Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Roselle Harvest Texas Style

The fruit of the Roselle has been such a fascinating plant to grow here in Southeast Texas. It was extremely easy to start from seed in pots in early spring. Then transplanted to the garden when about 5 leaves or so had formed.

It withstood our droughts, humidity, rain and heat. There is so much rich history from around the world about Roselle's health benefits.

It was a little tricky for research because it goes by so many different names in different parts of the world. It's referred to as rosella (another common name for the hibiscus flower), jamaica in Latin America, karkady in the Middle East, bissap in West Africa, red sorrel in the Caribbean, and other names in other regions.

One of my biggest concerns was how to harvest the Roselle. I decided to go Texas Style and make tea out of it, just like I would any other iced tea drink.

I've found it is very easy to harvest. Pick it, peel it, eat fresh or cook it. Interesting enough was that is basically how it is done all over the world.

Rosella tea or red tea has been known in many names, Rosella tea, Hibiscus tea, Mecca's tea, and Yemen's tea. By the way the big round thing in the middle below is the seed pod. The red part (the calyx) is what we are going for.

In most countries they dry the calyx of the Roselle for preserving. This is something that I wish to do at a later time when I can replace my dehydrator.

Most countries also harvest by cutting the whole branch which is loaded with fruit.

 I read though that in China they take their time in harvesting by only cutting the ripe fruit and allowing the plant to produce more. I liked that!!

I'm in no hurry here in Texas, although I do have plenty to do. I decided to go with freezing the concentrated juice to start and then I will move on to making jams and such.

After peeling the calyx off (which really doesn't take long) I placed it in a pot and covered it with water.

I started out on medium high heat just until it started to boil and then kept it on a gentle boil on medium heat. The object is to cook the calyx down to a pulp. The pulp I will preserve with a little of the juice in the freezer for making jam later. I cooked it for about 15 to 20 minutes.

I then poured it through a cheese cloth into another bowl. I took out 3 cups of the liquid concentrated juice and placed it into my 2 quart pitcher with a cup of sugar and filled the pitcher the rest of the way with water. You could use less sugar.

I wasn't sure at first and you could also use honey or organic raw sugar. It's fabulous and it taste like cranberries and all I did was squeeze some fresh lemon in my glass.

Their are all kinds of ways to make drinks. You can mix it with other fruit like oranges or limes. Add a pinch of vanilla to it. The possibilities are endless.

As for the rest of the juice in my pot, well I poured it into ice cube trays for the freezer. I will put the frozen cubes in a zip locked bag and just keep filling it up as the harvest goes on.

This is a picture of one of the many Roselle plants growing in my garden. I plan on saving seed from it this year and so by next spring I hope to have a real big bumper crop.

Below I've listed some of the many health benefits from Roselle. It is very high in vitimin C.
Here are the benefits of Rosella Tea:
* Immune Boosting
* Lower blood pressure
* Normalize the sugar blood
* Regulate uric acid
* Lower cholesterol
* Healing coughs
* Good for skin, reduces wrinkles.
* Reduce overweight
* Protect from infections
* Contains Omega 3
* Regulates metabolism.
Happy Gardening!


  1. Excellent, it looks exactly like the tea we used to drink back home in Guatemala. I love the plants, they are beautiful.

  2. I bet you could dry it & use it for hot tea like a Red Zinger. Looks so refreshing. Love the doily under the pitcher too.

  3. It has been a lot of fun and I can see the potential to make it a lot of different ways. My dehydrator bit it, so when I can replace it I want to dry some. The dolly was made by my grandmom, thanks ;) xxooxx

    1. Pammy could you air dry them?

    2. Yes you can air dry, but I had read that is has to be a quick process in doing so to avoid mildew. We are going to try and figure out a homemade method this year because I'm growing a huge crop of them. I would rather have them dried too. Would be much easier for putting up. I'll keep you posted on our progress.

  4. Canna Boost

    Nice blog very good information in this blog.I like this information thanks for sharing

    1. Thank You Canna Boost and I am so happy you have visited us!! Are you growing Roselle? I want a forest of it this year ;) Happy Gardening!!

  5. I'd would like to get a Roselle plant. Do you sell them? or Do you know where can I buy one of this plants?
    Please reply me a rinolaser@hotmail .com

    1. Hi Luis! I sent you a message via FB. I'll send one to your email as well xox

  6. Hmmmm....don't know why it is telling me invalid email Luis. You can send me an email at thymesquaregardens@yahoo.com