Every Thanksgiving, we look forward to Florida 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!
🏆 Top tip
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 tropical 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 the ginger root.
- Organic raw sugar - Certified organic, (without bone char) makes it vegan.
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.
👩🏻🍳 Expert tips
- Chop both roselle and pineapple finely into ⅛-inch dice.
- Mince ginger after removing the skin.
- Zest orange peel and mince small like ginger.
- Cook Florida cranberry sauce over low heat. It can bubble gently but don't boil it vigorously.
There are many types of hibiscus, and roselle belongs to the hibiscus sabdariffa family. Hibiscus sabdariffa is popular around the world and goes by a number of different names depending on the region. Some common names are roselle, rosella, Florida cranberry, Flor de Jamaica, Jamaican sorrel, Indian sorrel, red sorrel, and sour-sour.
Yes. Florida cranberry sauce freezes beautifully and keeps well for 6 months in a covered container. This makes it handy to prepare Florida cranberry sauce before Thanksgiving and keep a separate batch in the freezer until Christmas time.
🥧 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. minced 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 into 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 the saucepan and cook over low heat for twenty minutes or until roselle and pineapple are uniformly red and softened into a thick sauce.
- This fresh cranberry sauce keeps one week refrigerated and three months frozen. Place it in a container and cover it securely before freezing.