Sorrel jams, Sorrel chutney, Sorrel syrup, and Sorrel tea bags etc., are easily found in stores; but when you see red, fresh Jamaican Sorrel all around . . . you know Christmas is a coming. Jamaican Sorrel or Roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa) is also known as Guinea Sorrel, Florida Cranberry, and Red Sorrel. The plant blooms in late November and during December.Jamaican Sorrel is widely used to make Sorrel drink or Sorrel wine which we have every Christmas.
There are different ways of preparing Sorrel drink and this is how we make ours.
• Wash the Sorrel sepals (approx. 8 cups).
• Place the Sorrel with ½ cup chopped or grated ginger into a stainless steel container or into an aluminum pot.
• Pour approx. 12 cups boiled water over the ginger and Sorrel sepals, covering them.
• Add approx. three dozen dried Pimento berries (allspice), and one table spoon of rice grains to promote fermentation.
• Allow to stand for at least 24 hours. (The longer it stands, the better. Sorrel drink is richer and nicer after it begins to ferment).
• Strain and sweeten to taste.
• Add wine or rum (optional).
• Serve chilled.
Sorrel drink is one of our island’s favourites, and it is served at every Christmas event hosted all around Jamaica.The Jamaican Sorrel contains a wide range of vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin C, calcium, niacin, and riboflavin.
It also contains flavonoids – compounds that give the Jamaican Sorrel its deep red colour. These flavonoids act as powerful antioxidant, which scavenges the body of free radicals that can cause deadly diseases if they are not removed from the body. Flavonoids are also a useful deterrent against certain types of cancer, and they help enhance the body’s immune system. I understand that Sorrel tea should be drunken daily to decrease the risk of heart disease. Drinking Sorrel has been proven to prevent the clogging of arteries resulting from excessive levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood.
Sorrel has also been recognized for its diuretic properties and as an aid to weight loss (read source).