Lately I've been experimenting with odd plants that have a variety of uses. I would like to let you know how these work out for me. I am able to grow much that the rest of the you may not be able to grow simply because I live so far south. This plant has been grown as far north as New Jersey (of course with the benefit of being started early under glass).
This is the first year I have grown Roselle. I grew the the "Thai Red Roselle" variety that is offered by Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. The calyxes aren't as large as the ones I have seen in photos grown in Asian countries. I believe that is due to the fact that the variety offered was chosen to be less sensitive to day length more than for it's size. Most varieties do best in the short days of the tropics.
Roselle calyxes are used to make a healthful tea. The tea is believed to lower cholesterol, help treat heart disease, it is a diuretic and is loaded with antioxidants Roselle leaves and tender stems can be eaten in salads. It also is loaded with pectin and a jam can be made from it. I wonder if the pectin would be useful added to other fruits when canning?
I have already dried enough calyxes and plan to brew some tea soon. I'll certainly let you know my opinion on this. The plant did beautifully for me this year. It's growth was so lush that it spilled into the paths and blocked passage.
This is a link on Growing Roselle from Mother Earth News.
Here are few calyxes I've picked