I fell in love with roselle flowers earlier this year making roselle scones for sale at Taipei’s Simple Market. I have always had the flower in dried form from Thailand from which it is then made into a chilled, syrupy, sour tea reminiscent to Ribena. However, little did I know that its preserved form works wonders when incorporated into various foods. My roselle scones were a big hit, the roselle imbuing a tinge of its beautiful, bright red colour to the flaky crumbs.
I was pleasantly surprised to find fresh roselle available in the markets in Hong Kong lately. Turns out that roselle is only in season at this time of the year, for a short 3 months, from October to December. Originally grown in India and subtropical climates in Southeast Asia, roselle is a perennial woody-based shrub which flowers blossom from around July to October. As the fruit matures and when the flower wilts, the stout calyx would enlarge to become thick, fleshy and bright red in colour, a version of roselle we’ve come to know the flower as. These matured calyces have antihypertensive properties and are known to improve digestion and to regulate menstrual cycles.
I bought three catties of fresh organic roselle from the farmer’s market at Star Ferry Central the other day and immediately got down to work. I’m going to make preserved roselle to be used in making scones and roselle jam for spreading.
First, to clean the petals we need to get rid of the seed.
1. Cut open the bottom part of the calyx.
2. Push out the seed from the bottom with a chopstick.
3. Clean the outer and inner surface of the roselle with a toothbrush.
500g Natural Cane Sugar
1. Cut roselle into small pieces
2. Cook the cut-up roselle in non-stick frying pan over low heat, stirring continuously to make sure that it does not burn. When roselle start to ooze out a jelly-like substance, add water until roselle turns into a paste. This will take a bit of work, so be patient.
3. Add sugar and cook till completely melted.
4. Transfer into jam jar. The jam will keep in a refrigerator for 2-3 weeks.
6-8 tbsp Natural Cane Sugar
1. Dry up the roselle with a kitchen towel.
2. Mix roselle with two tablespoons sugar in big mixing bowl so that petals are covered in sugar.
3. Layer bottom of clean jar with sugar, then alternate layers with roselle and sugar until the jar is filled. The top layer should be sprinkled with slightly more sugar.
4. Close tightly and let preserve for 3 days.
See you in three days with the results ☺