enjoy drinking seltzers in the warm weather with or without flavoring.
I am going to make some Roselle Jam with some of this year's harvest and I am going to make another version of my "Jam Bread" (a fruit and nut quick bread cake - think Christmas Fruit Cake only better) with pumpkin seeds (green) and some of the candied Roselle (red) which I think it is going to be wonderful.
My Jam Bread was the experiment result of realizing I had way too many jars of my homemade jams and those gifted to me by other cooks and I NEEDED to find a way to use up the jam. When I got to thinking about fruit and nut cakes (quick breads) I really considered what went into them and saw that it was a liquid (water, milk etc.) and fruit and saw my jams with maybe some additional fruit plus nuts would work just fine and it did. When I make the next jam fruit cake I will post pictures and the recipe I came up with.
A happy plant can be 6+ feet wide and almost that tall with many branches and a 2+ inch diameter trunk. [Pictured the plant in early September putting out first buds and starting to grow longer and more branches.]
If you own poultry or other livestock, the seed is a healthy addition to their diets. "The leaves are used for animal fodder and fibre (Plotto, 2004). The seeds can be used to feed poultry as well as sheep and the residue from the seeds oil extraction can also be used to feed cattle and chicks" -- http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S030881461400692X
I've probably forgotten to add some other bits of information so I would encourage you to do some of your own research and begin growing this great edible next spring.
Have a great day in the garden and kitchen!
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-- Catherine, The Herb Lady
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