I went on a road trip with a friend of mine one day, to his family’s farm way up in the hills of Trelawny. I really didn’t know what kind of farm it was until we arrived. Turns out they farmed every kind of produce imaginable, but one in particular stood out for me because I’d never seen it before, only heard about it. Red Sorrel. The photo below shows the fruit from the Sorrel.
Red Sorrel fruit in a pan
All I knew about Sorrel is that it’s a special drink enjoyed during the Christmas season in Jamaica. I had no idea what it was made of or how it was made. This is the first thing I saw when we arrived at the farm. There was a big tarp laid out on the ground with hundreds of seed pods laying out to dry. This is how they get the seeds to grow more Sorrel….they remove the fruit, dry the pods and take the seeds for planting during the next Sorrel season.
Sorrel pods drying in the sun
So they explained to me that the vibrant red fruit part is boiled for a long time into a nice red liquid that tastes slightly tart. Once it’s boiled and cooled you’re supposed to pour it into bottles about 3/4 full, add sugar and a lot of white Jamaican rum, and drink up! I was given 2 full-size bottles this day to take home with me. The only problem was packing them so I opted to leave the bottles in my apartment in Jamaica and enjoy them next time I go down. My friend and I already have plans to add LOTS of rum to them and enjoy!
Red Sorrel in a bottle
Just looking at this next photo, it’s no wonder it’s known as a Christmas drink….how festive does that look!
Red Sorrel drink
For those of you who are interested I did some googling on Sorrel. I found out it’s an annual plant which produces red flowers for one day. Then the petals drop off leaving behind the seed pods which is also referred to as the “fruit” of the plant. The fruit needs to be harvested about 3 weeks after it flowered, while the fruit is still crisp, tender plump and juicy. The leaves from the Sorrel plant are also edible and can be enjoyed in salads as a herb. The sorrel plant is also used in many varieties of herbal teas.