You know autumn has arrived in Taiwan, when you start seeing local farmers sell fresh Roselle Flowers in the farmers market. Upon seeing them, I had this urge to make jam out of them. Although I have never made jam before, I ended up buying almost 2kg of those beautiful crimson flowers.
I have been wanting to make homemade jam for some time now, but I have always been intimidated by the process. Some require fancy jarring equipment – perhaps an investment I’ll make in the future – others pectin, and I just wanted something simple.I couldn’t find an exact recipe for roselle jam so I decided to wing it. If all else fails, I figured I can either add chia seed to set the jam or turn them into syrup and figure out some use for it.
The best thing about homemade jam is the amount of control you have over the finished product.Store bought jam is loaded with sugar and extra ingredients such as preservatives or coloring. The homemade version you have control over these factors. For this recipe, you only need roselle flowers, sugar, water, and two pots. I wanted to avoid eating refined sugar, so I used maple syrup. You can substitute this with agave, coconut sugar, or any sweetener you have in your pantry.
The result is this beautiful crimson red jam. Immediately, I slathered mine on some freshly baked bagels. It had a tart taste that many people (including myself) find irresistible. I literally couldn’t wait to eat them for breakfast tomorrow.
- 1.5 KG Rosella Flower
- 1 C Maple Syrup - Substitute with any sweetener. Adjust amount based on preference
- Water - enough to cover the seedpods
- Wash and core the flowers. Separate the seedpods and the flowers in separate pots.
- Before making the jam, place a plate into the fridge for to test the jam later and sterilize your jars.
- Place the seed pods in a large pot and add enough water to cover the seeds. Simmer over medium to medium-high heat for 10 - 15 mins.
- Remove from heat once pods have darken in color, softened and the water has become somewhat cloudy and sticky.
- Strain and discard the pods while reserving the water.
- To this water, add the flowers. At this point, it may seem like there is too much flower and not enough water. Resist adding more water. Bring the pot to simmer for 5-10 minutes. the flower will begin to breakdown and will be submerged in water.
- Start adding sugar to this mixture. I started with ½ cup and added more after taste testing.
- Allow mixture to simmer at low heat for another 5-10 minutes, the consistency will begin to thicken.Stir regularly to avoid burning. Cooking too long darkens the jam.
- Test if the jam will set by placing a spoon full onto a cold saucer. If it the mixture sets, remove from heat to cool and prepare for canning.
- Transfer the jam into sterilized jars.