My mom often bought candied roselle when I was little. I still remember that it used to be one of our favorite sweets during that time. These maroon fruit gradually became scarce here and the candied roselle we frequently bought also could not be found anywhere again.
You still can find roselle, but it is usually sold in dry form in the market. So, when I found fresh roselle during my out of town trip, I just cannot resist to bring it home. I decided to try making candied roselle for the first time and it turned out to be extremely easy. The candied roselle still retained its crunchy texture and the the taste was very similar to sweetened cranberries.
Tips on Making Candied Roselle
1. How to deseed roselle
Roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa) is a species of Hibiscus that grows in tropical climate. The plant reaches to about two meters in height, has beautiful bright white to pale yellow flowers and a stout fleshy and bright red as the fruit matures.
The calyx is the red colored pointed pods found on the hibiscus that protect and support the hibiscus plant. It is primarily the part of the plant used to be eaten. Inside the calyx is a green round seed pot that is attached to the base of the fruit.
To remove the seed pods from the calyx, you can easily use an apple corer. Place it at the bottom of the calyx and with a twist push motion, the corer should easily cut through and push out the seed pod to the other end. If you do not have an apple corer like me, just take a sharp knife, cut the bottom, and peel the edible calyx with your hand.
You can replant the seeds in seed pods to grow your own roselle. You can also use the pods in jams as they are full of natural pectin.
2. Blanch the roselle
Blanching helps preserve vitamins, texture, and color and is also an effective way to remove surface dirt, hidden bugs, and organisms. Do not blanch too long, just blanch the calyces for 2-3 minutes in boiling water. After that, drain the water and submerge the calyces in ice water. Do not leave it long in water or the roselle can become soggy.
3. Do not throw away the roselle water
You can drink the cooking water from blanching the calyces. Check out my Roselle Tea recipe to learn health benefits of drinking Roselle Tea.
My mom finished the rest candied roselle and asked me to make some more if I had the chance of getting more fresh roselle. Next time, I would like to try making the sugary-dried version of candied roselle just like the one I ate when I was little.
- 500 gr fresh roselle
- 1 cup granulated sugar (200 gr)
Peel the calyces and discard the seed pods. Rinse the calyces.
Blanch the calyces into boiling water for 2-3 minutes.
Drain the water and submerge the calyces immediately in ice water.
Drain the water. Mix with 3/4 cup sugar until well combined. Put them into a container and cover the calyces with the rest 1/4 cup sugar.
Refrigerate for 1 week and it's ready to be served.