Hello! I hope your day is going well!
This instructable is for a syrup produced from a plant in the Hibiscus family called "Roselle" (Hibiscus sabdariffa). The species is endemic to west Africa. After the flower blooms the chunky, red sepals of the flower are left behind. This is called a calyx and the calyx is what is made into the syrup. This drink if often called Jamaica in Mexico and Sorrell in the Caribbean.
I grew these plant from seed this year and was surprised to find that they not only survived 120 F (48.9 C) summers in Bullhead City, Arizona but it also was very productive! I am already disappointed that I did not keep more than 4 plants.
Although this instructable is for syrup these plants make an incredible jam. The leaves are also edible and have a nice tangy flavor!
I have been told that you can make syrup from the dried supermarket calyx, but I've never tried this before and I don't know how the quality compares.
As usual, I'm not promising my photography is any good, but I hope you enjoy the recipe!
Step 1: Ingredients
5 lbs (approximately) of fresh Roselle calyxes
8 c. sugar
8 c. water
Step 2: Prep Roselle
This step is pretty easy especially if you have a friend or significant other you can recruit to help you. You don't need to use a knife because I have found pulling the seed pod away from the calyx is very easy. Some people online say to use an apple corer.
If you were making jams or jellies you would leave the seed pod in because it adds pectin to your liquid!
Step 3: Mix Ingredients, Boil, and Reduce
Yes, it is just that simple. Simmer or lightly boil the liquid until you can remove a drop of liquid from the pot, put it on a plate, let it cool, and the viscosity is greater than the viscosity of water.
Step 4: Filter Syrup +/- Canning
While the syrup is still hot use a sanitized fine-mesh strainer to remove all of the boiled calyx. If you were making jam you might skip this step.
Since the harvesting time period of Roselle is limited I decided to can my product.
I used a sanitized ladle and poured the unfiltered syrup into the jars through the fine mesh strainer again. If you are not canning, filtering the syrup is still a good idea.
Recommendation: watch Youtube videos on canning rather than following these simple instructions
(1) Boil lids and jars separately. Keep about 1 inch of water above your jars.
(2) Remove jars from the boiling water with the appropriate tools so that you don't burn yourself.
(3) While the jars and syrup are still hot pour the syrup through the strainer and into the jars
(4) Place the lid onto the jar withouttouching the lip of the jar and without touching the underside of the lid
(5) Screw on the lid screw band (not too tight!)
(6) Boil 15 minutes
(7) Let cool
Step 5: Enjoy!
Slowly mix the syrup with cold water and ice until you reach ideal sweetness.