So I have been a bad blogger again but here is one about Rosellas in my garden. No, not the bird rosella, the plant/ fruit. Last year I planted Rosella bushes in our garden, I figured they were worth a try. It must have been around this time of year as well. They didn't do much, like the rest of the garden really, so I left them be. I was surprise when the bushes didn't die off as they usually do every year.
They did eventually do something and that was grow and grow and grow some more. So again I left them be hoping for some fruit off them despite the fact that they pretty much took over our small garden bed. They ended up taller than the fence, pretty much one story tall in the end.
With the wet weather a couple of months ago the size of one made it too heavy for it's root system depth under the soggy ground and it started leaning and leaning and taking over the grass area. It also started to flower and get tiny little fruits on it. So we tied it to the fence, as you do, and hoped it would keep heading in this productive direction.
Well it did and when there was enough fruit ready it was time to harvest.
So one morning, nice and early to beat the green ants that decided the rosella bush is a good daytime hang out, I picked, cut and tore rosellas of the bush. I couldn't get them all and some were still small so I left them for later.
These became rosella jam, all 350ish grams of the flesh. Yum! And after his first ever taste Mr Sparky decreed we couldn't give that away. Good thing because it only really made two jars.
A couple of weeks later Mr Sparky gave rosella harvesting a go. Good thing too, he is taller than me and a lot less worried about the green ants biting too. Another 550ish grams of rosella flesh made into jam, another 3 jars.
Now rosella jam isn't that hard, everything you need minus the sugar and some water is found in the fruit. It is a little painful though because you have to separate the pretty red outside or calyx from the seed in the middle. I had only made it on The Station before and remembered it being tasty, but it was a while ago. It is handy to use an apple corer or small cutter to get the calyx part off, cutting it around the stem. I do recall using a bullet shell was even easier though and a much better size cutter being smaller.
I did look up a recipe, just to check, but rosella jam uses the same theory as most other jams, match the fruit weight and sugar weight. You also need a pectin from something to set jam, usually this is from lemon but rosellas have their own. It is in the seed pod part in the middle of the fruit, so even that gets used. The seeds are boiled separately to extract the pectin and then the liquid is strained off and added to the calyxs and sugar. Some lemon as well is optional but I added the juice of 1/2 to both of my batches. I also added extra water to help with boiling the jam as their wasn't much liquid in it or the fruit.
It turned out well, I think and is such a pretty colour. Some people strain out the pieces of calyx and make more of a jelly but I like the chunky bits.
It feels good to get back to some good old cooking.
Now I am waiting on the next lot of fruit to get big enough.
Here is a recipe I found for if you ever get a hold of some rosellas. There are many different versions, some with other ingredients and some like this one that don't use the seed pod.