Rosellas - Hibiscus sabdariffa
Very fast growing, in three months it was fully grown, nearly 2 mtrs high and fruiting, it is an annual and will die off in winter.
Have been experimenting with cooking, only with the calyx to date but the whole plant is edible or usable young leaves as a green vegetable, the seed apparently can be ground into a flour and the fiberous stalks made into string. I made jam with the first light crop. Fairly simple remove the red calyx from the green seed pod, discard the seed pod and simmer the red flesh in a small amount of water, when tender add equal quantity of sugar and boil until setting point. Some recipes suggest that the seed pods should be boiled to extract pectin and some of the water then added to the calyx pot to aid setting. Alternatively add lemon or commercial pectin. I found that this first set without any extra effort, just the calyx, sugar and water.
Have also used the red calyx with some apple as a sauce with pork, ( apple and rosella calyx and a dash of red wine give a tart fruit sauce) Great with chops and with traditional English pork sausages; would also go well with roast pork. Have made an apple and rosella pie and in fact just treated the crop in ways that rhubarb is treated. The "fruit" can also be made into a sweet syrup used for cocktails or added to sparkling white wine, or as a cordial but at this stage I am happy to use in less sweet recipes. I understand the calyx freezes well and will leave some to dry out on the plant to give seeds for next years plants.
Max Dingle April 2018