Wednesday, October 22, 2008

How on earth does one harvest Florida Cranberry (aka Jamaican Sorrel)?

I did some investigating after getting lots of contradicting info. So here is what I found out. In this pic is what I call the first stage of the plant (while on its way to be harvest-ready). It is simply the bud prior to flowering.


I sent an email to Onalee (which is where I got the seeds from) to be sure I was harvesting the sorrel at the right time. She sent me a super quick email with this info:

Q: When are they ready to harvest?

A: They are ready when they are about an inch across (about the size of a quarter around the diameter of the base of the calyx). You want them to get as large as possible, but not so old as to become bitter.

Q: Do I cook them with the outer reddish part included or do I just take the greenish ball that is inside?
A: The red part is where the flavor is – I remove the inner green ball (Which has the seeds). On the Internet it says to cook the whole thing, but I removed the seeds, they seemed to give it a more bitter flavor.

Q: Do you have any suggestions as to how to best use them? One of my neighbors is from Jamaica and he said he uses them for a drink with ginger, but he was adamant I should wait for at least another month before picking them...

A: The longer you wait, the more bitter they are; I would not wait another month – no way. Usually, it’s a couple of weeks from bloom until they are ready to pick for cooking. Of course, they are ready in stages, as they bloom up the stems, some will be ready at different times. Just experiment and see how you like them best.

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