My memories of Rosella Jam is my Nanna having a stash in the back of the fridge for as long as I can remember but I’d always seen it as something only CWA ladies have with their fresh scones and cream for morning tea.  There’s something about them that seems so beautifully retro, from an era of home prepared food that seems to be long forgotten by recent generations.

I’ve always been drawn to recipes and cooking methods that have been pushed to the side by our life of convenience so for Christmas 2013, Chris gave me this awesome books called The Produce Companion From balconies to backyards, the complete guide to growing, pickling and preserving.

This book takes you from the garden to kitchen with a massive collection of simple recipes to use up all that your humble vegetable garden can produce.

Somewhere along the lines we acquired some Rosella seeds which Chris chucked in our grey water vegetable garden with no real clue between us on how they grow or whether they’ll thrive here or not.  Lucky for us they took off and over providing us with an abundance of this crimson fruit in its first season.

Each yeah towards the end of summer the first green sprouts begin to shoot out of the warm soil.  By the beginning of autumn, the branches are trailing along the ground under the sheer weight of the fruit bearing its thin green limbs and with each heavy harvest, more flowers appear providing us with a heavy haul all throughout autumn and into early winter.

Cypress has also acquired a weird taste for them fresh off the bush which to most is too bitter to be bothered with.  Whether it’s a teething thing or the novelty or picking his own food straight from the plant, he’s hooked on chewing off the red outer leaves while sitting on his little bench and will throw the seeds back in the garden or to the eagerly waiting dog.

Under the pump to make the most of these bitter beauties before they all spoiled, we decided to give the Rosella & Apple Jam recipe a go from The Produce Companion and wholly shit we were hooked!

My MIL took a few kilos and whipped up more batches than I can personally fathom to include in her home made Christmas hampers.  Halfway through her frenzy though, the apples she had put aside were eaten and not wanting to go back to the shops, she decided to try out nectarines instead.  These are my favourite recipes – the ones that have evolved accidentally over time and become a family treasure for generations to come.

Rosella & Nectarine Jam

Rosella & Nectarine Jam
Servings 2 cups

Ingredients

Instructions

Preparation
  1. Separate the outer red "petals" from the seed pod inside them into bowls of water.
Seed Pod Liquid
  1. Simmer in a saucepan of just enough water to cover the pods for 20 minutes.
  2. Strain through a fine sieve and give the pods to your chooks, worms or garden.
Red Petal Liquid
  1. Combine red petals, nectarine, lemon juice and 2 cups of the Seed Pod Liquid in a clean saucepan.
  2. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to medium, cover with a lid and cook for 20 - 30 minutes.
  3. Remove from the heat and carefully measure out how much liquid you have (in cups).
Final Jam
  1. Return the liquid to the saucepan with equal cups of caster sugar.
  2. Heat on low, stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves completely.
  3. Bring up to a medium heat and cook for 30 - 35 minutes, skimming foam from the surface as it appears.
  4. Test the setting point by spooning a teaspoon of jam onto a chilled plate. The mixture should be firm with a wrinkle on the surface once it cools.
  5. Spoon the hot jam into sterilised jars and seal.

Recipe Notes

Don't forget to keep any opened jars in the fridge.

Your unopened jars should keep in a cool, dark place for up to 12 months.

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