Now that we're into the warmer weather, local rose bushes are blooming and scenting the air with their fragrance. If you have access to food-grade fresh or dried roses, you can use them for both culinary and medicinal purposes -- they are soothing and moisturizing -- and some rose recipes are good additions to the tea party pantry! Some of the most useful rose-scented treats include rose water and rose jam or jelly.
Local grocery stores carry rose water in the Middle Eastern food aisle, and this has been distilled so that it is shelf-stable; it's a good flavoring for iced tea and tea cakes. For tips on making rose water, rose extract and rose syrup, click here. Rose jelly is a good use for rose water, and preserves it longer than a week. It can be used on scones or toast, as filling for tarts (especially with whipped cream on top), and melted into a glaze for fruit desserts or cakes. To make rose jelly:
- Take about 2 cups of rose water, and put it in a saucepan with about 1 cup of sugar.
- Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes.
- Add the juice of 1 fresh lemon, and let cook until liquid is reduced by half. Jelly will be soft-set, but will thicken as it cools.
- Remove from the heat, and seal in a sterilized 1- to 2-cup container.
- Store in the refrigerator for a few weeks, or process in a water bath as for other jellies and jams.
If you divide the batch of rose jelly into half-cup portions and seal it in small jars, you can give them away as gifts. You can also use food-grade rose petals to make a tisane for drinking, with or without the addition of sugar. You can combine the rose petals with other edible flowers, such as culinary lavender or herbs such as mint, to make flavor variations. Herbal and floral jellies are a delicate and fragrant addition to the tea table!
Copyright 2014, Elizabeth Urbach.
For more information:
“What should I keep in the pantry for tea parties?”
"All about tisanes, or 'herbal teas'"
"Review: Vital Tea Leaf Angel green tea and Siberian Rose tisane"
"Tea-table recipe: rose-petal jam desserts"
"Iced tea and how to make it"
“Enjoy San Jose’s warm weather with a floral tea menu”
“Shrewsbury Cakes: a Regency recipe to eat with tea in San Jose”
Rose Petal Mint Jelly recipe
Thumbprint cookies with rose jelly recipe
"Rose petal jam from a Venetian monastery"
"Homemade Rose Syrup, Rose Jam and Drink Concentrate"
“Gardening in the Valley of Heart’s Delight: Rose Jelly”