Summer preserving for me is a big basket of freshly harvested rosella flowers. They are a strange and beautiful flower from the rosella or wild hibiscus plant (Hibiscus sabdariffa). They are hardy, with firm petals, and a big seed in the middle that you need to remove. If you want to keep the flowers whole, it is easiest to use a small knife to cut a circle on the base of the flower, and then use your finger to pop the seed out. It is quite labour intensive, but rewarding if you intend to preserve them whole to use as a pretty addition to a drink. For jam, there is no need, so just strip the petals off. The rosella flower is tart and the colour is a vibrant red that darkens with cooking. They work well in jam, chutneys, syrups and sorbet.
Rosella flower jam
1 kg washed and de-seeded rosella flowers
2 cups water
1kg raw sugar
juice of a lemon
Place flowers and water in a pan and cook until soft.
Add 1kg sugar, dissolve. Add lemon juice.
Bring to the boil until set (approx 10 min)
Pour into hot sterilised jars and seal.