"A Rose by any other name would smell as sweet..."
Potpourri? Rose Tea? Candied Petals or Jam? So very delicious and all so easy to make!
“every sweet smelling herb, such as rue, sage, basil and likewise all sorts of flowers, as the violet, columbine, lily, rose, iris and the like...there may be great diversity of medicinal and scented herbs, not only to delight the sense of smell by their perfume, but to refresh the sight with the variety of their flowers, and to cause admiration at their many forms in those who look at them.” Albertus Magnus
From “On Beauty and Fragrance”- The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Magical Friends! Thank you for being patient with me during this brief hiatus! Where I’ve been is another story waiting to be told, but I’m glad to be back and writing again! I missed you all!
I don’t keep my passion for roses a secret, I love them so much and have since I was just a small child. My father loved them too, and perhaps that’s where my love came from watching him tend to them so lovingly. It’s been such a glorious year for them in my gardens , and they still have not finished blooming. When it comes to roses, everyone seems to have their favorites when it comes to varieties, but I think that we can all agree that regardless of which is your favorite, that they are all simply beautiful.
This year I’ve been so very blessed as every one of the fragrant old roses in my garden have produced astonishing blooms, even the new ones that I planted this year. These roses are absolutely timeless, many of them like my favorite Apothecary’s Rose have been used for their medicinal properties since medieval ages.
Happily, there doesn’t seem to be any end in sight. I generally harvest their petals, dry them and save them to make plenty of syrups, jams, infused honey, teas and potpourri to last me through the winter.
Personally, I prefer the older varieties with their blowsy, generous ways and the older roses do have the most glorious fragrances. For my purposes they cover all the bases from teas and jams to potpourris as well as the foundation for lovely skincare products, but did you know that they can also become candy?
Once you’ve crystallized the petals of a sweet vintage rose or any other edible flower and sprinkled them on top of a tea cake, wedding cake or simply a bowl of vanilla ice cream you will never be the same. Candied flower petals of any sort are absolutely enchanting, I first discovered them so many years ago when my sister would bring them back to me from her trips to Paris and I loved them, especially the roses, mint leaves, lavender and the violets!
This is a really easy project if you’ve never tried it and children love to do this and because of their tiny hands they can be quite good at it. You can also do this with lilacs, nasturtiums, violas and pansies. Almost nothing is more enchanting to a young child than being able to eat sugar crystallized flowers!
To make sugared rose petals, all you’ll need is a pair of tweezers, one egg white mixed with a tablespoon of water, a teensy paint brush, a couple dozen rose petals and a cup of superfine sugar.
Pick up each petal with the tweezers and paint one side of it with the egg wash. Sprinkle it with the superfine sugar and lay it on a waxed paper or parchment lined baking sheet. A silpat will work just as well too. When all of the petals are sugared, let them rest overnight and then store then in a flat , airtight container at room temperature for up to two months, although they’ll never last that long because they are so delicious!
When it comes to the rose petal jam that I usually make for our Western Reserve Herb Society Herb Fair, I use dried petals and raspberries and I boil them in a blend of water, sugar and lemon juice. For whatever reason, the lemon juice brings the color of the rose petals back to their original hue as well as adding the right amount of acidity to preserve the jam safely.
Last year though, I discovered a wonderful and really easy way to make a truly delicious, fresh rose petal jam via the West Virginia Herb Association. I love this recipe, but please note, as easy as this recipe is, it’s a jam for home use only, as it’s not a boiled jam and it’s not water bath canned, rendering it unsafe as a jam to sell. However, if you want a rose petal jam that is fresh, absolutely delicious and without much fuss, this recipe is easy and fun to make. It will keep for a couple of weeks in the refrigerator ( If it lasts that long!) or you can easily freeze it. Either way, it’s wonderful flavor can be enjoyed in any of the same ways that you’d use a traditional jam.
Personally? I’m partial to a good old fashioned English Cream Tea…scones with jam, fresh berries, clotted cream and a pot of steaming Earl Grey with a bit of honey. This jam is also absolutely delicious used to top a block of cream cheese to serve with crackers as an addition to a summer brunch board .
This recipe makes a couple of half pint jars of jam, but you can increase it as you wish and you’ll definitely want to…It’s simply perfect.
“Spartan Rose Jam”- West Virginia Herb Association
You will need:
1 heaping cup of fragrant, organic fresh rose petals
3/4s of a cup of water
The juice of one lemon
2 and 1/2 cups of sugar
1 package of pectin
3/4s of a cup of water
Process the rose petals with 3/4s of a cup of water and the lemon juice. Blend them until smooth in a high speed blender, gradually adding the sugar with the blender running until it is dissolved.
Bring 3/4s of a cup of water and the pectin to a boil, boiling hard for one minute stirring constantly. Pour the pectin mixture into the rose mixture, blending in low until it is well mixed. Pour it into sterilized jars and refrigerate or if you want to save it longer than a couple of weeks, freeze it. It will be every bit as delicious when it’s thawed.
“Don't raise your girls to be porcelain roses protected behind a cabinet's glass sliding doors. Raise your girls to be wild roses growing on mountaintops, exposed to the sunlight and to bees. I give you this guarantee: that life requires the latter and the prior is a myth.”
― C. JoyBell C.
Picture of Haddon Hall- photo credit unknown
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