It’s more than just a pretty shrub, Roselles have been used in dishes, beverages and traditional medicine for centuries. Different countries have distinct names for the flower, in Iran it’s typically known as ‘sour tea’. However, in English-speaking countries it’s called ‘Red Sorrel’. It’s widely cultivated in Africa, Asia, Papua New Guinea and the Pacific as a home garden crop. Roselles are a funnel-shaped flower and usually have five petals. They’re so special and differ from other forms of shrubs because these flowers have many parts to it that are all used in various foods, drinks and medicine. This includes their seeds, leaves, fruits and roots.
Apart from their delightful taste, roselles have been used for therapeutic treatments for centuries. It’s known to treat toothaches, urinary tract infections, colds and even hangovers. Roselle contains calcium that protects teeth by keeping the jaw bone strong and sturdy throughout your life, which in turn ensures tight fitting teeth where bacteria cannot thrive. It also consists of Phosphorous which has the ability to remove minor health problems like muscle weakness, numbness, fatigue and other similar ailments. For pregnant women, it’s important to consume more iron rich foods, so roselles would be a great choice for consumption.
How to Use Roselles
Roselles can be used in a variety of ways including food colouring. They could be used fresh in a salad, roselle wine, syrup, gelatin, refreshing beverages, puddings and more. Check out this Roselle "Florida Cranberry" Sauce that can be great to use during holiday dinners and it’s an easy make:
4 cups chopped roselle calyxes (thawed if frozen)
1-1/2 cups water
1/2 cup orange juice
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
pinch of cinnamon
1 tbsp lemon juice
How to Make:
- Heat the water, juices, cinnamon and sugars to boiling in a 3-quart saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently.
- When the mixture begins to boil, lower the heat and boil 5 minutes longer, stirring constantly.
- Add the chopped roselle, return the mixture to a boil, and continue cooking 5 minutes longer, stirring constantly to avoid scorching.
- You're done! Enjoy warm or refrigerate for a few hours before serving. Serves 12 - 20.
For a fancier version, try adding diced apple, raisins and chopped walnuts when you add the chopped roselle.