This blog is a bit of a sham - I am going to bring you lots of ideas for preserving with rose petals - but I have never actually done this myself. Why? Well I'll show you why
These are the only roses I have and I have never been able persuade my friends to let me use their blooms for preserving!
If you have a plentiful supply though it is well worth trying out some of these delicate delights. I am not going to be able to provide lots of lovely photographs for the same reason!
It has to be remembered that preserving encompasses more than just jam and chutney making. Anything that has a natural flavour or fragrance can have a myriad of uses and the rose is no exception. Here are a few tips and ideas.
Pick rose petals on a warm sunny day, preferably in the morning. Use them as soon as possible afterwards to maintain the flavour.
Petals from dark red cultivated roses have the strongest flavour - wild roses have a very delicate perfume which tends to get lost in cooking. Always ask permission if the roses aren't yours! Only use roses that haven't been sprayed with pesticides as washing won't fully remove the residue and it is best not to get the petals wet, if at all possible.
Always prepare the petals by removing the white 'heel' from the base with scissors or the flavour will be bitter.
Here are some easy recipes that you can try:-
Strongly scented flowers can be used to produce a range of flavoured sugars for making cakes and delicate puddings - roses are perfect.
You will need
250g/8oz caster sugar
6-12 tablespoons prepared rose petals
Process together until fine and then pour into a jar and seal. Store for one week, shaking occasionally, then sieve to remove any bigger pieces of petals. Pour back into the jar, label and then use for cakes or meringues.
If you make a light sponge cake in the Summer try sandwiching together with this fragrant
Cream 115g/40z butter until pale and fluffy, add 115g/40z sieved icing sugar. When well combined stir in 4 tablespoons of prepared petals, which should be chopped with scissors until quite small.
Ice the sponge with water icing and then decorate the top with Crystallised Roses - easy to prepare ahead and store for several months, if needed.
Dissolve 1 teaspoon gum arabic ( from cake decorating outlets or websites ) in 25ml/1.5 tablespoons vodka or gin. Push florist's wire into the base of each flower and paint the petals of the rose front and back with the mixture. Dip into caster sugar and shake off excess. Bend the wire over to form a hanger and drape over the lip of a heavy glass until dry and crisp. Store in an airtight container until needed. Individual petals can be preserved in this way to scatter over cupcakes or sorbets.
Another very useful addition to the store cupboard is Rose Petal Vinegar.
So pretty, this special vinegar adds the taste of Summer to any salad - scatter fresh petals for extra flavour.
500ml/1 pint dark red rose petals ( packed firmly into a jug)
500ml/1 pint distilled vinegar
50g/2oz caster sugar
Place the prepared petals into a large jar. Heat the vinegar with the sugar until dissolved. Leave to cool and then add to the petals when completely cold. Seal the jar and leave for 3-4 weeks to macerate. Strain through muslin and bottle into pretty, sterilsed bottles.
If you are planning a Summer wedding or party why not serve a fragrant Rose Petal Cordial or Rose Petal and Raspberry Punch?
To make the cordial take the prepared petals from 12 blooms and place in a large jar. Pour over 2 litres/4.5 pints water and add 3 slices lemon. Seal the jar and leave in a dark place to macerate for 48 hours, shaking the jar occasionally.
Remove the lemons and pour the contents of the jar into a preserving pan and add 250g/8oz caster sugar. Stir gently to dissolve the sugar as much as possible then bring quickly to the boil. Turn off the heat and strain the contents of the pan through muslin into a large jug.
Fill warm, sterilised bottles and seal. Refrigerate and serve chilled diluted with sparkling mineral water to taste.
Lots of lovely ideas there - perhaps one day I'll get to make some myself!
Here are some roses I can give you pictures of - my Vintage Rose range of Jarcessories, delicate and timeless, give your preserves that rose appeal.