2 May 2008


We harvested our first real lot of rosella's today. This is the first time we've had more than a few of anything, so I'm pretty happy with them. DD got a teapot at a second hand store recently, and has been really wanting to make tea. Figured she wouldn't like the real thing, but rosella tea might be just the ticket. Luckily Rhonda over at Down to Earth recently talked about making rosella tea (I hadn't heard of it before), so we thought we'd give it a go.

First job is to pull all the exterior red bits off the rosellas. These have a lot of very fine hairs that can stick into you, but they aren't too serious. DD gave up pretty quickly, but I persevered, and got about a litre jug full of bits (calyx I think they're called?)

This leaves you with all the little seedpods. There really is no excuse for not saving your rosella seeds, it's so easy. Leave any green seedpods until they've dried out.

The brown, dried out ones just break apart, and the seeds fall out. Put them away in a jar or envelope to plant next year.

The calynx we put on a sheet of greaseproof paper in a slow (about 100 degrees) oven for an hour or two till they were dry and crumbly. Then just crumble them up, and put in some tea. You only need a small amount (about a teaspoon for a cup), but do let them soak for a while so that the flavour has a chance to come out. We didn't do that the first time, and DD wasn't impressed with the resultant brew. The bit left in the teapot was much nicer about half an hour later. Not sure if DD has been put off by the initial failure though, will see if she wants to try it again tomorrow. Maybe a tea party in the cubby house will entice her.

I only used a small amount for the tea, being unsure of it's reception. The rest of the rosella's became jam, which I think I'm almost ready to prefer over strawberry jam. It's also been accepted as a strawberry jam alternative, which is great in a house where strawberry has been the only option up until now. As rosella's are much easier to grow (and less likely to get eaten before making it to the jam state), this is a good thing. I only got one small jar out of that lot, but still one less jar we have to buy. And it's all organic too! I even used frozen lemon juice from lemons picked from my sister's tree a few weeks ago.

We also harvested this pumpkin the other day when we built the chicken pen. It's only small, but still should be edible. I'm thinking this one will become pumpkin soup, if only I can find time to make it!

I'm a little heavy on the planned projects right now, and feeling a little overwhelmed and can't decide what to do first, so I'm going to take it slow. I may (or may not) take a blogging break for a day or two while I think about it. Stay tuned...


Robbie said...

We harvested our rosellas last weekend and I made jam and syrup from RJ's recipe - had a cup of rosella tea while stirring same on stove ...my question is this - did you find them hard to pick? I am wondering if it is just me being weak wristed or something but I had to cut each individual off the bush ??

PS Have just started reading your blog - came here from RJ's and really enjoy it - I live on Sunny Coast hinterland so like reading about somewhere reasonably local!

Rinelle said...

Hi Robbie.

I didn't even try to get them off by hand, I used scissors, and they were still awkward. I think my plant is missing a few leaves as well as rosella's. I have heard that if you get them at the right time they will snap off, but I haven't really tried.

I agree, it's nice to read blogs of locals, much easier to picture what they're up to, and the similar climates is good too.