Roselle, raw

Fun Facts

  1. True roselle is Hibiscus sabdariffa L. (family Malvaceae) and there are 2 main types. The more important economically is H. sabdariffa var. altissima Wester, an erect, sparsely-branched annual to 16 ft (4.8 m) high, which is cultivated for its jute-like fiber in India, the East Indies, Nigeria and to some extent in tropical America. The stems of this variety are green or red and the leaves are green, sometimes with red veins. Its flowers are yellow and calyces red or green, non-fleshy, spiny and not used for food. This type at times has been confused with kenaf, H. cannabinus L., a somewhat similar but more widely exploited fiber source.
  2. Roselle fruits are best prepared for use by washing, then making an incision around the tough base of the calyx below the bracts to free and remove it with the seed capsule attached. The calyces are then ready for immediate use. They may be merely chopped and added to fruit salads. In Africa, they are frequently cooked as a side-dish eaten with pulverized peanuts. For stewing as sauce or filling for tarts or pies, they may be left intact, if tender, and cooked with sugar.

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