For most people in the Caribbean, Christmas isn’t the same without a glass of sorrel, chilled to perfection, especially when made with a shot or two of “festivity” (read: rum). But these exotic, crimson red sepals can also be enjoyed in other forms. Here’s a simple but divine recipe for my all-natural, no-preservative-added sorrel drink and jam with cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and pimento. (This recipe puts nothing to waste since the jam is made from the leftover pulp after the juice has been extracted to make the drink).
Sorrel drink – what you’ll need:
- 2 lbs fresh sorrel (washed)
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- 6 whole cloves
- 6-8 slices of fresh ginger
- 12-15 pimento seeds (allspice)
- 5-6 cardamom seeds
- 5 cups brown sugar
- 10-12 cups water (about 3 quarts)
- Pour water into pot and add cinnamon sticks, cloves, ginger, pimento and cardamom and allow to come to a boil.
- Add sorrel to boiling water and continue boiling the mixture for about 10 minutes.
- Remove from heat and let steep for at least 8 hours. Overnight is best.
- Using a strainer, separate the liquid from the pulp. Discard the cinnamon sticks and set pulp aside.
- In a large jug, stir in sugar to sweeten. Adjust sweetness if necessary.
- Store in bottles and refrigerate. (The mixture is best when left to refrigerate overnight so the flavours can further develop).
Sorrel Jam – What you’ll need:
- pulp from 2 lbs sorrel (No need for additional spices as the pulp would have retained the pimento seeds, cardamom, ginger, cloves, and the flavour from the cinnamon sticks. However, I’d suggest removing most of the ginger as it tends to make the end product a little fibrous.)
- juice of one lime
- 4 cups brown sugar
- 1 cup water
- 4 oz Appleton rum (or your favourite rum) – optional
- In a blender, purée sorrel pulp until a smooth consistency is achieved. (You may need to add water accordingly)
- Add puréed mixture to a large pot over high heat and stir in water, sugar, rum, and lime juice.
- Allow mixture to come to a boil then reduce heat and let simmer for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally to avoid burning.
- Adjust sweetness as desired.
- After mixture is reduced to jam-like consistency, remove from heat and allow to cool.
- Pour in sterilized glass jars and store in refrigerator.
You can enjoy your jam with crackers, on bread, with peanut butter, or one of my faves; with cream cheese spread on warm bagel. You’ll never buy another jar of jam again.