A Bounty of Beach Roses

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One of the best things about moving near the beach is the opportunity to forage the beach roses growing here. I fell in love with rose petal jelly (although its counterpart rose petal jam was a bit yuck) when I made it with my own roses, and the beach rose is more fragrant and purported to be more flavorful as well. Rose hips from beach roses instead of cultivated varieties are also the ones we are accustomed to in tea and jelly. So it is with glee I took my first walk to the beach to scope out the roses….and furtively gathered a couple handfuls of blooms to bring home and tuck away in the fridge.

Rose petal Jelly was my second attempt at an edible flower jelly. Lilac jelly from a recipe from Rosecommon Acres (if you follow the link, stay and enjoy a visit…she’s an amazing woman) was my first. It was pleasant enough to make me research what other pretty gem colored jars I could create. Rose and violet were the ones that caught my eye. Violets are more common in the woods than the town where we were so I went with rose, since I had three floribundae rose bushes in the yard. The pale to dark pink petals made a mid-range pink jelly that tasted of rose, but not strongly like I had hoped. It was yummy as a sweetener in hot tea or spread on a scone. I knew finding a supply of “old roses” or “beach roses” would be the next step in getting the jelly I wanted.

I found the recipe I use at LA Weekly in a farmer’s market report on edible flowers from a local farm. Here is the recipe as I use it.

Rose Petal Jelly
From: Adina Rimmon of Schaner Farms.
Yield: 4 half-pint jars

2 cups red or pink petals, washed and dried (a salad spinner works nicely)
2 cups water
3 3/4 cups sugar (white to let the flower flavor come through)
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 3-oz. package pectin (powder)
4 small rosebuds

1. Place the rose petals and water in a saucepan. Heat over high heat until the water begins to boil, pushing down the roses until totally submerged. Turn off the heat, cover and allow to steep until cool. An small plate can be used to submerge the petals in the water. Weigh it down if need be.

2. Meanwhile, prepare jars and lids for canning. If not canning, prepare clean jars.

3. When the rose infusion is cool, strain and measure out 1 3/4 cups of the liquid. Pour it into a saucepan, add sugar and lemon juice (watch the color change).

4. Over medium-high heat, stir constantly until the sugar melts and the liquid comes to a full boil. Add the pectin and continue stirring. Return to a hard boil and allow to boil for 1 minute. Remove from the heat.

5. Pour the liquid into the hot jars. When all the jars have been filled, push a rosebud into each jar, submerging them totally in the liquid. This works best if the jelly is allowed to cool a bit. I used a chopstick to help push the rosebuds into the jelly. Partially opened buds work better than completely closed ones). Wipe the jars clean and screw on the lids.

6. If canning, process for 5 minutes. Wait for the ping and check the seals.

 

The rose infusion becomes a brownish pink color until you hit it with the lemon juice. Then it goes back to straight pink. In the case of the beach roses its a bright, dark pink. The smell is amazing. Way better than my roses. Cracking open a jar of this in the winter is going to be superb and make me the happiest girl in the world. I made double this (in two batches) and one jar did go to my jam swap partner. A friend’s daughter loves it as well, although I think she just enjoys the rosebud floating in the pink jelly.

I think this would be good for a shortbread thumbprint cookie. As sweetener for tea or lemonade. In a signature mixed drink for a wedding. For a sparkling drink using a sodastream or similar carbonating device. Or eaten off a spoon…especially while still warm. Its just that amazing.

My second use for roses is in harvesting the rosehips. My roses did not have the proper type of hips for this. They grew them abundantly and nice large ones as well, but they never went past green. The beach roses have pretty red orange hips already and with frosts upon us I have already harvested a handful. I want to dry some to add to tea or potpourri mixes. I want to make jelly or jam out of the rest. I didn’t really gather many before the snow hit and they withered and got mushy….maybe this spring or next year.

The third thing I have done with the rose petals is make cookies. The first was a shortbread. I took it to work and made the guys from the shelf stocking team eat it. It was fabulous. Imagine a bunch of dirty, sweaty manly men eating rose petal shortbread in the breakroom. Fab-u-lous. I can’t recall the recipe I followed. And Google is not being helpful and is showing me a bunch of new, yet lovely, looking recipes. It basically comes down to adding a couple tablespoons of crushed dried rose petals and a teaspoon or so of rosewater to a regular shortbread recipe. I’m partial to ones that use powdered sugar not regular table sugar in them…and the result is a tender, flaky and flowery cookie. The second cookie was a linzer. I used raspberry/rose for this instead of straight rose. It was yummy too. And you can picture those same guys with powdered sugar all over their noses…

The last thing I want to do with them is make marshmallows. I made rose and raspberry seedless jam, but it barely set. So unless I recook it and let it cool it won’t spread very well for most things. The linzer cookies soaked up the runny jam without getting mushy, but since marshmallows are just bloomed gelatin with a sugar syrup added I think I can tinker it into the syrup and make raspberry rose marshmallows. I am attending my first seed/homemade goodies swap with the Greater Seacoast Permaculture Group and think these would be fabulous. Even if it is postponed due to weather (it was scheduled Sunday morning). That just means I have more tinker time and have to not eat them a bit longer than I’d planned. If they work out, there will be pictures and a recipe. A post-Valentine’s recipe.

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