Sunday, October 30, 2016

Thai Red Roselle Results

I first Posted about Thai Red Roselle on April 15th, 2016. It was one of the new things we were trying. It grew very well in this climate and thrived along the edge of the herb garden. It made a flowering hedge between the garden and the highway. The flowers are really lovely.

We watched the plants grow and in mid  August they started to bloom. Up to that point they were just pretty bushes with dark red stems and red veined leaves. They did not bloom heavily until September but I did harvest and dry calyxes for Red Zinger Tea during late August.

The nice weather we have had in September and October allowed a great number of calyx's to develop.

An average limb of our Thai Red Roselle.

Here is the row of Thai Red, I picked this side on Saturday Morning. You can see how bright the Calyx's are and the red of the stalks. It really is pretty.

Here is the first bucket I picked, I knew I was going to need more buckets at this point and took this one in to show Ralph and yes....get more buckets!

I was pleased with these results.

Now to make the jam. I had to tear the leaves away from the calyx and sort the seed pod from the leaves. Some recipes call to save the seed pods to get natural pectin and I have saved the seed pods to try  this with the next batch but I just wanted to make a simple jam with these calyx's as I have not done this before. I did nibble on one of the "Calyx Leaves", it was tart, tangy and a bit astringent. Not unpleasant or bitter  but sharp if that makes sense.

Here is what I did.
1- Peel the calyx leaves from the seed pod.
2- Simmer on low the calyx leaves until they are  reduced and cooked soft.
3- Run through a food processor to get a smooth puree. 

I got 6 cups of a very thick, deep red puree that smelled very good and looked quite interesting! [I am wondering if the drought we are having made these calyx's less 'plump' and that would affect the thickness of the puree.]

To this  puree I added 2 cups of water and 3 cups of sugar. I reduced the sugar  from 3/4 cup per 1 cup of puree to 1/2 cup of sugar for 1 cup of puree.
I added 1 pouch of liquid pectin and treated it as I would any other jam. I brought it to a boil, stirring constantly until it sheeted off the spoon. The reduction of sugar doesn't bother us as we like tangy jams.

It became more translucent as it cooked but remained thick. I poured it into hot sterilized jars and water bath canned it for 10 minutes.

6 Pint jars and 1 Half Pint jar  were soon sitting on the counter, I had cleaned the pot with the spatula and there was enough to try this lovely red jam on fresh bread. Ralph likes it although he makes a great show of my cooking being dangerous! It really is unique and marvelous. I think it would be very good with cream cheese and crackers or on Ice cream. It is a unique flavor, a hint of rhubarb, a whiff of straw berry, maybe a dash of lemon....

Thai Red Roselle Jam

All in all this experimental crop was a hit. We discussed where we can grow more of it next year. The plant was very low maintenance and we did not see any signs of disease or bug issues. 
I do know Jam is not the healthiest way to eat things but now we know we like it I think using young calyx in salads and drying more of them for tea will help get the good nutritional values of this plant into our pantry.

Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
205 kJ (49 kcal)

11.31 g

0.64 g

0.96 g

Vitamin A equiv.
14 μg
Thiamine (B1)
0.011 mg
Riboflavin (B2)
0.028 mg
Niacin (B3)
0.31 mg
Vitamin C
12 mg

215 mg
1.48 mg
51 mg
37 mg
208 mg
6 mg

So 2017 [gosh it is weird typing that] will see more Thai Red Roselle here on this farm. I hope this  information helps you look at this plant as an addition to your gardening adventures. I think it would work in a pot on a balcony if you  live in a city, or maybe on a patio if you are limited for space, I  know it would add both beauty and interest in landscaping. Now I am going to go and have some toast with Roselle jam.....God Bless you all and be safe.


  1. sounds delicious. i love rhubarb and strawberries.
    seems it was easy to grow and lovely to look at.

    1. Do you have a flower was super low maintenance and the tea is supposed to be very good for you.

    2. have rock hard dirt. have three small raised beds.
      will it grow in northern ohio? or in hard dirt?
      looks very ornamental.
      one bush should be enough for us,
      i would say, after looking at your harvest.

    3. It grew in our rock hard clay here.....the site for the herb garden is very poor soil. Email me and I will send you seeds. I think if you started them on a sunny window sill you could grow it for tea.

  2. I have never heard of this plant, but I'm very interested. I wonder if it would do well in our hot dry climate?

    1. We are amazed at this plant. So far it seems to do well regardless of moisture. It handled insane heat and humidity in July and August but now we have not had rain of note in over a month and it is still hot and it is still blooming and developing calyx. I do think the drought has made the pods a bit more fibrous but they still cooked down to a useful amount of puree.

  3. This is amazing. I've never heard of this plant. It's beautiful and made such pretty jam.

  4. Tasty and Pretty, really what more could you ask for:)

  5. I grew this in 2010 successfully and every year after that we had our first freeze too early. They seem to be day-length sensitive as far as when they bloom. This year would've been a good year to grow them as we haven't yet had our first frost, but I've given up trying. Yes, they make wonderful tea, but it's very tart without some honey in it so I just don't think there's anyway to enjoy it without adding something to sweeten it. It might make some pretty good Switchel. If I ever grow it again I think I might try dehydrating the bracts. I bet it's as good as cranberry juice for curing UTI's and such.

  6. apropos of nothing on your web log, i asked pioneer preppy a question but he removed it. probably thought it was too stupid, so i will ask you.
    if the wall is sitting directly on the slab won't it rot?

    1. Treated lumber and good drainage with roof overhang should stop rot...

    2. thanks, i've never built anything nor watched anyone building, besides watching men lay brick.
      used to watch 'this old house but couldn't see how they were securing the house to the base.

  7. I don't think those grow here, as I've never seen them. People make apple jelly here and sell it by the road, but really we don't have many exotic homegrown sweets available in North Georgia.

    1. I think it might like your woods. I know here it was really low maintenance.

  8. I am adding it to next year's list. Will you be making Red Zinger tea from it? I'm interested to hear how you like it. Red Zinger is one of my favorites and I would love a homemade version. You two are such adventurers!

    1. I have the dried calyx 'leaves' but have not steeped them for tea yet. I have to admit Ralph is the hot drink person. I tend to like 'cold' hot chocolate....well not cold but tepid🤓

  9. Wow! I missed your first post (or forgot it) but I'm so glad I got here for this one. I wonder if it would do well for me too. I'll have to look into that (although nothing did well last summer. :)

    1. I think it would do well for you. It was remarkable here as it tolerated the extreme heat and humidity of summer and went into our dreadful dry fall just fine. I picked another 4 pails of calyx' son Saturday and saved seeds from some of the dry pods. More tart tangy......not jelly......not syrup. This last batch seemed to sheet like it should but is not a set as I had hoped for. I had it on homemade pancakes this morning and it's great for that😀