Rosella jam

Ark of taste
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Rosella (Hibiscus sabdariffa) is a species of hibiscus native to the tropics of the northern hemisphere. It is well known especially in the West Indies and Southern Asia. Many of the cultures in Southern Asia make it into drinks, jellies and compotes. In Queensland, in northeastern Australia, it has traditionally been made into a jam that is used as a topping, traditionally on toasted bread, but also on cold roasted meats. Its taste is quite tart, despite the quantity of sugar that is added. It has a distinctive dark rosy color. There are early colonial Australian recipes using rosella jam in cakes and puddings. Early traders – prior to European settlement – are thought to have brought rosellas from Asia to northern Queensland; with time, they have also spread south to New South Wales. Rosellas were important in the daily diet of Queensland children because they were so easy to grow. Once found in many home and country gardens in Queensland, the fruit is found less and less commonly. When in season, very small amounts of rosella jam can be found at community markets or sold during fundraisers. The jam is time consuming to make, and so it is not widely commercially available. Even production for home use is decreasing due to the labor involved and the gradual disappearance of the once-common fruiting plant.

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