I must start by saying that this is not a fail-safe recipe. I think there are far too many variables involved to make such a claim. So much depends upon how heavily scented your roses are, maybe even how large the petals are, and of course their colour must play a part too. And then there is the issue of what time of day you pick them and whether they have been baking in the heat of the sun or pounded by a summer downpour.
It’s probably best to use my recipe as a sort of jumping off point, and then experiment until you get a flavour and consistency that you are happy with. And because it really isn’t very practical to make a large batch, it won’t feel so very awful if it all goes wrong. Above you can see the second batch of jam made from 40g of petals, below you can see both versions, and the runny first attempt, made using 30g of petals, is in the Kilner jar.
The first batch, although delicious on a crumpet, was far more successful stirred into a rhubarb fool and later some plain yoghurt. I’d happily use the method again if I wanted a rose-scented syrup for a pudding.
Both methods are very straightforward the only time-consuming part of the process is picking or cutting off the pale section at the bottom of each petal which is boring, but worth doing as it’s bitter and will affect the flavour.
1) Rose petal jam / syrup
30g petals (white part removed), 60g jam sugar, 500ml water
I began by massaging half the sugar into the petals as I had read somewhere about the importance of bruising them in order to release colour and oils. I left them in the pan for a couple of hours with the lid on. Then when I was ready to make the jam I added the water to the petals. One method I had consulted suggested placing petals in a measuring jug and then using the same volume of water. On reflection I should have pressed the petals down a little as I had far too much liquid. The smell was wonderful and the water quickly turned a fabulous garnet colour. I stirred in the rest of the sugar and raised the heat to a rolling boil. After half an hour I poured the liquid into the Kilner jar and once cooled I placed it in the fridge. If you feel the rose flavour is too faint, you can always boost it with a dash of rose water.
2) Improved rose petal jam
40g rose petals, 80g jam sugar, 80g water,
This time I weighed my water and then having tipped 40g of water over the petals, I decided it needed another 40g.
So – take your rose petals, white bits cut off, and massage them in half the sugar. Leave for half an hour or so – I don’t suppose it would matter if you left them overnight even – and then add the water. If you like to test your setting point with a cold plate, put that in the freezer now. Bring the water and petals to a simmer and stir in the remaining sugar, taking care that it doesn’t catch as there isn’t much liquid. Then turn up the heat and once you have a good rolling boil, set the timer for five minutes. I had a set after the first five minutes.
Inspired by a comment left by Thrifty Household, I used most of this batch in a cake.
40g of petals also produced enough jam to cover a few slices of toast as well, and would have gone further were it not for the girls who preferred to eat it from their fingers.
I shall certainly be making more of both the jam and the syrup throughout the summer. And I think I enjoyed the process almost as much as the jam itself – the whole business of stripping petals from the flowers, and then stirring them with sugar and water took me straight back to childhood potion making.