When I moved into my house a couple of years ago, I inherited a beautiful rosebush from the previous owner. She said that it had belonged to her grandmother, and had not only survived being transplanted, but had thrived in the new garden with very little care.
The blossoms are petite and pale pink, with a light floral scent. In the last week, the entire rose bush has bursted with blooms. Because it is producing such an abundance of flowers, I thought it would be fun to make something out of them. The scent of the petals is subtle, so I thought they wouldn’t be suitable for making floral water.
I remembered a recipe for rose petal jelly that I had found in Euell Gibbons’ book, “Stalking the Healthful Herb.” It is a version that is uncooked, and therefore preserves the large amounts of Vitamin C contained in the rose petals.
Here’s how to make uncooked rose petal jelly. This recipe makes about a quart of jelly. (NOTE: Only use petals from a rose bush that has not been treated with chemicals of any kind):
Pick 1 cup of petals. Rinse thoroughly to remove any debris.
Place the rinsed petals in a blender along with 1 cup of water, and the strained juice of 1 lemon. Blend until the petals are completely liquified. The petals will collect along the top of the blender at first, so you will need to stop the blender and scrape the sides with a rubber spatula from time to time.
Once the petals are thoroughly pureed, reduce the blender speed and slowly add 3 cups of sugar. I found that my blender tended to splash a bit, even at the lowest speed.
In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup of fruit pectin (found in most grocery stores) with 1 cup of water. Heat to boiling. Boil, while stirring, for 1 minute, then pour slowly into the rose petal mixture while blending on the lowest speed for about 3 minutes. You will hear the sound change suddenly as it thickens up. Pour immediately into a sterilized jar. Keep refrigerated. If you don’t plan to use it within a few days, put it in a sterilized freezer-safe container and freeze for up to a year.
Since the jelly is not cooked, it comes out opaque. And, because I used unbleached cane sugar, my jelly came out a pinkish cream-color, rather than pure pink. It looks pretty and it tastes great. I used it as a glaze on a roasted chicken, and it was delicious!
Red roses would make a more dramatic looking jelly. Also, if you want to enhance the rose flavor, you can add a couple of tablespoons of rose water during the petal-blending stage.