...to stop and smell the roses. Remember when I trimmed the Rosa rugosa this spring? They looked rather pathetic and denuded then:
The bushes are the most beautiful I've ever seen them, and the petals are larger than ever before. Apparently it's been a great weather year for the roses. I knew the pruning would do them good. And how!
So you know what that means in this blog: It's time to make the rose petal jam. This is one of the blog's most popular topics, so perhaps it's time, after all these years, to give a little rose petal jam tutorial.
It's a delicate jam due to the fact that it is fresh and not cooked. Only the pectin is cooked, and then is added to the fresh petals, lemon juice & sugar mixture. If it were cooked, the flavor and color would suffer terribly, and in my mind would make it not worth the effort and the cost of the ingredients. There are some cooked rose jellies on the market that are made from liquid infused from rose petals in boiling water. Not the same thing -- not by a long shot -- and in my opinion not worth my time. I did try once to put a batch in a hot-water bath to seal them to make them more shelf stable, and sadly it was a failure.
All of that means that the shelf life for this jam is reduced, and it needs to be refrigerated or frozen for storage. This makes it a more expensive and precious commodity, compared to regular jam or jelly.
Lots of people have said that I should sell my rose petal jam, but for all these reasons, it would not be suitable (and certainly not profitable) to make and sell on any sort of a large scale. It's relatively expensive to make (each batch makes not quite 4 8-ounce jars of jam). It's made in very small batches in the blender, and it's very much a seasonal delicacy -- limited to when the roses are in bloom and freshly picked. It also takes quite a few blossoms to make a batch, though not as many as I used to think. Being the farm girl I used to be, and having been accustomed to berry-picking for jam-making, I would go out with a big basket and pick 'til I was blue (or rather, red) in the face, and come in with a gorgeous overflowing heavily-scented basket of rose petals, many of which were not used, because I could not keep up with the lemons, sugar, pectin, jars, lids and time it took to process it all.So when it's a good year for the roses and when I have the time, I make as much as I can stand to make and savor it myself all year long and give it as gifts. Last year I used it as an incentive gift to people who donated $20 or more to the Red Scarf Fund for Foster Youth. I'm not saying that I will send you jam this year, but in case you feel the urge to press this button anyway, I'll make it easy for you: