Zobo (Sorrel) Popsicles

Summer finally arrived (in the UK that is), and it's scorching!!!

In this hot weather, the body craves something cold and refreshing. I remember back in my primary school days, there was Fan-Ice, a popular ice-lolly (popsicle) sold on the streets of Lagos, to school children, to quench their thirst and cool them down from the hot summer sum.

Like most other children, I really enjoyed eating these lollies and sticking out my tongue to my friends to show them how it has "changed colour" after the artificial colours used to make them. It was all really very exciting!

As I grew up, I came to the realisation the popsicles were (still are) nothing but sugar, water and artificial flavourings...and as one knows, this is not the best for a number of health reasons. As such, I am always on the look out for ways to make delicious and refreshing pops or drinks using natural ingredients and sweeteners as much as possible. Enter Zobo.....

Zobo (also called zoborodo or ishapa pupa) is a popular tea/drink in Nigeria, most of west Africa and the Caribbean where it is known as Sorrel. This drink is likened to a tonic because it offers quite a load full of nutritional benefits. (Read more about Sorrel/Zobo here).

Zobo can already be drunk as a healthy tonic drink, as a tea, why not have zobo popsicles!!! your kids will love it.

  • Zobo/roselle/sorrel petals (they often come dried but in some rare cases you can get them fresh and as you might expect the fresh ones are best in terms of their vitamin and mineral content). 
  • Fresh ginger (you can also use ground ginger) 
  • Cinnamon 
  • Molasses, brown sugar or palm sugar (these are better than using granulated white sugar). I have also used pineapple juice as a sweetener successfully so you may wish to reduce the sugar you add and add pineapple juice instead.
  • Gelatin sheet (Dr Onken brand) 

What to do:
  1. Check the sorrel petals to ensure there are no debris or rotten ones. Remove all foreign bodies, chaff,  debris, etc.
  2. Measure the petals into both of your palms and transfer into a small deep base pot. Give the petals a quick wash under running tap water. 
  3. Then add one litre of water and transfer onto a stove. Boil under low to moderate heat. Add one teaspoon of cinnamon and about 10g of freshly crushed ginger, (you may wish to add more or less depending on your preference. The ginger gives the popsicles a slight fiery kick!). 
  4. Continue to boil for about 10 minutes and then remove from the stove; (ensure you boil at low temperature so that all the water does not evaporate. If this happens, just add some hot water). 
  5. Then set aside for a few hours. This helps the zobo to brew and the different flavours to infuse. The longer you leave this process to happen the more the tastes and flavours develop. The resultant liquid also becomes more tart/sharp. 
  6. Now soak the gelatin sheets in some cold water first (for about 2 minutes). 
  7. After some hours of setting aside, remove the zobo petals from the liquid/drink in the pot, strain the liquid using a clean tea towel to remove all traces of the petals and other sediments. 
  8. Pour the strained liquid into a clean pot and return to the stove under very low heat. Allow the drink to warm up a little to enable the sugar and gelatin to dissolve completely. 
  9. Add the soaked sheets of gelatin and as much sugar as you can tolerate...... Stir well to ensure sugar and gelatin dissolve completely. 
  10. Allow to cool and fill into popsicle/ice-lolly cups. 
  11. Place filled cups in the freezer. Freeze overnight. Done!


Zobo popsicles (ice-lollies)

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