Trini Sorrel Recipes: Drink, Jam & More

If it’s Christmas time, it is the season for sorrel (or roselle) in the Caribbean. Fresh sorrel can be found in every market and fruit stall. With so much abundance, why not try a couple of these sorrel recipes?

For more things festive, check out this roundup of Trini Christmas food and music.

washed sorrel sepals in stainless steel bowl

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Trinidad sorrel recipe

Trini sorrel drink is by far the most popular use for this Christmas favorite. It is made by brewing fresh or dried sorrel in boiling water and spices for 30 minutes or so and leaving to steep overnight. The next day, the mixture is strained, sweetened and diluted to your liking.

The spices used while brewing are often some combination of cinnamon, bay leaves, nutmeg, clove, ginger, orange peel and star anise. My favorite combination includes cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and star anise – it gives the drink a delightful licorice-like taste that’s so good.

Here’s my recipe for a delicious sorrel drink.

sorrel drink featured image - 2 glasses of sorrel drink with ice and a jug of sorrel with a small christmas tree leaf

The sorrel sepals leftover from straining can be used to make jam, cake, kuchela, and more.

You can find dried sorrel on Amazon here.

Sorrel jam

Sorrel jam is made with those leftover strained sepals. The spices like cinnamon, bay leaves, star anise and orange peel are removed before making the jam. Once that is done, the strained bits are blended until smooth. If you need a little liquid while blending, use some of your freshly made sorrel drink.

Add equal parts of the blended sorrel and sugar to a saucepan and simmer on low heat for about 20 minutes or so until the mixture thickens. You can also add a piece of orange peel for the pectin.

After the time, taste test and adjust the sugar. Add a pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg for additional flavor if you like.

Your sorrel jam is done. Once it is cool, store in a glass container in the fridge. It will last for a week or so in there.

Check out this Trini Youtube video:

Sorrel jelly

I use freshly made sorrel drink and agar agar powder to make the jelly. Add about 2 teaspoons of the powder and two cups of boiling water to a small pot on low heat. Stir until the powder completely dissolves. This is important – the powder must be fully dissolved. It can take about 15 minutes to do so.

Next, stir in one cup of the sorrel drink and enough sugar to your liking. The jelly will start thickening at this point. Remove from the heat and pour into molds.

You can also add some booze to the mixture and pour into shot glasses for boozy, sorrel jelly shots.

You can find agar agar in your local supermarket or on Amazon.

Sorrel cake

The leftover strained sorrel sepals can be blended and added to any cake batter, especially fruit cake.

You can make the fruit cake as you normally would with rum soaked fruits, browning, spices and all the typical cake ingredients. You can find my recipe for Trini fruit cake here.

After everything is mixed, add the blended sorrel and combine thoroughly. Bake as you normally would and baste the cake with alcohol once it is cooked and cooled.

Check out Taste of Trini’s sorrel fruit cake recipe here:

Sorrel glaze

Sorrel glaze can be made with your freshly made sorrel drink. Simply cook down the drink with more sugar, citrus juice, and zest until it has thickened. For savory glazes, you can also add seasonings like thyme and garlic.

If you are interested in a sorrel glazed smoked chicken recipe, check out this one from

Sorrel kuchela

Speaking of savory food, try sorrel kuchela. It is made with the leftover sorrel bits. Dry the strained bits properly (either leave it overnight to dry out or place in the sun for a couple of hours). Then, add the usual kuchela ingredients like mustard oil, hot pepper, garlic, amchar masala and geera (cumin).

Natasha explains how to make this recipe in her video.

Sorrel flavored ponche de creme

Ponche de creme is a favorite Trini Christmas drink. It is delicious on its own, but you can add some of the sorrel drink to your homemade ponche de creme for a unique drink.

Tracy’s Cookin’ Youtube video shows one way to make this drink.

Sorrel ice cream

Sorrel ice cream can be made with the sorrel drink. The drink is cooked down a bit to create a thick sorrel syrup. Then, whisk cold heavy cream until it becomes light and fluffy with soft peaks (go slowly so you don’t over whisk to form stiff peaks). Next, add the sorrel syrup and a sweetener like sugar or condensed milk. Mix carefully and pour into a mold and place in your freezer to set for a couple of hours.

This Youtube video explains how to make the ice cream from scratch.

What else do you make with roselle? Let me know in the comments below.

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