Thursday, 11 July 2013

Rose Petals conserved in a wonderful jam

During these last few days of warm sun and still evenings, I'm been aware of the wonderful scents from the garden roses.  One of best being from the Red rose growing over the arch: Etoile to Hollande.  The same red rose which I have made into numerous posies for friends and which a few years back even graced our Christmas table.

It got me thinking:  if elderflowers with their perfume bring so much to a cordial or conserve, and rose water is used in desserts then how about capturing the warm scent of summer of deep red roses.  I scoured through my books and found none which used rose petals in jam.  I can't imagine that I am the first to think of this, and went on line to check this out....yes roses can be used but nip off the little white bit at the base of the petals.  I could not find out why but as this was the first time I would be using roses, I followed that instruction.  Some said add rose essence at the end.  I do have some rose water but decided not to add this, as I wanted to see if the roses alone would add the subtle aroma I was looking for, and be in balance with the rhubarb and apple.

I've devised this original recipe using my first bundle of rhubarb from my new plant from the garden, some cooking apples, and lemon juice.  I used some preserving sugar as I know that rhubarb is low on pectin, and as a result got a very good set.  Next time I shall try using more lemons and just standard sugar.  I may also cook the apple separately to a puree then add that to the macerated rhubarb.  However I do think the apple bits which held together as they had been through the maceration process does look pretty.  I await comments from the preserve tasters.

I left the dry fruit to marinate in the sugar until it has shrunk and was swimming in its own juice. Just before it was time to cook up the fruit, I found the tall ladder and climbed to the top to cut off stems of lovely open roses, and sat on the patio, pulling off all the petals, and washing them gently in cool water.  Less deadheading this weekend........

As the whole was warming, I added the petals, minus the little white bits at the base,  and soon a wonderful dark red damask looking mixture was developing.  The taste is glorious  but with the smell still hanging around, and my taste buds overwhelmed, I shall wait a couple of days before trying it properly.  

Roll on Saturday, less dead heading, and time to sit and savour this jam with warm home made scones in the garden!

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