I remember the famous "Harrods" in London selling Rose Petal Jelly. I was never certain about the difference between Jam and Jelly until an aunt explained that "...jam still has the fruit in it and jelly is clear". Roses make very good jelly and you thought you were growing roses just for the blooms!
Rose petal jelly, of course, contains no fruit as such, and so it is clear. In England, however, we still used to call it jam!
If you are a jam maker the process will be very straightforward, for although the jelly has many delicious uses, the recipe is simple.
You could use the rose petals from your garden or you could buy them freeze dried as long as they are of the edible variety. The Old Growth Roses (O.G.R.'s) are said to be the best. Dark red with a good scent are the recommended type, and I must admit I have never heard of rose petal jelly made from pink or yellow rose petals!
Pick your roses after the morning dew has dried and make sure they have not been sprayed. Organically grown would be preferable. Check they are fresh, clean and bug free. You will need about a half dozen for the making of each pot of jelly. Pull the petals from the blooms and remove the bitter white (sometimes yellow) "pointy" base of each petal with a sharp knife.
A blender, a small saucepan, sterilized jars with sealing lids, a wooden spoon, a strainer and a ladle.
Now assemble the ingredients:
3 cups of good clean spring water, the juice of 1 lemon or about 2 tablespoons full, 2 cups of granulated sugar, 1 box (packet) of pectin or 3 ozs of liquid pectin, petals from 6 roses or about 2 cups worth. (this could be 1 cup of frozen and reconstituted petals)
Low pulse the water and rose petals in a blender, just to chop them coarsely.
Pour mixture into a saucepan and bring to a boil, but turn off heat right away to allow the petals to infuse in the hot water for awhile.
After 30 minutes, pour mixture through strainer to remove remaining pieces of the petals and place back onto the heat to simmer, covered for another 30 minutes.
Add sugar, lemon juice and pectin and stir while simmering until sugar is dissolved.
Bring to a boil for 10 minutes or until the mixture begins to set.
Pour into hot sterilized jars, seal and refrigerate.
There are several variations that you could use. You may want to seal the jars with a wax insert before storage, you could also add some edible or fresh petals to the mixture just before pouring into the jars.
You may choose to strain the mixture several times for clarity and it should be noted that the color will change during the process. It's important to experiment and adapt the recipe to your own tastes.
Replacing sugar with "splenda" perhaps, using less lemon or a little more pectin. And the water softness/hardness in your area will make a difference.
Now the taste test: a delicate taste, I think you will find. Try your rose petal jelly with toast or scones or in home made jam tarts.
Try it with ice cream. It makes a great sponge cake filling and an even better addition to trifle. Good Eating!
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