You know how I am. Hm, maybe you don’t know but I’ll tell you. I don’t like wasting things. I try to reuse and recycle and of course take advantage of all the limited resources I have in hand. And that includes my garden. And that includes my roses.
Two years back mom gave me this fabulous rose plant: dark red, velvety, with roses the size of a small plate. They have the most wonderful and standard rose aroma. This year the plant has grown a lot and produces an abundance of roses. And it would be a real shame to let them just bloom and then die. I mean they’re all fresh and beautiful for the first two days but once they are ready to throw their petals they must be cut so that the next bud will grow, right? It meant I had to cut flowers every days. So I thought that there must be ways that I could use them. Well, I’m not very much into dried flowers crafts but I’m into cooking.
First I got the idea of adding roses to the strawberry jam I was about to make. A quick search on the internet showed I was not the only one who have thought of it (of course not). So I used my basic strawberry jam recipe from Blue Ribbon Preserves by Linda J. Amendt and added 3 large roses.
I can only show you the result, but it’s only half the joy. The other half is smelling it and tasting it. Spell delicious for me, will you?
The roses were keep coming each day so the next thing I thought was “Rose Flavored Sugar”. This time I couldn’t find a recipe I liked on the web, so I just put two pounds of organic raw cane sugar in a large jar and added petals from two roses inside. Now I shake my jar a couple of times everyday, while I’m dancing cha-cha. I’m waiting for the roses to leave all their aroma in the sugar filled jar. Maybe a month or so.
Then I needed another project that I could keep open ended, while more roses are coming. Rose Liqueur! I browsed some recipes and I found out that I’ll need approximately a dozen of roses for a quart of spirit. Took another large clean jar, added the spirit (100-proof vodka) and two roses (the petals). Two days later I opened it and added the next two roses. I will keep doing so, until I throw enough roses inside or until my plant stops producing them. Meanwhile I keep my jar in a dark and cool place and shake it each time I add a rose.
See how the old roses on the bottom layer have lost their color to the spirit? Amazing huh? It happens in a few hours. And the aroma of this liqueur is very promising….
I plan to leave it there for a month (or two) then make a simple sugar syrup and add it, while tasting to reach the right sweetness level
Basic Tips if you want to try cooking with roses yourself:
a) use only roses that are unsprayed and not treated with pesticides. These chemicals are very dangerous to your health. And our planet. Why use them in the first place . Don’t use standard commercial roses. They are full of chemicals. You can use organically grown certified roses. Ask the vendor first.
b) cut off the lower white part of the petals. It’s supposed to be bitter and gives a bad aftertaste. At least that’s what I’ve read. And I don’t want to find it out.
c) make sure your roses are clean and without bugs. wash them if necessary and leave them to dry completely before using.
d) pick up varieties with a strong aroma. and pick them early in the morning. their aroma is much stronger!
Don’t forget to have fun. And if you think of another way to use roses in the kitchen, let me know!