Learn About Rose Recipes
With Carol Fielding

When roses were named 2012 International Herb of the Year, I wanted rose recipes! So I asked Carol Fielding from All About Rose Gardening to talk with us about cooking with roses.

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Carol, I know you CAN eat roses, but many of us have no idea what to do with them. How do you cook with roses?

People have been eating roses since before medieval times.

Back then, flowers were eaten for medicinal reasons as well as for nutrition. The Romans ate rose petal confections, and drank rose petal wine. They also made medications from the rose petals and hips.

Today we eat them because they enhance the visual appeal of the dish, as well as adding new and interesting flavor choices to our recipes.

Rose flowers can be candied to use as decoration on cakes, cookies, ice cream, and many different desserts. Bakers and Chefs use candied roses to decorate pastries and wedding cakes that are amazing.

Imagine using roses from your own garden to decorate a special cake (wedding, shower, anniversary, etc.)!

Candied roses can be stored in a dry place, and kept for several months. Broken ones can be sprinkled on cakes and desserts for a lovely confetti look.

What sorts of rose recipes are there?

You can use fresh rose petals in salads, or turn minced petals into flavorful butters and spreads. You can make rose petal syrup to use on your pancakes, in sorbets, or drizzled over a simple cake.

Other recipes include, rose petal jam, rose petal jelly, rose flavored ice cream, and rose flowers and petals used as garnishes.

Petals can be infused to make vinegar, and rose water. Rose water is used in baking as well as some pretty unique homemade cosmetics.

I have Rose Recipes for Rose hips that can be used to make tea, jam, and even candied rose hips.

How do you choose roses for cooking?

All roses are edible, but they do have different flavors. Damask, old garden roses, (Rugosa varieties), and fragrant roses are the most flavorful.

You should experiment by tasting the ones you grow to see if you like the flavor. Generally if they are fragrant, they will taste good as well.

What are the best kinds of roses to cook?

Some of the tastiest roses, that are also easy to grow roses include "Rosa Gallica", "R. Centiflora" and "R. Damascena".

Small flowered roses such as "The Fairy", "Jeanne Lajoie", and "Carefree Delight", are great for garnishing.

More roses that are pleasant tasting include "Mr Lincoln", "Double Delight", and "Tiffany".

The very dark red roses can sometimes be a bit bitter, so experiment to find the ones you like best.

Is there anything to watch out for when using roses in cooking?

The most important thing is to never use roses from the florist, or unknown sources. Only use roses that you know have been grown organically, with no chemical spray.

I garden organically, so I never have to worry about my roses having been sprayed with anything toxic.

Before using roses, be sure to double check that there are no hidden critters on the petals. Rinse fresh picked roses and carefully pat dry. You should remove the white part at the base of the petals because that part is really bitter and will spoil your recipe.

What are your favorite rose recipes?

I love making rose butters and rose petal jelly. I also love rose petal jam.

I drink a lot of tea made from not only the rose petals but also the rose hips. Rose Hip Tea is delicious, and very rich in vitamin C -- more so than oranges!

I've been known to add a little sparkle to a special party by adding fresh rose petals to a fruit or garden salad, or floating some blossoms in a bowl of punch.

Once, when needing a food item to bring to a last minute birthday party, I spread out some cookies on a pretty tray lined with paper doilies, topped each cookie with a dab of vanilla frosting (using a decorative star in the pastry bag), gently pushed a small fresh strawberry into the frosting, and sprinkled some candied rose sugar on the top. They were a huge hit!

See my recipe below for making Candied Roses:

(If any of them break, use the broken ones to make rose sugar!)

  • Pick fresh flowers, rinse, and gently pat dry
  • Beat the white of one egg until frothy
  • Using a small brush, paint the egg white onto the petals, just to coat them (all sides)
  • Sprinkle with superfine granulated sugar
  • Arrange on wax paper in a shallow tray and let stand to dry in a warm place for several days.
  • Transfer to an air-tight container and refrigerate.

Get eggs from locally raised, free range, grassfed chickens for the best flavor and the least chance of contamination.

Thanks so much for the interview, Carol!

For more about rose recipes, visit Carol's website, All About Rose Gardening

Would you like to talk more about rose recipes with others who love edible landscaping as much as you do? Join the Tasteful Landscape community.

What would you like to read next?

How to plant roses - The edible flowers list

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