You’ve never known true culinary perfection until you have tasted rose petal jelly. The flavors are intoxicating and exotic; beautifully light and sweet, with the heady fragrance of a bouquet of fresh-cut roses. Perfect for a romantic morning breakfast, smeared over a yeasty piece of buttered bread, or coupled with Devonshire cream; it’s enough to make me swoon! A treasured recipe, past to me from my mother; I’ve come to refer to as, the sweet taste of summer, captured in a jar!
I can remember watching my mother gather roses from the garden, intent on repurposing the delicate petals into the most delightful, edible treat. Something magical happened when the roses filled our house with their scent; an unspeakable calm came over me and my mind filled with fanciful daydreams of fairies. I love how smells evoke emotions long subdued by time, and wired so deeply into my brain, just one whiff and I’m back in my mother’s kitchen; a food memory that will last a lifetime.
Rose petal jelly, jam and syrup have been used in the culinary arts for decades, and although the recipes come from around the globe, they stay very similar.
- Venice, Italy, Monks from the San Lazzaro degli Armeni Monastery, bottle 5000 jars of rose petal jam each year to be sold in the Monastery store
- Persian cooks have crafted rose petal jam since the early 1600’s using the elegant Damascus rose
- Ukrainian cooks, preserve rose petal jam by smashing or processing the petals with sugar and lemon juice creating a paste that is traditionally used to fill donuts
- Served at High Tea, I’ve found English recipes dating back as early as the 1700’s.
It’s best to pick organic roses, and the most flavorful jelly comes from the most fragrant blooms. Choose roses that are at their height of bloom, and if possible, gather at night when the scent is most powerful; keep fresh in the refrigerator overnight, tucked away in a plastic zip bag.
- 4 cups pink or red edible roses
- 3 cups sugar
- 3 1/3 cups water
- 1/4 cup fresh or prepared lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon Rose Water (can be found in Eastern Indian markets)
- 2 packages liquid pectin
- All edible flowers must be free of pesticides. Do not eat flowers from florists, nurseries, or garden centers. In many cases they are treated with pesticides not labeled for food crops
- Clip and discard the bitter white base from petals
- Rinse in cold water to remove debris and small bugs, drain
- In a large bowl combine rose petals with 1/2 cup raw or organic sugar, using your hands, bruise petals, take care that all the petals are coated evenly, cover and refrigerate overnight
- In a large saucepan over medium heat, add remaining sugar, water and lemon juice; stirring until dissolved
- Stir in rose petals and cook at a low boil for 20 minutes or until candy thermometer reaches 110 degrees C. or 220 degrees F.
- Strain liquid through a fine sieve, pressing all the liquid from the petals (do not strain rose flesh of making jam unless the petals are discolored)
- Measure rose liquid, you should have 4 cups. Add enough water to equal 4 cups if necessary
- Return liquid to saucepan, bring back to a boil
- Cook until liquid reaches 110 degrees C. or 220 degrees F.
- Add liquid pectin, stirring constantly, boil for 2 minutes.
- Pour a small amount of jelly onto a chilled plate, if liquid holds its shape pour into sterilized jars, if it's still runny, process additional 2-3 minutes.
- Add rose water, remove from heat
- Pour jelly into prepared sterilized jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace
- Jelly can be stored in the refrigerator for up to six months
- To preserve for storage at room temperature, cover jars with lids and rims, place in a hot water bath (2 -3 inches boiling water) for 15 minutes at a hard boil
- Serve with crusty yeast bread, flat breads, clotted cream, soft goat or cow's milk cheese