Also called wild hibiscus, rosellas are North Queensland wildflowers and give this jam tartness in addition to a festive crimson colour. The jam is the perfect accompaniment to scones or puftaloons. They keep for up to 1 year in a sealed, sterilised jar.
- 2 granny smith apples, peeled
- 1 tbsp lemon juice, plus 1 piece lemon rind
- 500 g fresh rosella flowers (see Note), seeded
- 500 g white sugar
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Makes 3 cups
For this recipe, you’ll need a sugar thermometer.
Core apples and place cores with lemon rind in a piece of muslin and secure with string; this will act as natural pectin for jam. Roughly chop apples and place in a large pan with flowers and 1.5 litres water. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to medium and cook for 20 minutes or until flowers start to soften.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 160°C, place sugar on an oven tray and warm for 5 minutes (see Note). (Warming sugar helps it dissolve faster.) Add to rosella mixture with lemon juice, reduce heat to low and stir until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to high and bring to the boil, stirring in one direction to bring scum to surface. Skim any scum from surface and cook for 35 minutes or until jam reaches 105°C on a sugar thermometer. (Alternatively, to test if the jam is at setting point, place a spoonful on a chilled plate; if there’s a skin on the surface when you touch it, the jam is at setting point.)
Remove and discard muslin bag, then pour jam into sterilised jars, leaving 3 mm at top. Screw on lid tightly and invert while it cools to form a seal. Refrigerate jam after opening. Enjoy with puftaloons.
• Fresh rosellas grow wild; pick ones that are pesticide-free. Substitute frozen flowers, available from australianproduce.com.au. You can also substitute wild hibiscus flowers in syrup for the fresh rosellas. This preserved variety is sold in jars at greengrocers and delis. To make 1 cup jam, drain 3 x 250 ml jars flowers in syrup (reserving syrup for cocktails) and follow jam recipe using 1 peeled granny smith apple, 3 tsp lemon juice, 1 piece lemon rind, 150 g white sugar and 500 ml water.
• If you have a microwave, you can also use it to warm sugar. Simply microwave for 3 minutes, stirring halfway, on medium (80%) power.
Photography by Brett Stevens.
As seen in Feast magazine, December 2011, Issue 4.