Friday, April 12, 2013

Rosella tea

A while ago I had a lovely tea with ginger and rosella.  It got me thinking maybe I should try to grow some rosellas myself, so this season when I was offered some seed (thanks African Aussie!) I planted some and ended up with four in big pots.  I kept them in pots because I was a little unsure what to expect.  I didn't know how big they would get and where they would prefer to grow.  I find keeping unknown plants in pots the first year helps me if I need to move them around to find the best spot for them.  Next year I'll probably plant them out in the garden instead.

Rosella dried for tea

I am still waiting for mine to flower, even though I planted them in September, but a friend of mine had excess fruit from her plants and gave me a bag of them.  I decided to dry most of them for tea, and kept a few to add to a fermented drink.

the rosella flowers?  I don't even know what to call them!

the calices peeled from the rosella seeds
Rosella is a bit of a strange fruit, as you don't really use a fruit as such, you actually remove the calyx, which is the bit outside the petals which grows up around the seed pod.  I had never seen them before, so this was quite a novelty.  They very are easy to peel, then I just washed them and spread them out in the dehydrator on some cheese cloth (so they didn't fall through the mesh).

The green bit is the seed pod
The calices themselves taste very sour, but that is a lovely tang to add to jam, cordial, tea etc.  Apparently you can also use them for pickles.  I decided to try making a fermented beverage and substituted them for ginger in my ginger ale recipe, the result was delicious.

The calices spread out in the dehydrator

and after drying for about 12 hours

rosella, mixed with ginger, lemon peel and lemon grass

my tea cupboard, in case you were wondering where I keep all this tea!
the rosella ferment, I thought it would be more pink,
it tastes nice though

Do you make rosella tea?  OR anything else from rosella?


  1. I dry them and make a delicious tea, just pour boiling water over them and let them steep, looks so nice, smells so nice I am sure it must be good for you :)

  2. My rosella bushes were attacked by a bug which almost destroyed them while I was away. By the time I got back and sprayed them with my garlic chili mix it was too late. They never recovered. I never realised they fruited so late too, and I need that bed for my veggies, so removed them. Planting them in a pot first is a great idea. That sounds like a great mix of flavours.

  3. That looks fancy. I have never had Rosella, never seen a plant but think it's great when we can make our own teas with what we grow. Is the fermented drink water Kefir?


    1. not water kefir, its a lactic-ferment, I'll write a more detailed post soon. I should have included a photo of the plants, they are quite odd. Fiona did a good post on hers though... and she won a prize for them at the local show!

  4. My grandmother made jars and jars of rosella jam every year from her bushes. It was my favourite jam for scones. I think I have a recipe if you'd like it. :)

    1. thanks, that would be lovely. I'm not really a jam person, but you never know when you might have too many rosellas!

  5. Hey Liz Can you email the recipe for the fermented drink. I have loads of rosellas and I have some in the freezer, I will pick some for the Kilcoy Show this weekend, will dry some for tea and will stew some up. But I think I will need some more ideas to make the most of them.

    1. yep emailed to you and will do a more detailed post on fermented drinks in general.

  6. Interesting! I have never seen these before. Thank you for sharing at the HomeAcre Hop. Look forward to having you back tomorrow:

  7. I love rosella tea. It's very popular in Africa, where it's called bissap (there are lots of recipes online). I like it with a bit of sugar, served with plenty of icec cubes and fresh mint leaves. So refreshing!


  9. I've never heard of the plant, so every time you mention "rosella" I picture the rosella birds. Makes for some very confusing mental imagery!


Thanks, I appreciate all your comments, suggestions and questions, but I don't always get time to reply right away. If you need me to reply personally to a question, please leave your email address in the comment or in your profile, or email me directly on eight.acres.liz at

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