The garden is behind. With Ethan out of town it has been hard to get things going when i had wanted to, but I’m not too worried. Those fall greens grow so quickly, and the roselle is in its fall glory, laden with deep red pods waiting to be picked.
This, I know from experience, is the hardest part of growing roselle (other than being patient all summer waiting for it to bloom finally). Each plant becomes huge and loaded with calixes, which like okra are slightly prickly. The 15 plants that grew this year are a task to keep picked. I never am able to pick the whole two rows.
The plants have become divided into thirds simply because that is about how much time I have to pick every few days. One section has tiny pods, one ready to be picked, and one nearly past prime if i don’t get out there and pick already.
Once the pods are picked, they must be shucked, and the fuzzy light green seed pod removed. I used to peel it off by hand, but now we use a corer that Ethan made from a wooden handle and a small section of copper pipe. The corer quickly and easily separates the seed pod, leaving the calix whole.
One of our favorite things to do with roselle is make soda. It’s incredibly easy, and has only three ingredients. The only remotely finicky detail is that the honey must be raw, because it is the natural yeasts and beneficial bacteria in the honey that make the soda pleasantly bubbly.
Effervescent and sweet with tangy hibiscus flavor, my children will drink a gallon of this soda in just one day, of its not supervised. It glows a beautiful rose color in a glass, like a magic potion.
About 20 roselle pods
1 cup raw honey
About 1 gallon unchlorinated water
1. Shuck the roselle pods and toss in a gallon glass jar.
2. Drizzle in the honey.
3. Add water to about 1 inch below the top of the jar. Cap the jar and leave on the counter for 4-7 days.
The red color will gradually infuse out of the roselle and into the soda over several days. When the roselle pods are pale and the red color has infused all the way down to the golden honey at the bottom, it is time to pour through a strainer and enjoy.
It really is that easy!