Every Thanksgiving we look forward to cranberry sauce made with roselle hibiscus in place of cranberries. With fresh pineapple and ginger, it's our tropical island version of a classic holiday side dish.
It's amazing how the tart, ruby-red buds of hibiscus sabdariffa, known as Florida cranberry, take the place of traditional Wisconsin fruit!
Slice the star-shaped tops off roselle buds and the seed pods come right out. It's faster than peeling the red sepals off individually.
Everyone knows homemade cranberry sauce is the only kind worth eating. But did you know roselle hibiscus makes some of the best "cranberry" sauce ever?
I get it if you have never enjoyed this traditional Thanksgiving and Christmas side dish. Those canned sauces deserve to be left aside.
However, tart, sweet Florida cranberry sauce made with roselle, fresh orange, pineapple, and ginger is in a completely different league. It's irresistible.
What is roselle?
Roselle is known by many names. Flor de Jamaica, Indian sorrel, zobo, and karcadeh are just a few. The best name to know if you want the right variety for cooking and eating is roselle's Latin name, hibiscus sabdariffa.
Hibiscus sabdariffa is loved for its beautiful flowers and the ruby-red buds that make jam, pies, and festive beverages like bissap, the national drink of Senegal.
Even though the striking, red buds with their petal-like leaves look like fruit, they are properly called calyces. Surprisingly, the hard green seed pods inside the red calyces are the actual fruit of Indian sorrel.
Roselle is the key ingredient in our orange cranberry sauce substitute. If you have it growing nearby, or in local farmer markets before the winter holidays, you owe it to yourself to give it a try.
The remaining ingredients reflect our local and seasonal produce here on Maui but are widely available. The pineapple and ginger make it so good!
- Roselle hibiscus - Intensely tart roselle has pectin that naturally thickens sauces.
- Pineapple - Low-acid pineapples are the best.
- Orange juice - Fresh squeezed is essential.
- Orange zest - Chop the orange zest after you scrape it from an orange.
- Cinnamon - Vietnamese cinnamon if you have it.
- Fresh ginger - Peel and finely chop ginger root.
- Organic raw sugar - Certified organic, (without bone char) makes it vegan.
Make Florida cranberry sauce
Start by slicing the star-shaped tops off fresh roselle calyces. Then the green seed pods come right out. You can toss them into compost or save any brown seeds to grow a new plant.
Once your roselle is deseeded, this is an easy cranberry sauce recipe that only takes one pot and 20 minutes of cook time.
- Finely chop roselle and pineapple.
- Mince peeled ginger and orange zest.
- Squeeze fresh orange juice.
- Place roselle, pineapple, orange zest, ginger, cinnamon, raw sugar and orange juice in a saucepan.
- Stir to mix. Bring to a boil and reduce heat.
- Cook over low heat for twenty minutes or until roselle and pineapple are uniformly red and softened into a thick sauce.
More Thanksgiving recipes
Florida Cranberry Sauce With Roselle
- 4 cups finely chopped, seeded roselle
- 1 ½ cups finely chopped pineapple
- ½ cup fresh squeezed orange juice
- 1 cup organic raw sugar
- ¼ tsp. orange zest
- ½ tsp. peeled minced ginger root
- ½ tsp. cinnamon powder
- Wash and drain fresh roselle. Slice the star-shaped caps off the red calyces and pop out the round seeds. Toss the seeds for compost.
- Finely chop deseeded roselle and pineapple. Mince peeled ginger and orange zest.
Squeeze orange juice
- Squeeze and measure out ½ cup fresh orange juice.
- Place roselle, pineapple, orange zest, ginger, cinnamon, raw sugar, and orange juice in a saucepan. Stir to mix. Bring to a boil and reduce heat.
- Loosely cover saucepan and cook over low heat for twenty minutes or until roselle and pineapple are uniformly red and softened into a thick sauce.
- Fresh Florida Cranberry Sauce keeps one week refrigerated and three months frozen.