Rosella Jam 04/10/2008

Rosellas are a type of fruit related to a hibiscus. They are hardy, don't need much water, and grow really well in Brisbane.They are bitter and horrible to eat raw, but when made into jam taste a bit like raspberry jam. This recipe works for any amount of rosellas- large or small. You need about half a bucket of rosellas to make a large jar of jam.

What to do:
Sterilise jars by washing them in the dishwasher, or boiling them in a big saucepan of water.

Soak rosellas for a few minutes in a sink of cold water.

Separate the red calyx (the fleshy cover surrounding the seedpod) from the seedpod. You can do this by pressing down on the rosella with a heavy knife blade, or just use your fingers to peel the calyx from the seedpod.

Put the red calyx into one bowl, and the seedpods into a saucepan.

Squash the seedpods a little with a potato masher- there's no need to pulverise them, but this releases the pectin which will make the jam set nicely.

Cover the seedpods with water (only just covering them, not too much water), and simmer for 10 minutes, until soft. Strain the pods, discard the pods and keep the liquid- remember, this is what makes the jam set.

Pour the liquid back into the saucepan. Add the red calyx and simmer gently until very soft.

Measure the fruit pulp, and add one cup of sugar to each cup of fruit pulp.

Stir over a gentle heat until all the sugar is dissolved, then bring jam to the boil. The jam will froth high in the saucepan and so needs to be no more than half full before you start it boiling. Test for setting by putting a saucer in the freezer to chill, then put a teaspoonful of jam on the saucer, wait for it to cool slightly and then push the top of it with your finger. If it crinkles it is cooked. Another sign that it is setting to watch for is when the jam stops frothing and settles down to a hard boil. As the jam reaches setting point it is also most likely to stick and burn so pay close attention and stir often.

Bottle the jam into clean hot jars and seal immediately.