Rosella jam workshop

Yesterday we held a rosella jam workshop at Beelarong Community Farm where I have my allotment.

Dorothea is the driving force behind the planting and harvesting of the rosella bushes. She also makes the rosella jam which we sell at the farm as a fund-raiser and yesterday morning she took us through the process of rosella jam making. Most enjoyable in our open-air kitchen.

Dorothea had already harvested the rosellas so our first job was to remove the seed pods from the red calyx. It’s the calyx that gives the jam the colour and flavour.

Rosella calyx and seed pod

Rosella calyx and seed pod

It can be a bit tough removing the seed pod from the calyx so John, a volunteer and maintenance man at the farm, has made us a couple of these tools. The wooden handle gives you a good grip and the metal part pushes the seed pod through the calyx.

A handy tool

A handy tool

After removing all the seed pods they are then boiled up to release the pectin.

Seed pods boiling

Seed pods boiling

The seed pods are then strained and the liquid (pectin) is boiled up with the red calyx and sugar to make the jam. Dorothea didn’t take her eyes off the pot once the sugar went in, she kept it moving gently so that it wouldn’t stick.

Boiling up the jam

Boiling up the jam

Time to pour the jam into the sterilised jars. It was good to see some young people enjoying the workshop too. They really threw themselves into the process and were very ‘hands-on’.

The jars are filled

The jars are filled

Finally, with the jam labelled and ‘dressed’, we all took a jar home with us.

Rosella jam

Rosella jam

Here is the recipe for the rosella jam

Wash freshly picked rosellas in cold water and drain.

Separate the red calyx from the seed pods.

Place seed pods in a saucepan, cover with water and gently boil for 5-10 minutes to release the pectin.

Remove from heat, strain, save the liquid (pectin) and discard the seed pods.

Wash the red calyx in cold water.

Pour the liquid pectin back into a large saucepan, add the red calyx and simmer gently until very soft (about 20 minutes) stirring often.

Add sugar at the rate of 1.5 kilos of sugar for 1.5 litres of pulp.

Boil quickly for 15-20 minutes after adding the sugar, stirring occasionally.

Add two tablespoons of jam setta.

Skim off any foam with a slotted spoon.

Bottle the jam into hot sterilised jars and seal immediately.

Enjoy.

Cars – and Rosella Jam

Not a lot of news on the gardening front today as I have been out looking at cars.

I love my old Toyota Celica, old being the operative word, it’s a 1983. It’s been well looked after by Tony and Ben from Valley Car Clinic who have kept it on the road for me. But the time has come. I know it will be a wrench.

I think I’ll probably settle for a Toyota Corolla.

Anyway, enough of that. Back to the farm. When I was visiting the allotment I took this (rather poor quality!) photograph of one of the beds of rosellas that we use to make jam as a fund raiser for the farm. The jam is delicious and has such a reputation around the area. We sell as much as Dorothea, our accomplished jam maker, can make.

But check out this website. When I was googling ‘rosella jam’ I found Gourmet Jack’s. Jack is a ‘foodie’ Australian style. And the photos on his website are much better than the pathetic photo I feature above as he takes you through his jam recipe step by step.

Even if you never plan to make rosella jam, I think you would still find his website entertaining.

Jerry Coleby-Williams

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