By Chef Ana Sporer
The Damask rose is known for its fine fragrance and is commercially harvested for rose oil, used in perfumery and to make rose water. The flower petals are also edible, but it blooms only once a season, so you must make plenty of these amazing preserves when you can. My neighbor has at least 100 of these shrubs, so I went over and picked pounds of roses.
Rose Petal Preserves
This recipe makes 8-10 8 oz mason jars
- 1 pound Rosa Damascena petals
- 2 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice (8-10 lemons)
- 6 cups sparkling white wine
- 4 cups sugar
- 2.75 oz powdered fruit pectin
- Gather only petals from roses. Rinse well in a strainer or colander under cold water.
- Drain roses and add to a large, shallow sauce pan. The mixture should be more shallow than deep for better cooking.
- Add the lemon juice, wine and sugar. Stir over medium heat while slowly bringing preserves to a boil. Once sugar is dissolved, gently boil for one minute, reduce heat to a gentle simmer and cover for 30 minutes. (Slowly simmering and covering is important because you don’t want to lose the rose essence.)
- After 30 minutes, place pectin in a bowl and blend with a small amount of the rose mixture. Add pectin/rose mixture to pot and stir with a whisk to incorporate thoroughly. Gently boil for one minute.
- Pour rose preserves into hot, sterilized canning jars. Place lids on each jar, seal with rings and invert jars upside down. The heat from the preserves and hot jars will create an air-tight seal. The next day, turn the jars right-side up and seal ring tightly.
It’s also cherry picking time here in the Hudson Valley. My reports say this weekend (28-29 June) is prime time for sweet cherries, and the sour cherries start in about two more weeks. There is nothing better or cheaper than picking your own fruit. Raspberries and blueberries will be starting soon as well, and all are good to freeze! My favorite place to go picking is Fix Brothers Farm in the Hudson Valley.
Chef Ana Sporer has been a professional instructor at ICE for over 14 years. She lives in Freehold, NY at the base of the Catskill Mountains and is the chef/owner of Ruby’s Hotel, which she operates with her husband Frank Giorgini. She is also a master gardener, growing all her own food for the hotel’s restaurant.