Saturday 25 December 2010

wild hibiscus flowers in syrup

Merry Christmas!

I’m trying hard not to be a little sad this Christmas, but there are four people snowed in on the other side of the world who were supposed to be here with us today.

Jonas’ elder brother (David), sister (Helena), brother-in-law (Christian) and niece (Chloe) were due to arrive on Wednesday morning and instead (because London and Frankfurt don’t know how to handle a little snow) they’ll miss this very special Christmas we had arranged for them.

On the up side, my lovely brother and his family drove down from the Gold Coast to join us and that’s one big positive.

Jonas and his crew will just have to wait a few more days for their own sweet reunion.

~ ~ ~

To celebrate Christmas, I’m sharing this very festive recipe that’s actually perfect for any special occasion.

Admittedly, fresh rosellas (wild hibiscus flowers) are hard to get your hands on but, if you can, the delicious syrups and jams they produce is worth the hard yards tracking them down.

These flowers and a splash of their syrup are perfect for adding to a glass of bubbly (I had them as an aperitif at my wedding), or equally wonderful with soda water, as a topping to vanilla yoghurt or perched on a cheesecake.

And for those who can’t get these pretty little flowers to poach them yourselves, there are some great websites that ship jars of the flowers in syrup.

This recipe comes from a beautiful and truly interesting cookbook about native Australian ingredients called Wild Food. If you're curious about the amazing fruits, herbs and spices that Australia has given to the world, you might want to check it out.

Wild Rosella Flowers in Syrup

Recipe from Wild Food by Juleigh Robins. Makes 40.

2 cups cold water
2 cups caster sugar
2 cups wild rosellas, chopped
40 wild rosella flowers, whole


1. Place the water, sugar and chopped wild rosella in a wide stainless-steel saucepan over medium heat.

2. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently until the volume of liquid has reduced by a third.

3. Remove from the heat and strain to remove the solids.

4. Return to the pan, add the flowers and bring to the boil.

5. When it starts to bubble, remove from the heat and pour into sterilised jars.


  1. Ciao Anna, mi dispiace per il contrattempo neve, qui noi invece abbiamo 20° però difficoltà di viaggiare a causa degli scioperi! Ti auguro Buon Natale e un felicissimo 2011!! Un abbraccio

  2. ornella - atene ha 20' nel cuore dell'inverno? che pazzo! anche ti auguro buon natale e un meraviglioso anno nuovo!

  3. Great recipe. I love how it changes the colour of the sparkles. I wonder where I can find rosellas.

  4. mark - i bought mine in norton street grocer's bondi store but i think harris farm or flemington markets would have them in season.

  5. It is possible to grow Rosella plants in the Sydney Region. Seeds are available from Garden Harvest. They must be started under glass and planted out once the weather has warmed up. My plants are just beginning to flower now and I am looking forward to trying this recipe. Many thanks!!!!!

  6. I just bought a packet of these flowers from The Big Gun on the Gold Coast and thought what the hell do I do with them now. Lucky I found your blog but I'm not sure what I do with the seed pod, do I take it out or leave it in? It's difficult to take out without destroying the flower, any hints?

    1. i took the seed pod out. it was tricky but having small fingers helped :)

    2. Trim the end off and push the seed pod out with a chopstick:-)

    3. You must take the pod out - an apple corer leaves the flower intact and much prettier

  7. How beautiful! And what a nice idea to have this gorgeously pink syrup color a glass of bubbly! I live in another part of the world where rosellas grow wild (Pondicherry, India) and am experimenting with all possibilities rosella this year (for my own blog and for my own enjoyment :)). Which is how I stumbled upon your site!

    1. hi Deepa, i'd be interested to know what other recipes you come up with.
      i have another drink recipe on my blog using the dried flowers: Karkanji, which is from Chad and is spiced up with ginger, cinnamon and cloves.

  8. Thanks for posting this recipe! We have rosellas growing out of control up here in Cairns. I have so many flowers, and there's only so much jam one can eat.


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