I’m a ‘rise-again-when -fall’ kinda person. For real. I have failed in my life so many times but I rise, yes I stand, brush the dirt from my knees and start all over again. This is exactly what happened trying to make zobo jelly. It was a journey of countless fails.
For a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again…’Proverbs 24:6
I have a sweet tooth. I love all things sweet. You know how you feel when a cold bottle of coke hits your taste buds. It’s a high most people cannot explain. Exactly how I feel when I have sweets. No wonder, science has proven that sugar is a drug. I’m hooked for sure. 🙂 That’s me for you. 🙂 But hey, let’s get back to the reason for this post, zobo jelly!
Roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa) also known as Zobo is a species of Hibiscus native to West Africa. Did you know that zobo has been used in folk medicine as a diuretic and mild laxative? Generally, the leaves make a great-tasting drink called ‘folere’ in Cameroon,and ‘Zobo’ in Nigeria. The leaves are simply boiled with pineapple peels, ginger and a host of other ingredients and chilled with ice for a wonderfully sweet refreshing drink.
What inspired me to find other ways of using the leaves, was the color the leaves produced when boiled and how this colored my lips after drinking. I thought about all the foods I could color using the liquid, then it hit me like a bomb, B.O.O.M!!! Strawberry jelly is the same color. What if I made a sorelle jelly with the liquid?
I must admit I had no idea at the time how jellies or jam is made so I did some research and discovered that jelly making is the process of adding sugar, pectin or gelatin to fruits. This was an AHA moment for me. I was determined to give it a try, so I hurriedly mimicked the recipe for strawberry jelly, forgetting that strawberries do not have leaves and boy did I fail, W.O.E.F.U.L.L.Y! It was a disaster, the jelly did not set, the leaves were chewy and the whole thing was a waste. I could pull out my hair….like ahhhhggggggggggggggggrrrrr.
But that’s the way life goes right? Sometimes, we succeed, other times we fail. The most important thing to do is to rise up, start all over and forge on. After several tries, I can proudly say, this recipe is yum! Calls for a lot of sugar so it’s going to be an occasional treat for some of us trying to lose weight. I replaced one part of the sugar quantity with coconut sugar which gave it a caramel flavor, double YUM!!! Use it as base for your desserts or to add sweetness to fruit salads as pictured below.
The possibilities are endlich. Think about zobo jam, zobo syrup, zobo flowers in cakes etc. I will be posting more successes in the feature so please hang with me. How do you use zobo leaves? Share your recipes in the comment area below.
- Handful hibiscus/zobo leaves, soaked overnight
- 1 sachet gelatine or pectin
- 2 sachets vanilla sugar or 2 tbsp. vanilla extract (optional)
- 200g jelly sugar
- 50g coconut sugar (optional
- 1 liter water
- Juice from 1 lemon
- Wash zobo leaves thoroughly. Add water to a pot and boil on medium heat until leaves a mashy.
- Sieve the zobo liquid from the leaves and set aside.
- Using a food processor, purée the leaves to a smooth consistency.
- In a pot, add a cup of zobo liquid, add gelatine or pectin, then whisk carefully until it dissolves.
- Add puréed leaves into a pot, add the rest of the liquid zobo (should be about 500 - 750ml), add jelly and coconut sugar (if you are using it), as well as vanilla sugar or extract and boil until it forms a thick syrupy sauce.
- Turn of heat and allow jelly to set.
- Bring water to a boil in a pot and immerse the jar and lid. Then boil for 20 minutes. Only remove when you are ready to fill in your jelly.
- Put a small plate in the freezer for 10 minutes.
- Scoop a tablespoon of sauce on the plate and let it cool.
- Poke it, if it wrinkles, your jelly is ready.
- Fill in sterilized mason jar and store in the fridge.
- 1. You can add ground ginger, cloves, cinnamon or nutmeg for spicy zobo jelly.