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Jamaican Sorrel

12/08/05

Permalink 09:54:58 pm, by Melba
Categories: Culture

Jamaican Sorrel

Jamaican Sorrel

Christmas in Jamaica is simply not Christmas without sorrel drink. Once the season begins most homes will have a jug of the rich red liquid cooling in the refrigerator, always ready to offer any one who walks through their doors.
The sorrel drink is made from the red calyces of the flower of the sorrel plant Hibiscus Sabdariffa. A native to tropical Asia the Hibiscus Sabdariffa, is now widely cultivated in tropical and subtropical regions around the world. It is also known as roselle, Jamaican sorrel, Indian sorrel, Queensland jelly plant, sour-sour, lemon-bush, and Florida cranberry.

Follow up:

A member of the Malvaceae, or mallow family, the plant is an herbaceous annual (an herb like plant that lives for one year or one season). Sometimes the plant is categorized as a biennial or tender perennial since, in warmer climates; it can live for more than a year. It’s a prickly shrub that grows between three and eight feet in height, with narrow leaves and reddish green stems. The main edible part is the fleshy sepal, called a calyx, surrounding the seed in the flower. Bright red in colour the calyx ranges from ½ to 1½ inch in diameter. The red, tart petals can be used in jams, chutneys, wine, juice, soups, pickles and sauces. Powdered dried red sorrel is also used to make herbal tea.
Apart from the calyces, the fruit, flowers, and leaves of the red sorrel plant are also edible. The leaves have a rhubarblike taste and are served in salads and curries. In some countries the seeds are roasted or ground to make flour for baking. In the Sudan, the seeds are fermented into a meat substitute called "furundu."
Red sorrel has a lot of nutritional value. The calyces are high in calcium, niacin, riboflavin, and iron. It is also believed to have medicinal values. In 1998 Dr. Juliet Penrod, a lecturer and cancer researcher at Northern Caribbean University (NCU) in Mandeville, Jamaica initiated a study on the sorrel plant. A report in March, 2002 indicated that based on the research sorrel could be used in treating and perhaps even as a cure for certain types of cancer. Sorrel is also believed to have certain therapeutic properties. Some of the reported benefits of using it in the form of a herbal tea are it soothes colds, opens blocked nose, clears up mucous, promotes proper kidney function, diuretic, helps digestion, helps reduce fever and can be used as a general tonic.

The traditional way of preparing sorrel in Jamaica

Place the sorrel and some ginger in a large container and pour on boiling water. Some persons like to add orange peel, cinnamon stick and whole cloves as well, its up to you. Cover and leave overnight, then strain. Add a little white rum to preserve and sugar to sweeten. Bottle and refrigerate.

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Three Ministers

Three ministers - a Presbyterian, a Methodist, and a Southern Baptist and their wives were all on a cruise together. A tidal wave came up and swamped the ship, and they all drowned. The next thing you know, they're standing before St.Peter.

As fate would have it, the first in line was the Presbyterian and his wife. St. Peter shook his head sadly and said, "I can't let you in. You were moral and upright, but you loved money too much. You loved it so much, you even married a woman named Penny."

St.Peter waved sadly, and poof! Down the chute to the 'Other Place' they went. Then came the Methodist. "Sorry, can't let you in either," said Saint Peter "You abstained from liquor and dancing and cards, but you loved food too much.

You loved food so much, you even married a woman named Candy!" Sadly, St. Peter waved again, and whang! Down the chute went the Methodists.

The Southern Baptist turned to his wife and whispered nervously, "It ain't looking good, Fanny."

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