Do you now roselle? I remember eating whole candied roselle when I was a child. I initially thought it was a flower, but it is not a fruit neither. It is unexpectedly the calyx, the green (red for roselle) part that encloses the flowers in bud stage. This lovely maroon calyx from the hibiscus family tastes sweet and sour just like cranberry. However, unfortunately I can find it nowhere anymore.
Until lately, I found them sold fresh at a traditional market in Singkawang, a city in the province of West Kalimantan, when I passed by for an office assignment. I was surprised to find that its size is considerably big, as I had only seen the dried version only. I immediately purchased a few and dried them for preservation following the pedler’s suggestion. Here is a simple roselle recipe roundup to get your taste buds tempted.
Other name(s) : Abelmoschus Cruentus, Agua de Jamaica, Ambashthaki, Bissap, Erragogu, Flor de Jamaica, Florida cranberry, Furcaria Sabdariffa, Gongura, Groseille de Guinée, Guinea Sorrel, Hibisco, Hibiscus Calyx, Hibiscus Cruentus, Hibiscus Fraternus, Hibiscus Palmatilobus, Hibiscus sabdariffa, Jamaica Sorrel, Karkade, Karkadé, Lo Shen, Oseille de Guinée, Oseille Rouge, Pulicha Keerai, Red Sorrel, Red Tea, Rosa de Jamaica, Rosella, Roselle, Sabdariffa Rubra Sour Tea, Sudanese Tea, Te de Jamaica, Thé Rose d’Abyssinie, Thé Rouge, Zobo, Zobo Tea.
Roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa) is a species of Hibiscus that grows in tropical climate. The plant reaches to about two meters in height. It has beautiful bright white to pale yellow flowers and a stout fleshy and bright red as the fruit matures. Roselle is famous for producing edible calyx that can be used in beverages. The calyx is the red colored pointed pods found on the hibiscus that protect and support the hibiscus plant. It tastes sweet and should be picked 10 to 15 days after they loose its blooms, or else it will taste more tart.
Research has uncovered some health benefits linked to drinking roselle tea. The most scientifically studied claim is the use of roselle tea to positively affect blood pressures and cholesterol and prevent cardiovascular disease. Some of the other less-researched health benefits of roselle tea include assisting in digestion, strengthening immunity, working as an anti-inflammatory agent, and reducing the risk of cancer. Roselle tea is also rich in vitamin C, minerals and various antioxidants, while also helping in the treatment of hypertension and anxiety.
Roselle tea can be made by steeping parts of the hibiscus plant in boiling water, particularly the calyx. It has distinct maroon color along with sweet and tart flavor similar to that of cranberries It can be enjoyed both hot and cold depending on your preferences like most other teas.
Drying roselle is an easy way to preserve it for year-round use. Inside each calyx is a marble-sized seed that should be removed before using the flesh. If the weather is sunny and warm, dry roselle in direct sunlight on dry surface for about 1-2 days. At dusk, bring it inside to prevent it getting damp. It is ready to store when they are completely dry and crumble when crushed. Meanwhile, if the weather is bad, use a dehydrator or oven on it’s lowest setting. When your roselle is completely dried, transfer it to an airtight lid and store in cool place, out of direct sunlight. They will last for several months.
Roselle Lemonade is a refreshing sweet and tart herbal tea from an infusion from maroon-coloured calyx of the roselle with added lemon and orange slices.
- 1 cup dried roselle
- 5 cup boiling water
- 1 lemon thinly sliced
- 1 orange thinly sliced
- honey (optional)
Steep dried roselle in boiling water for 15-20 minutes. The longer you steep it, the more concentrated and sour the drink is.
Strain the tea. Mix in lemon and orange slices until well combined.
Serve hot or chilled.
Add honey to sweeten the drink if desired.