"What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet."William Shakespeare
My sweetheart, Paul, gave me the most beautiful roses for Valentine’s Day. As they slowly began to fade I contemplated ways to preserve the petals.
I’ve experimented with this task many times in the past. When my son Hunter was younger he collected some beautiful little bottles and concocted a perfume, rose petals were one of the ingredients. The result was, umm, interesting and very sweet, but I don’t really have the time or interest in creating a perfume. I’ve tried potpourri in the past with rose petals and just wasn’t happy with those results either, besides I wanted to preserve them somehow.
Growing in our flower garden are rugosa rose bushes that produce hips. I have not taken advantage of collecting them over the past several years, but one of my New Year’s Resolutions was not to let this season pass without experimenting with a Rose Hip Jelly, however that didn’t solve my current problem.
I have been wanting to make more vinegars. I made a lovely red raspberry version several years ago for holiday gifts that I was quite pleased with, so I thought why not rose petals in vinegar.
Well, I discovered rose petals are a culinary wonder. A vinegar is absolutely possible and so versatile that you can use it in vinaigrette salad dressings, drizzled over fresh fruit, in your bubble bath, as a light facial toner or in your favorite shampoo: a canning coup!
Rose petals, leaves, buds and hips should always be washed well to free them from all insecticides and fungicides. Rose petals to be used in foods or beverages should always have the white portion at the base cut away, as this is bitter.
and should be supplied by a guaranteed organic source.
ROSE PETAL VINEGAR
To one cup fragrant rose petals (white removed) add one pint (two cups) barely boiling white vinegar. Cover tightly, let stand 10 days, strain, rebottle.
Vary using rosemary, or lavender with roses. So sweet and simple!
I also discovered that rose water and rose syrup, made from rose petals, are used in numerous Middle Eastern and Indian pastries and confections and are available from specialty stores and ethnic markets.
Rose petals can also be used in making jelly, butter, vinegar, syrup, teacakes and desserts. A rose flavor may be obtained in standard cake and icing recipes by substituting 1/2 teaspoon of extract of roses for standard flavoring. They can be crystallized or macerated with wine and fruit. Lassi, an East Indian yogurt drink that is a favorite of my stepson Daniel, is flavored with rose water. Daniel loves to cook and has culinary aspirations so I am sure we will be creating some homemade Lassi soon.
I think I'm going to need more roses !
The Forgotten Art of Flower Cookery, Leona Woodring Smith, Pelican Publishing, 1973 (ISBN 0-88289-464-1)