You know how plants get the signal that if you don’t harvest their fruits, their job is done, and they die out? Well, we have two roselle plants that have been growing rather well. They’re about 1.8 metres high and have several branches each, all with rows of pretty, dark red roselle fruits adorning them. When one of them started showing signs of shedding too many leaves, I decided it was time to harvest the available fruits so the plants would keep growing.
It was a very respectable harvest of about two cups of fruits. I decided to use them to make the “ribena drink”.
I had several recipes to draw from, and I chose to boil about 2 litres of water and add in the pitted fruits (the calyces only) for 10 to 15 minutes. By that time, the calyces were a little translucent, and the liquid, bright red. It tasted very tart, so I added some sugar, and when it had dissolved, I drained the mixture and let it cool.
The resulting drink was still rather tart, and a little concentrated. Like a syrup, you can dilute it in water, but I’ve found that it’s particularly refreshing when added to a lot of ice.
Some recipes mention that you can use the boiled calyces as snacks or jam, but I think mine were a little old and over-boiled, because there were some fibrous bits while other parts were just too mushy!
The next time I make this, I may try adding mint leaves to make it even more refreshing, or go with the “adult” recipe from Jamaica where you brew the drink with ginger and add rum…