Thursday, May 28, 2009

Rosella Jam (again)

disolved sugar. Rosella Jam
(The first Batch)

I'm quickly typing this while some more Rosellas bubble away on the stove! This is my third and final Batch. Enough's enough!
I'm talking about Rosella jam and if you've never tasted it man you're missing something special! The plant Rosellas come from grows in the tropics so it's quite likely if you live in a temporate climate you've never heard of this jam.

Rosellas harvested from Ubud Botanic Garden
(Rosella calixes. Jam aficionado behind, Ubud Botanic Gardens)

While in Bali we visited the botanic gardens in Ubud. I noticed there were some familiar Hibiscus bushes scattered through the garden. They were Hibiscus Sabdariffa (Rosella bushes). Back at reception on our way out I stopped to talk to the lady at the counter who had a basket full of very large Rosella calixes. On the counter were bags of Rosella tea and when she opened the door to the fridge it was full of jam jars.

Rosella Jam

Rosella tea

Inevitably we got talking about rosella jam and I came away with a jar of some very delicious jam made right there at the Ubud botanic gardens. Great products!

Rosellas, full fruit including calix
(Complete fruits)

A couple of weeks after getting back to Darwin I headed out to a spot where I can usually find Rosellas at this time of year (Between the end of April and early June). There were heaps there but picking Rosellas takes a fair bit of time so I only took one shopping bag full. This was enough for me to cook up 6 jars of jam, twice the number I made last year!

Rosella Jam, 6 jars of the best
(First Batch of jam)

The jam turned out fantastically! I don't like to cook it too long and use as little sugar as possible. Fortunately I had enough pectin for it to set just right.

After this great success I went back out there and picked another bag full which I soon converted into another 5 jars worth. This time I used less sugar and cooked for only 10-15 minutes. The result was thinner and much more tart but great on toast!

This is the most I've ever made and I've been distributing the jam to friends all over the place. Finally I went back out one more time and collected another bag full which converted down to 1kg of calixes. They are bubbling away on the stove right now and I can smell them cooking. I thought I'd blog about them while they cook as a means of distracting myself so I don't interupt the process before time. I just want to give them a bit more time than the last batch.

I expect after having cooked this batch I would have created about 4 litres of jam! That's so cool.
If you've never tasted it you've gotta try it. I suppose the closest flavour that matches it might be rhubarb. It has the same tartyness and is red but doesn't quite match the special flavour.

Get some if you can. It's awesome!


lucyrogue said...

Hey David
Are there any Rosellas left where you got them from? Where was it?

I want to make jam, and I want to make jam NOW dammit!

Oh and last night I was watching Jesus Christ Superstar, and there's this strange bit of music where Judas goes crazy and kills himself. The music reminded me of something special and then all I could think of was 'Bowie's in Space' while poor Judas was dying.
LOL Judas shouldn't have died to such esoteric music. He was a fool on many levels.

David J said...

Wow... That sounds like some kind of freaky freaky dream...
If they both come to you with advice while you're sleeping at night I'd suggest going with David Bowie... I don't know that Judas made very popular decisions.

When it comes to Jam
Just follow your nose,
to a place called Holmes.
It's near the tip,
if your up for a trip but.
Be sure not to bungle,
Head for the jungle.
Then turn right you'll find them alright.
Gathered in clumps behind culverts and bumps,
Are the Hibiscus flowers,
but be warned it takes hours.
so pick at great speed, to get all you need.
There should still be time,
to make jam that's sublime!

It really is!

Oh you could also try drying some out to make tea. It's really refreshing and you don't need sugar... (sorry I ran out of rhymes)