JOANNA'S FOOD: family cooking, from scratch, every day


Thursday, July 26, 2007

Rose petal jelly



































I really felt as if I was bottling sunshine when I made this delicious jelly, because as soon as I had finished picking the roses, the sky turned grey and the heavens opened - yet more torrential rain, fierce enough, once again, to damage flowers.

I found the recipe this morning, lying in bed reading old Sunday supplements unread from the weekend of our parties. It was extracted from a book which I see is due to be published tomorrow, Edible Wild Plants and Herbs: A Compendium of Recipes and Remedies, by Pamela Michael. Looks good enough to buy. As ever, I've adapted the recipe a little.

Rose petal jelly

1 litre rose petals
1 litre water
juice of two lemons
1 kilo sugar























Pick one litre of scented roses. The original recipe suggests dog roses, but as they're now over, mine was a mixture of the beautiful English rose Noble Antony (David Austen), Tuscany Superb, Gloire de Dijon, a pretty little unnamed pale pink rambler by the front door, and Compassion. I don't spray my roses (or anything, come to that), so they're okay to eat. I had no idea what a litre of rose petals looks like, so I went out with a colander which I half filled. Too many, it turned out, but no matter, they'd have needed dead-heading soon anyway. You want them blousily open, but not over. Check for scent as you pick, because some roses become more scented as the flowers develop, other lose their scent quickly.



















Pull the petals off the stalk, and loosely fill a one-litre measuring jug. Check for insects - I put several earwigs back into the garden, as well as a couple of small grasshoppers. Put the petals in a stainless steel saucepan with a litre of water, bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes. They will completely lose their colour, and the water will turn a murky shade of reddish-brown, deliciously scented. Strain this into a glass bowl and cool.

Next you add the lemon juice, and a magical thing happens - the murky brown suddenly becomes a beautiful and bright pink. Pour this back into the pan, and add one kilo of sugar (I used preserving sugar because I happened to have it in the house, but ordinary sugar would do just as well, it would just take a little longer to dissolve). When the sugar has disappeared, turn up the heat a little and bring to the boil. It will take 10 minutes to reach setting point, or you can use a sugar thermometer.

Leave it to cool a little before bottling - if you do this, you'll find that much of the scum disappears. I never bother to skim the scum, because I don't enter my jellies in the produce show, and because it's perfectly edible - it disappears if you're heating up the jelly later (the main reason I make jellies is to liven up sauces).

Bottling isn't too much of a palaver, although you need to sterilise the jars. This is easily achieved in one of three ways (I am assuming that they are already clean): 1) put them in the sink and pour boiling water on them; 2) run them through a hot dishwasher cycle; 3) put them in a low oven for half an hour.

People get very worked up about making jellies, and Nigella even said in one of her books that making jelly was more trouble than jam ... but Nigella's wrong, and the whole process is quick and easy. Jelly is easier on the cook than jam, because you don't need to peel and core, top and tail, you let the sieve or jelly bag do all the work. And the key thing is never to make more than 3-4 jars at once ... in other words, never use more than one kilo of sugar - scale the recipe down if necessary (it's also true for jam). This rose petal jelly took under an hour from start to finish, in three short bursts of activity.

Incidentally, you can see from the photos below just how much colour is extracted from the petals when they're simmered. The original recipe suggests putting the petals back into the syrup when you've dissolved the sugar, but I didn't want to spoil the look of the jelly, and, besides, thought I'd probably have to sieve it before using it in a sauce.










25 comments:

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

So murky brown turns to rose with lemon juice . . . that must have been a very fun moment.
This is really beautiful.

TopVeg said...

Wonderful - can't wait to have a go.

Figs Olives Wine said...

Just stunning, Joanna! I love this jelly but only made it once a long time ago. How fabulous to have access to those rose petals - gorgeous photos and gorgeous post.

The Old Foodie said...

Joanna, that looks truly wonderful. Just reading about it I could almost smell it! I had no idea that adding lemon juice changed the colour - but then I've never made rose jelly.

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

This is a very beautiful post. All of our rose petals have gone. I'm sure there will be more though. If I'm in the country when they come out then I will give this a go. It sounds superb!

kathryn said...

What a beautiful, beautiful jelly you've made. I actually bought some rose petal jelly a little while ago and it was glorious - like eating Turkish Delight on toast. I didn't think about using it in sauces and cooking, so I'm really interested to know what how you use it,

Susan said...

Isn't that the most lovely jelly! I love the juxtaposition of the photos too--quite effective!

Chris said...

Beautiful! I have never heard of this jelly - but like Old Foodie - I could swear the aroma sauntered by my nose...:)

Joanna said...

