Jamaican sorrel is one of the coolest-looking edibles you can grow. And not only is it beautiful, it’s also delicious. Jamaican sorrel, also known as Florida Cranberry, is a member of the hibiscus family (which also includes okra) and like many hibiscus, has multiple edible parts.
The blooms, leaves, and pods on this plant are all edible – but the reason most people grow Jamaican sorrel is for the calyxes.
What is a calyx, you ask? It’s the pointy red bit at the base of the flower.
After blooming, the flower withers and the pod inside the bud begins to swell. After a few days, the calyx around it is large and juicy – ready for picking.
I use scissors to take them off my bushes when they’re about an inch across. Then you get to do the fun part:
Chop the stem end off, slit one side and pop out the green fruit in the middle. (They’re like freaky little okra babies… I send them right out the door to the chickens.) Then save the calyxes in the freezer until Thanksgiving – they’re a dead ringer for cranberry, though not as bitter. My wife uses them interchangeably with cranberries in her sauce making… and the results are delicious.
Check out Rachel’s Jamaican Sorrel Cranberry Relish recipe!
Name: Jamaican Sorrel, Florida Cranberry, Roselle
Latin Name: Hibiscus sabdariffa
Type: Annual shrub
Nitrogen Fixer: No
Exposure: Full sun/part shade
Part Used: Calyxes, leaves
Method of preparation: Raw, cooked, jellied, leaves in salads
Storability: So-so. Preserve by freezing, jellying.
Ease of growing: Easy