Roses In the Kitchen: All About Edible Roses!

Roses in the Kitchen
Roses are wonderful flowers that are often enjoyed in vases on kitchen tables as a centerpiece, but they can also be used to create unique and beautiful dishes.  Roses have been enjoyed for centuries in many different cuisines and cultures.  Eastern countries such as India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Turkey use roses as often as they do other herbs.  Asian countries such as Japan and China also use roses in their cooking.   In more recent years, roses have become increasingly more popular in upscale restaurants around the United States.  Using roses as an ingredient in your kitchen is an easy way to enjoy new flavors and dishes.
Roses have a sweet flavor with subtle undertones like fruit, mint, and spice.  Flavor profiles depend on the type of rose, its color, and the soil conditions in which they have been grown.  Flavors tend to be more pronounced in darker colored varieties.  Choose a rose that has a pleasant fragrance.  If the rose smells good, then it is more likely to taste good.  No fragrance, no flavor! 

 Sprinkle petals on desserts or salads to add vibrant color.  Use petals in ice cubes to dress up drinks.  Create syrups, jellies, perfumed butters, sweet spreads, rose honey, rice pudding, custards, baklava, tea cakes, scones, cookies, frosting, and ice cream.  Dried rose petals can be combined with other spices and added to herb blends (In 2012 the International Herb Association designated the rose the official herb of the year).  Rose petals can also be used to make rose water or to flavor alcoholic beverages such as rose flavored vodka. 

Follow these simple guidelines when choosing which roses you will be eating!
1)        Never use pesticides or other chemicals on any part of the plant that produces blossoms you can eat.
2)       Do not eat roses that you purchase from a florist, nursery, or garden center.
3)       Never harvest roses that are growing by the roadside.
4)       Identify the flower exactly and eat only edible flowers and edible parts of these flowers.
5)       Use roses sparingly in your recipes due to the digestive complications that can occur with a large consumption rate.
6)       Wash all roses thoroughly before you eat them.
7) Or purchase rose petals or hips from an organic herb supply store like Rose Mountain Herbs.

 Good choices for “kitchen” roses are old garden roses and Rugosas, these roses are hardy, disease resistant and do not require spraying with any chemicals.  They also have great fragrance and produce wonderful rose hips in the fall that are full of vitamin C and great to use in tea. 

The best time to harvest roses is mid-morning after the dew has dried, but before the heat of the day.  Petals will keep for up to a week if you store them in a refrigerator.  Be sure to remove the bitter white portion of the petal. 
Below are some delicious and easy recipes to try at home.  Enjoy your new adventure with edible roses!
Rose Petal Jam
1/2 pound pink or red edible rose petals
2 cups granulated sugar
, divided
4 1/2 cups water
Juice of 2 freshly-squeezed lemons (approximately 1/2 cup)
Clip and discard bitter white bases from the rose petals; rinse petals thoroughly and drain.  Place rose petals in a bowl and sprinkle enough sugar to coat each petal. Let set overnight.  In a saucepan over low heat, place remaining sugar, water, and lemon juice; stirring to dissolve sugar. Stir in rose petals and let simmer 20 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil; continue boiling for approximately 5 minutes until mixture thickens and the temperature on a candy thermometor reaches 221 degrees F. or until a spoonful dropped onto a cold plate jells and holds its shape. Remove from heat.  After boiling, transfer the jam into hot sterilized jars. Fill them to within 1/4-inch of the top. Wipe any spilled jam off the top, seat the lid, and tighten the ring around them. Cover, label, and store in a cool place.  Makes 1 pound of jam.
Rose Petal or Rose Hip Tea        
2 cups fresh fragrant rose petals (about 15 large roses) or ¼ cup of dried rose hips 
3 cups water
Honey or granulated sugar to taste
Clip and discard bitter white bases from the rose petals; rinse petals thoroughly and pat dry.  In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, place the prepared rose petals. Cover with water and bring just to a simmer; let simmer for approximately 5 minutes, or until the petals become discolored (darkened).  Remove from heat and strain the hot rose petal liquid into teacups. Add honey or sugar to taste.  Makes 4 servings. 
Instant Rose Honey
 Whip this up to put on muffins or serve with fresh buttermilk biscuits at breakfast. 
3 c. fresh rose petals
¾ c. honey
Put the rose petals in a food processor and pulse until well chopped. Empty into a dish, add the honey and mix well. Serve immediately. Refrigerate any leftovers for up to 5 days.
Rose Tea Sandwich
Cut prepared angel food cake into half-inch thick slices. Spread softened cream cheese on each slice of cake. Next, layer half the slices with lots of rose petals—mixing colors if you have them. Press the halves together to make sandwiches. Cut the sandwiches into smaller shapes and serve with rose tea.
Rose Salad Vinegar
Gather enough fragrant rose petals to fill a quart jar—pushing down a bit to fit plenty of petals in the jar. Completely fill the jar with white wine vinegar or Champagne vinegar—making sure all of the petals are covered. Cover the container with plastic wrap and set on the kitchen counter. Give the container a little shake or stir once each day for 4 days. On the 5th day, strain out the petals and discard them. To the liquid, add 1 level tablespoon of brown sugar and stir to dissolve. Store the vinegar in the refrigerator for up to a month. Use rose vinegar on any summer salad. It’s also good on grilled seafood.
Hosting a garden party?? 
Freeze some miniature roses in your ice cubes!
Three Cheers for Edible Roses!!

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