Thank you all for your kind comments ... I had such fun making and photographing it, especially since the weather was so foul (!)

I'd never tasted it until yesterday, but I love it, it tastes just like the rose "perfume" we used to make as children. Or, as you say Kathryn, like Turkish Delight.

The magic with the lemon juice (and it really does seem like magic, I watched the lemon swirl through the bowl, changing the colour instantly as it went) - I think that must be because of the acid in the lemon juice, but I'd love someone to explain it to me properly.

Amanda, if your petals have gone by now, you need a few repeat flowering roses. The English roses developed by David Austen are all scented, and all repeat to a greater or lesser extent. Years ago I went to his nursery in late July, so that I wouldn't be tempted by any plants that didn't repeat (although I have since planted a few). So I always have roses through the summer, and sometimes the last one can be picked on Christmas Day. But it's fair to say that at this time of year they look more lush picked!

Kathryn, what were the petals like in the jam you bought? I have a feeling they'd be claggy.

I took Claudia Roden's Arabesque to bed last night, but it wasn't at all helpful: the only recipe suggested using rose petal jam on scones - but no recipe for the jam. I'll keep you posted with my experiments.

Joanna

kathryn said...

Rather than whole ones there were just tiny, tiny little flecks of petal in the jam - so not claggy at all.

Joanna said...

Mmm ... sounds good ... did you use it in recipes? Or just on its delicious own?

Cottage Smallholder said...

This looks wonderful Joanna. So delicate and pretty. Thanks for an inspirational post. I can almost smell the roses in your photos.

Ilva said...

Truly beautiful photos Joanna!

Ashleigh said...

Gorgeous! I agree that jellies are less effort than jams, especially with fruit that is annoying or difficult to prepare. Next year I'm going to be begging rose petals around the allotment. I'm planting some David Austins' of my own so I might have enough - we'll see :)

farmgirl said...

Your photos are absolutely gorgeous. I love the color of the finished jelly!

P.S. Thanks so much for your comments and kind words. : )

Madfoot said...

How funny to find this via a google search. I just bought rose jelly at a local grocery (I live in San Francisco, CA), and my question is... it's delicious, what do I do with it? Just put it on toast, or ... is there a special use for rose jelly, like with mint jelly?

it looks lovely! now I want to make it.

Anonymous said...

this recipe worked beautifully! i made rose/thyme jelly and it tastes great, just a little thyme so as not to overwhelm the rose, plus i added pectin so i could reduce the sugar a bit. tastes strongly floral, but in a great way!

Joanna said...

So glad it was good, anon. Eat it up quickly, though, as the rose scent fades ... which is a very good reason to put in a little thyme, in case you leave it too long. Although it's so good and useful that that's unlikely ;)

Joanna

CALLIE BUTLER said...

hello...i bought rose petal confit today and was so uplifted, transported by the flavor and essence of the confit that i wanted to make comment....such a nice experience to taste rose petal confit
(or jelly)....

wellgreen homeopathy said...

This morning I used exactly the same recipe but replaced the rose petals with orange blossom (I live in Cyprus) and it has worked beautifully. The whole house is filled with the aroma of orange blossom - quite heady...

Joanna said...

How fabulous .... I am so envious of people with citrus trees in their gardens - I have little houseplant citruses in my house, but it's not the same, the fruit is only the size of a thumbnail. The scent, though, that's another story - wonderful to capture it in this delicate jelly

Thanks for sharing
Joanna

Dizzy said...

I did this yesterday, it's lovely and the colour change when you add the lemon juice is fantastic. Tomorrow I'm planning to modify the recipe and use lavender flowers as I have lots of them. I've also made redcurrant and elderflower, orange and elderflower and blueberry jams, all from fruit/flowers in my garden. I love this time of year.

Having said that, I love the autumn when it's time for the berries and hips :o)

Núriah said...

Made the jelly and it's lovely. I used powdered organic pink rose petals from rosemountainherbs.com, not having any fresh nearby. Loved the color change magic! I'll be making more. I wonder if there's a way to get the color without making it as acidic?

Do you have any recipes in which you use your jelly?

Thanks for posting!

Anonymous said...

How well does is do on shelf life.

This year for Christmas, I am making everyone Jelly as a present.

Can it be stored on the shelf or do I have to kept it in the refidgerator?

Joanna said...

I store it on the shelf, in which case you have to be vigilant about sterilising the jars; I don't know if that's enough in a very hot/humid place. But the scent of this jelly doesn't last forever, it's one to be eaten quickly. If you want to give some as a Christmas present, it might be better to make rose petal jam. How lucky your friends and family are! Hope it goes well

Joanna