Having spent the best part of a rainy morning googling recipes, I realised that almost without exception the ones I found contradicted one another on every aspect of the process: always pick flower heads first thing in the morning! Only ever pick at the end of a hot sunny day (Ha! Fat chance – though today is looking promising), bruise in sugar, steep in water, boil for no longer than four minutes, boil for an hour and so on…
In the end I decided on a pick-and-mix approach with the recipes, taking the instructions I liked and adding my own, gleaned from my experiences making various types of jam, jellies and marmalade. I picked a couple of handfuls of flower heads (early morning, in a light drizzle, no proper sun for a week), which produced about 30g of petals.
And this in turn produced about three or four tablespoons of very runny jam. The recipe I stayed closest to insisted that my brew would reach setting point within four minutes. I watched, waited, tested but it was clear that it would take hours to get to setting point, so after thirty minutes I gave up and glooped my potion into a jar. On the upside the smell in the kitchen was amazing.
Today, the rose petal syrup has set slightly – I think a night in the fridge helped – and it looked distinctly jammy and tasted rather delicious on a crumpet. I’d give my effort a 6 out of 10, but I can see where the process could be improved.
I’ll post my recipe once it’s been tweaked and tested.