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Rosella Festival and Jam Recipe

The Top End landscape is dotted with the bright red fruits of the rosella plant.

These tart fruits are plucked from the bushes and turned into a whole variety of different foods and condiments for the annual Rosella Festival in Adelaide River.

There are plenty of locals who grow their own paddocks of bushes to make their special recipes of jams, chutneys, roll-ups and cordials.

Festival organiser Annette Woodbridge says thousands of people head to Adelaide River for the festival every year because of their love of the unique fruit, which often comes with a lot of memories.

“The Rosella Festival is all about  your handmade jams and chutney – anything made with rosellas,” she says.

“It’s something different you can’t buy in the shops and there’s definitely a nostalgia factor for a lot of people.

“I can remember my Aunty Joy making rosella jam for us kids back when I was a child.”

The festivities begin with a poets’ breakfast where local wordsmiths will share their work, markets throughout the day, plus jumping castles to keep the kids entertained.


1 kg rosellas
1 kg sugar
Juice of 1 lemon

Place the whole fruit (with seeds and pods) into a saucepan and just cover with water. Bring to the boil and gently simmer to bring all the goodness, colour and pectin from the fruit.

Strain the mixture and add sugar and lemon juice. Return to the saucepan and stir over a gentle heat until the sugar is completely dissolved, then bring to the boil.

As the jam reaches setting point it is likely to stick and burn, so pay close attention and stir often. Test for setting by putting a saucer in the freezer to chill, then put a teaspoonful of jam on the saucer.

Wait for it to cool slightly and push the top of it with your finger.  If it crinkles it is cooked.

Bottle the jam into clean, hot jars and seal immediately.


See the event listing.

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