Thursday, July 03, 2008

A Rose by Any Other Name...

When we had our major anniversaries, silver, ruby and golden, Beloved would bring me in a huge bunch of red roses, the petals of which I would collect when just about ready to drop, dry them off in the airing cupboard, and add to others from the garden to make pot-pourri. This, after refreshing with more orris root and flower oils, would last for years and years and a way to keep the memories alive. Would also work with flowers taken from a wedding bouquet. Bought flowers can cost a deal of money these days, so make them work for their money.
Looking at the red roses again, and knowing there are more outside, am contemplating turning some into rose-petal jam. Hheavily scented red or pink roses are the ones to use (and how few of them are these days), and culinary rose syrup or rose essence, even just rose water, that will add enough flavour to the unscented petals. Rose petals weigh light, so if you haven't enough, just reduce the quantities of the other ingredients and make less. It doesn't matter too much if you are still a bit short of petals, as long as there are enough to 'bulk up' the jam, it should still work. Do not use petals that have been sprayed with insecticide (against greenfly etc).
Rose Petal Jam: makes 1 lb
8 oz (250g) red or pink rose petals
1 lb (500g) sugar
2 pints (1.2 ltrs) water
juice of 2 lemons
Remove the petals from the flowers when they are in full bloom, and snip off the little white bit from the base from each petal. Cut the petals into four or six small pieces. Place into a bowl and cover with half the sugar. Place a plate over the bowl and leave to stand overnight so that the sugar can extract the flavour. The petals will darken, that is OK.
Next day, pour the water in a pan, add the lemon juice and remaining sugar and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved. Stir in the rose petals with their sugar and when the sugar has dissolved, simmer for 20 minutes then bring to a rolling boil and cook for about five minutes when it should then be turning thicker. No need to carry on to setting point or it will spoil the jam/conserve. Pot and cover in the usual way.
Note: If the roses are not scented, follow the above but add the rose essence/syrup with the lemon juice, or use rose water as part of the water measurement.

Approximate storage life of certain seeds: Beetroot and Chard: up to 6 years, expect 50% germination. Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, kohl rabi, swede and turnip: full germination for at least 5 years. Runner beans, French beans, broad beans, carrots, peas: 3 years. Lettuce, 7 years. Radishes: 5 years. Tomatoes: 6 years . Squash, cucumber, melon: 5 - 10 years. Onion and Leek: 2 years. Parsnips: 1 year.