The Garden – Cooking with Roses

Love gardening and delicious food? Consider using roses in your cooking to spice up your classic dishes.

Though growing roses can be difficult to grow in Ireland because of the wet climate, those who succeed have not only a collection of beautiful flowers, they also have a unique ingredient that most people do not take advantage of. With flavors similar to strawberries or green apples, rose petals can be used in a variety of foods and drinks such as tea, syrup, sugar, butter, jam, and even cake. The flavors also generally pair well with saffron, honey, or coffee and are commonly used in middle eastern cuisine.

To cook with roses, it is important to know that no pesticides or chemicals can be used on them at all; cooking with roses that have been grown with chemicals can make you sick. The best time to harvest the rose is in mid-morning after the morning dampness has disappeared but before the heat of the day has begun. Be sure to cut away the stem and white tip at the base of each petal as they have a slightly bitter taste. Any kind of rose can be used but in general the more fragrant the rose the more flavorful it will be. Traditionally, Damask roses have been used for centuries to make rosewaters and oils. Below is a recipe for rose jam to get you started.  

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (packed) rose petals, trimmed and chopped
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 packet powdered pectin

Directions:

  1. Bring water to boil in a saucepan.
  2. Add sugar and rose petals and stir until the sugar is dissolved.
  3. Lower the heat and simmer the mixture for 20 minutes.
  4. Increase the heat to a full boil and add the powdered pectin.
  5. Let it boil for one minute.
  6. Turn off the burner and mix in the lemon juice. Skim off any foam that forms.
  7. Pour the liquid into sterilized canning jars and seal them tightly.
  8. Let cool before enjoying.

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