Updated: Dec 17, 2020
By Amber Charles, MSPH, RDN
December 17, 2020
Yuh' want some sorrel awa'? - Eh!
Nothing rings in the Christmas season in Trinidad & Tobago more than sorrel - red and black - being sold at the (farmer's) markets and along the roadway. The best part is when it's on my stovetop!
Boiling sorrel with spices such as cloves, ginger, nutmeg and bayleaf from the tree in our yard brings a smile to my face and a sweet aroma to the house.
If you've ever eaten the fresh, raw sorrel then you'd be familiar with its complex blend of tart and sweet that sends your taste buds into overdrive!
Let's learn some more about this all-time favorite fruit.
Native to tropical Africa, Hibiscus sabdariffa, the red sorrel is a relative of the hibiscus and okra/ochro (1,3). Many parts of the plant (seeds, leaves, fruits, and roots) are used in traditional medicine or in foods (1,3).
The fleshy, bright red cup-like structure that contains the plant's seeds is called a calyx and this is the part of the plant that we're likely most familiar with (1).
Carib Brewery produces a Shandy Sorrel in which roselle tea is combined with beer in Trinidad and Tobago and it is available year-round (3).
Its seeds, which are high in protein, can be roasted and brewed like coffee, or ground and added to soups and salads (1).
Need a recipe? - Check this out!
If the calyces are used, it's also a source of dietary fiber.
Ensure that the surroundings are clean, well-lit, and well-ventilated
At the grocery store, observe the shelves for cleanliness, read the package label for the "best buy" date and ensure that the package has not been tampered with or opened
The sorrel should be clean, free of excess dirt, bruises, bites, or pests
Sorrel can last for up to one week after picking (1)
Alternatively, fresh, or dried sorrel can be packaged into a freezer bag and frozen for a longer period