When I started getting creative ideas with Zobo (sorrel, roselle, hibiscus), this was definitely in my head, waiting to be unleashed. After my success with working Zobo with alcohol and creating fun cocktails named Zobotini, Zobogarita and my signature Zobo Cocktail, a Dooney’s Kitchen original – Zobo CC2. I finished off with another Dooney’s Kitchen original, Zobo and Pineapple Ice Cream. I must have had so much fun with those babies, I totally forgot that I also made a mental note to make Zobo jam. Not until 2 weeks ago when I walked into the supermarket to pick up a few last minute things, as I was hosting the ladies from SYTYCC that weekend. By some chance, I strolled past the aisle where Jam was displayed and and I stopped so suddenly, if anyone was directly behind me, they would have bumped straight into me and it would have hurt like crazy. Lol
Zobo Jam, of course. I said I was going to make Zobo Jam, I hit my hand on my forehead and quickly raced back to the self check out. I am sure, I didn’t get everything on my list, but suddenly, I didn’t care. Now, I wasn’t sure if I would use a combination of the leaves and the juice, or the leaves alone, but thanks to Google, I got the answers that I needed. You would think, I would make zobo immediately, but I decided to wait until Friday to prepare it, to allow it steep for 24 hours and serve my guests the following day.
People, I forgot I was to prepare Zobo. I woke up at stupid o’clock to go to the bathroom and on my way back to my nice warm bed, I remembered Zobo. Some little devil somewhere must have been sniggering at me, because I am known as the sleep champion. I am a chronic insomniac, but when I do get to sleep, it is truly lights out. With my warm comfy bed staring at me, I was arguing with myself in my head. “Gosh, I need to make that zobo“ vs “Do you really need to go to the kitchen at this time of the day“. “But really, the leaves need to steep for a while to get that intense taste“ vs “Really Dunni, just go back to sleep, who will know or care that the leaves did not steep overnight“. “But I will know” vs “Come on girl, go back to sleep“. “Making Zobo shouldn’t take that long” vs “Come on, oooh, that bed is nice and warm, just a few more steps and you are back to it“.
The ping pong match going on in my head must have lasted for a few seconds, a minute at most, but it sure felt longer. In the warm bed vs kitchen battle, team kitchen won and I dragged myself to prepare Zobo. I used all my 7 ingredients (recipe for my Zobo drink HERE), but the goddess of sleep was going to get back at me somehow and she did in a mean way. I must have been sleep cooking because I added way too much dried chilli flakes. I found out by mid morning and I was pissed. I make my Zobo with a little kick from the heat of dried chilli flakes, but this was just too much. I couldn’t serve the Zobo to my guests, so I just kept it in the fridge, knowing fully well that the cold air will temper the heat after a few days. Using that analogy, I also placed the zobo leaves in the freezer for a week, after which I was ready to make Zobo Jam. This baby turned out sooooooooooo good, I am sticking one up to the sleep goddess. Hehehehehe. Here’s how.
You will need
Already steeped zobo leaves
1/2 – 3/4 cup of granulated sugar – depending on how much leaves you have
Brandy or Rum – optional
1. You will need the leaves you sieve out when making Zobo drink. If you have always been throwing them away, stop now. It is such a huge shame to waste them. They still have a lot of life in them.
Dooney’s Kitchen Tip: mind you, if you have the intention of making zobo jam, you can only run plain water once, through the leaves after the first extraction. If you run plain water over the leaves more than once, in a bid to extract more juice, you will be left with chaff as the leaves would have leeched out all the flavour and your jam won’t taste nice.
2. Take out whatever else you made the zobo drink with, because the leaves have absorbed all the flavour. In my case, I took out the cinnamon stick, the orange rind, clementine rind, lemon rind etc. If you don’t they will introduce bitterness into the jam which you don’t want. Dooney’s Kitchen Tip: remember, you only need the leaves. nothing more. I had forgotten to take out those two orange rind bits before I took the picture. Remember to take all non Zobo leaf elements out.
3. Blend the leaves till smooth and transfer to a pot. You can decide to make it slightly rough, but I chose to go with smooth.
3. Add the sugar, stir and turn the heat on
You can also choose to use brown sugar, for a healthier option
4. While the zobo puree is boiling, sterilise your glass jar(s). This step is essential to prevent food poisoning. It is very easy to sterilise glass jars. You can either put them in a pot filled with water deep enough to cover the jars and boil on medium heat for 10minutes. You could also boil water in a kettle, fill the jars and leave the water in, till it gets cold. Likewise, you can place the jars in the oven on medium heat for 10minutes.
5. Keep the Zobo boiling until it begins to reduce and get thicker and globby. Then you turn the heat down to medium to prevent it from burning.
6. Keep it reducing over medium heat, until it really starts to take on the consistency of Jam, but not quite there yet.
7. See what you should be aiming for
but you are not quite there yet. It should start to feel a little syrupy/slippery to touch like jam. You can make it a little more adult by adding a dash of Brandy. We all know Brandy and sugar are a beautiful match, think Cakes, think sweet desserts. The jam still has a little way to go to completion, so the alcohol will burn off, leaving just the flavour. In case you are worried about the alcohol. Don’t be.
8. Most, if not all jam recipes say just keep continue boiling, and the jam will set, but I got tired of waiting and wanted to rush the process up along, so I added a little extra sugar, about a 1/4 cup and a little water, just to make the jam slightly more fluid. Take note, just a little extra water, not to make it watery, just less thick. In a very short while, the jam will thicken again, and the extra sugar that has melted, now creates a rush of syrup which completes your jam making process.
You know it is ready, when bubbles of syrup begin to pop out on top, and you can see the rich syrup, easing out from the sides.
Once that happens, leave it to cool. Jar and seal. Place it upside down for hours, to properly seal the vacuum. It is also best that you also add a label to it, especially with the date you made it. You can use masking tape (white sellotape) to make a label. This jam can keep in a chilled fridge for months. I doubt it will last even weeks, because it tastes soooooooo good.
You could also seal, with these traditional cloth jam covers. Pretty cute and with a tied bow too.
The best thing about this jam is, it tastes better with each day, and I know this has to be partly due to the brandy. Every time I open the jar, I am always amazed at how lovely it is.
Zobo Jam and Crackers. Double Yum
Crimson coloured, delicious goodness
Recipes for the aforementioned Zobo Creations can be found here
All The Zobo Cocktails can be found HERE
Zobo and Pineapple Ice Cream – HERE