Rosella Jam making is a lesson in chemistry, botany and good time management but great fun and very rewarding. I think it is the most delicious jam on the planet. Rosella jam is made from the red fleshy calyx surrounding the green seedpods. These pods need to be boiled to extract the valuable pectin, essential for the thickening of the jam. Not all homegrown Rosella fruit ripen at the same time but they can be collected gradually and stored in the freezer until you have enough to make a worthwhile quantity of jam.
TIP: Separate the green seedpod from the fleshy red calyx before freezing, and freeze in two separate bags. You are then able to add them to the individual bags in the freezer after they are picked and separated. They are also much easier to handle when already separated when it is jam making time. Otherwise it is a mushy and messy procedure. A good farmer's market should provide adequate quantities of fresh rosellas at this time of year to supplement what you have. Our friend Paul, brought me a couple of large bags of rosellas from the Mackay markets to supplement the fruit from my two homegrown plants.You will need to have at least half a bucket full of rosellas to make enough jam, to ensure it is worthwhile.
Separating the seedpod from the calyx can be a time consuming and tricky procedure. Courtesy of a helpful neighbour of mine, we used a modified empty bullet shell to push the seedpod up through the calyx from the base of the fruit in a very simple operation. Primitive but effective.There are many homemade devices that have been used for this operation or you could just use an apple corer. Wear firm fitting gloves when
separating the calyx from the seedpod.
1 cup of sugar to each cup of pulp or 1 litre of fruit pulp = 1 kilo of sugar
Water Lemon Juice (preferably not Meyer lemons)
1 green apple
- Trim the ends of the fruit if necessary and push through and extract the seedpods from the calyx with a small cylindrical implement.
- Put seedpods into a large saucepan and cover with water.
|Boiled seedpods ready to be strained for the pectin|
- Boil seedpods for an hour until soft and liquid is syrupy.
- Strain seedpods through two layers of muslin cloth into a preserving pan. Cool pods in muslin slightly and wear tightly fitting plastic gloves to squeeze the pods in the muslin and drain out the last of the seed juice (pectin) into the preserving pan.
- Add rosella calyx (husks) to the syrup and cook for 20-30 minutes or until soft.
- Remove pot from stovetop.
- Measure quantities of softened rosella calyx and add one cup of sugar to each cup of pulp, or (1 litre of fruit pulp = 1 kilo of sugar.)
- Add 1 green apple peeled and finely chopped.
- Add juice of one lemon for every 500ml (pint) of juice or pulp.(Four lemons for 2 kilo of pulp)..
- Stir over gentle heat until sugar is completely dissolved and bring to the boil.
- Boil mixture rapidly for about twenty minutes stirring continuously so that it doesn't burn. The jam may froth high in the saucepan and so it needs to be no more than half full before you start boiling.
- Cooking for too long darkens the jam. At this point test that the jam is setting by putting a teaspoon full on a saucer which has been in the freezer. Place it back into the frig for a few minutes to check that it is set. Remove from frig, and if you tip the saucer upside down and it doesn't drip, it should be set. Or if you touch the surface of the jam and it crinkles that is also a good sign.
- Bottle in warm sterilised jars and seal. They can be sterilised in the dishwasher or by the usual method of boiling them and drying them in the oven at a low temperature.
- 2 kilos of fruit pulp makes about 12 average size bottles of jam.
|Voila! Rosella jam. Labels still to be printed.|