The plant with many names - roselle hibiscus, Jamaican sorrel, red sorrel, Florida cranberry, and known by many more... this was our first year growing this plant. It was extremely easy to grow from seeds and we were delighted by the harvest.
The UF IFAS recommends starting Roselle in Florida around April or May. I started my seeds May 23rd. Although most plants were sold or given as gifts, I did transplant one plant into the backyard in late July. Once that plant was out of a pot and into the ground, I let the summer rain and backyard irrigation do the work. It instantly took off.
My favorite thing about this plant is that the entire plant is edible; you can use the leaves in salads, the calyxes can be made into things like jellies and jams, plus the seeds can also be roasted. When composting the trimmings, this plant has absolutely no waste.
I began harvesting leaves about 2 months after planting the seeds and harvested the calyxes about 2-3 months after that...but what are calyxes anyways!? A calyx surrounds the seed pod and is located around the base of the flower. Once the flower dries up and falls off, the calyx and seed pod remain. You can harvest the calyxes once they get nice and plump.
A family friend made roselle jam last year and it was delicious; it gave true meaning to its nickname, the "Florida cranberry" - sweet, tart, and sour. There were so many unique recipes and ideas I found while researching this plant, but the kids and I landed on an all-natural Kool-Aid this year: just brew calyxes, strain, add pure cane sugar to taste, stir, and enjoy. So easy!
You can check out how we made it in our Tik Tok video here: https://www.tiktok.com/@happyhomesteadsfl/video/7029839172189834501?is_from_webapp=1&sender_device=pc&web_id7028958837541537285
We'd love to hear if you've have had roselle in other ways, comment below! Until then, we look forward to exploring other recipes and sharing in the years to come.
Stay tuned because our roselle seeds will SOON be available for purchase in an adorable tea set!
If you're interested in reading more about this plant, I have attached links to some of my favorite resources I found when learning about roselle...
This is a link information about roselle, published by the UF IFAS:
& a pdf guide about roselle, from the University of the District of Columbia:
Last updated: 12/28/21