Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Thai Roselle and The Garden

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
It's really a beautiful plant with lovely red stems.  The flowers look very much like okra flowers.  No surprise there since they are both from the hibiscus family.  It easily could be used as an ornamental in a front yard garden.  The HOA would never know you were "gasp" growing something useful!
Pretty!  You can order the seeds here Bakers Creek.
Here's the front garden.  I pruned back my lorapetalum bushes and killed them.  Oh well they kept getting too big anyway.  I'll have to look for a smaller variety of purple bush for that area.  I like the cloud of purple to provide a back drop for white or lighter colored flowers.
My windmill palm is getting tall and lovely.  It's hairy trunk is so cool.  I love textures and colors on barks and stems.  My Natchez crepe myrtle has a beautiful silky red under color when the bark peels, and the river birch looks gorgeous when the bark starts peeling.  I'll take pics and show you.
My rose vine is reaching the top of the pergola and is full of tiny buds!  Time for a late flush of blooms!  The lemon grass did wonderfully too.  When the swing brushes it you get a whiff of lemon!
Still picking green beans.....
...and now beets!  I fixed these for my girls their favorite way.  Boiled, peeled, sliced and sprinkled with sea salt, cracked pepper and balsamic vinegar.  They were consumed in less than a minute!
My girls lunches ready to go.  I made veggie sushi today.  Toasted sesame seeds, sushi rice, carrots, cucumber and cream cheese with a little bottle of soy sauce.  My sushi rolls...well taste great, but look not so well.  I'll keep working on it!

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