Most roses are edible. Roses are not the only flowers that can be used to add a delicious and exotic taste to all types of dishes. The flavor of roses, however, is distinct and immediately recognizable, and it looks as wonderful as it tastes. If you are looking to make your Valentine bouquet last just a bit longer, try this recipe, from Hannah Glasse's 1747 cookbook, The Art of Cookery made Plain and Easy. Below it, you'll find an updated adaptation. Of course, if you prefer to try the jam without any effort, several companies do sell their own, ready made versions, as well.
Conserve of Roses, boiled In order to conserve roses, take red roses, take off all the whites at the bottom, or elsewhere, take three times the weight of them in sugar, put to a pint of roses a pint of water, skim it well, shred your roses a little before you put them into water, cover them, and boil the leaves tender in the water, and when they are tender put in your sugar; keep them stirring, lest they burn when they are tender, and the syrup be consumed. Put them up, and so keep them for your use.
- 1/2 pound pink or red or white (they are all edible) rose petals.
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 1/2 cups water
- Juice of 2 lemons, pips or seeds removed
- Select any color rose petalsor use assorted colors. The color of the petals will be the color of the jam. Some rose varieties are tastier than others. Fragrant red and pink old-fashioned double roses (rugosas, floribundas, Old English, damask, and so on) are often used for jam. "Rose a parfum de l'Haye", "Caprice de Meilland", and "Baron Girod de l'Ain" keep their aroma and flavor well during the cooking process.
- Wash them and then cut off the white bottom of each petal. Before eating them or using them in cooking, they should be washed well to avoid any chemicals that they might have been sprayed with. Ideally, you should use roses that haven't been sprayed at all and that were grown specifically for this purpose. Always check for insects and discard any petals that are brown.
- Soak the petals in water for three days. This is optional.
- Place the rose petals into a bowl and sprinkle the sugar over them to make sure that each petal is coated. Bruise them well with your fingers and cover the bowl with plastic film. Allow it to remain overnight in a cool spot that is not too dry and not too humid (e.g. the refrigerator).
- Get a saucepan and pour in the remaining sugar, water and lemon juice. Dissolve contents over a low heat. Including the pips (seeds) of the lemon is supposed to contribute pectin, which will help thicken the jam, although some recipes do not specify their need, so the choice is yours.
- Stir the rose petals into the mixture and allow to simmer 20 minutes. Bring to a boil and continue to boil for 5 minutes until the mixture thickens. If you have a jelly thermometer, cook and stir until the jam reaches 221°F or 105°C (don't let the bulb touch the bottom of the pan) or until a spoonful dropped onto a cold plate jells and holds its shape. Then, if you included the pips/seeds, remove them with a spoon, or you can leave them in if a person is careful not to eat them when they eat the jam
- Pour it into a clean, warmed jar and add the cover and a label. If it will not be used shortly, use proper canning procedures to make sure the jam keeps in the jar. Store it in a cool place (e.g. the refrigerator) and indulge!