Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Roselle (Jamaica Sorrel)

Roselle is an Old World Native tropical plant and has many nicknames. You may know it by Florida Cranberry or Hibiscus Tea. Its botanical name is Hibiscus Sabdariffa. This is the first year for me to grow this exciting new crop. It has now just begun to bloom this September and I am loving the color. It is suppose to be ready to harvest by October or at some time before first frost.

There are so many uses for this food crop. The main one that caught my attention first was its comparison to cranberries. All women know that cranberries are essential to a healthy urinary tract. It aids in water retention and is very high in vitamin C. At one time long ago I was able to buy the juice in the store when it wasn't only a cocktail mixture. Now to get the real 100 percent juice it costs quite a bit of money and is totally loaded down with water. So I decided to give Roselle a try and take a chance on how well it might grow here in Southeast Texas. I have plans on making jelly and jam and found a yummy looking recipe for making Roselle Lemonade. I'm hoping on being able to put plenty of pure concentrated juice up in my freezer.

I've been doing a lot of study and research on the species. The trick for me will be in the harvesting. Unlike cranberries that you harvest for berries, for Roselle you harvest the calyxes. These are the actual brackets so to speak that embrace the flower and seed pod to hold it together. In the picture you can see them in the dark burgundy color at the base of the stem and flower. You can dry them, cook them fresh, boil in water or eat them raw. They are also bitter like cranberries so sugar will be a must.

I will be blogging some recipes soon after harvest and give you an update of my progress. I'm hoping for success, but if anything else, I'm surely enjoying their beauty.

The Gardener's Morning

The robin's song at daybreak
Is a clarion call to me, Get up and get out in the garden,
For the morning hours flee.

I cannot resist the summons.
What earnest gardener could?
For the golden hours of morning
Get into the gardener's blood.

The magic spell is upon me,
I'm glad that I did not wait;
For life's at its best in the morning,
As you pass through the garden gate.

-Howard Dolf-

Happy Gardening!


  1. I've had hibiscous tea and it was very good. The jelly sounds like a great idea. It's a lovely flower.

  2. I thought maybe if anyone had tried it, would be you since I believe it is a much more popular plant in Florida. I can't wait to try it ;)

  3. Nice. In Jamaica we put water and ginger to boil and pour it over the calyxes. Leave it overnight. Sweeten with brown sugar and add a dash of rum next day. Some use quite a bit of rum. Some use quite a bit of ginger. I add a cinnamon stick in the boiling water. Everyone's sorrel tastes different. We drink it cold at Christmas time. In modern times, we have jumped on the health band wagon and now package sorrel tea bags and sorrel chutney etc.

    1. Hi Janice!! Wow, so nice of you to visit the garden. I am thinking the Rum sounds spectacular!! Am so trying it this summer!! I love the added cinnamon stick!! ~ Pammy