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Get Creative With Rose Petals and Hips

I didn't realize how versatile rose petals and hips could be until I started gardening. From celebrations and weddings, to potpourri and the kitchen, you are only limited by your imagination. I have experimented with various recipes over the years (some successful, some not so much) and include some of these here.

Rose Petals Are Edible: Many people think of hips when they are talking about the edible parts of the rose. However, the petals are edible as well, and often easier to get at than the hips. There are some important things to remember. ONLY eat from flowers that have been grown organically, without any pesticides or sprays. These can leave harmful chemicals. You should also rinse the petals thoroughly to remove any dirt or bugs and inspect for any disease or infection. Use a bowl as a tap can rip the flowers right down the drain. For best results, keep refrigerated and eat within the week, preferably earlier.

Lighter or more pale colors will be a lighter taste and darker colors will taste more bold. Try a few varieties and see what you like. You can eat them raw or they are often better used in another dish. Try chopping them up and putting them on a salad. You can also freeze them into an ice cube for a cool addition to your favorite drink.

Rose Petal Jam

You can make a delicious dessert jam from roses too. Jelly is also possible as well by thickening it with a little pectin and straining the petals out before bottling. I have tried various recipes that people have given me, as well as ones that I have found in books or the internet. Some have been fantastic, others... well, let's just say I only tried them once. However, I did find there were a few common factors to all the successful attempts.
  • Use either pink or red well scented varieties. The other colors don't produce the traditional rose scent.
  • Thinner petal varieties work best. So not your modern leathery HT petals.
  • The more you "work" the petals when making the jam, the better the flavor and fragrance.
  • The better the rose flower, the better the jam! Choose your very best blooms, picked on a warm sunny morning.
Fantastic Rose Petal Jam Recipe:
Rose Petal Jam
Recipe will make 4 150gm jars of delicious rose petal jam
600gm Caster Sugar
Petals from 20(ish) red or pink roses
Juice of a lemon
600ml (one pint) water

Prepare you petals by gently washing them, and cutting off the white part at the base. The white section is bitter, so get rid of it.

Place the petals into a large bowl and combine them with the lemon juice and 1/3 of the sugar, and gently rub them to soften. The longer you do this for, the better the end results. Don't tear them, just rub them between your thumbs and forefingers, gently softening them and working in the sugar and lemon juice. You can add a splash of water if you feel you need to.

While it's not necessary, if you do this a day ahead of time and then place them in the fridge (covered) overnight, that will allow more flavor and frangrance to develop. I have done this both ways, and it's worth letting them sit overnight, IMO.

In a large pot, add the water and remaining sugar, and bring this to a boil until the sugar has melted. 10 minutes should do it. Now it's time to add the petals... keep the mixture at a slow rolling boil for around 20-30 minutes.

Do not overcook... you don't want the sugar to burn, so this is not one of those recipes that you leave on the stove while you go off and do other things. 30 minutes is enough, you want the petals to begin to sink, and the syrup to begin thickening. The longer you cook, the thicker this will become but 30 minutes is probably the maximum.

Remember that as you are using petals and not friut pulp, this will not be a thick jam like you woul dget from apples, apricots etc. There is no natural pectin to set the syrup, so what you end up with is more syrup consitency. But that's fine, that is how it is supposed to be. You could always add a small amount of pectin if you wish, but I don't feel it's needed.

Bottling and Usage: Put into bottles or jars while still hot and leave upside down to seal the lids. This jam is delicious on fresh buttered bread, used as a topping for yoghurt or ice cream, and even mixed with water for a refreshing drink.

Rose Hip Syrup

Rose Hip Syrup
A fantastic way to get your daily dose of Vitamin C. Image provided coutesy of Wikimedia Commons

We have this recipe on our Rosa Canina (dog rose) page, but it's well worth including it here as well. The recipe is an old one from the then Ministry of Food, UK. As fresh fruit was in short supply, people had to find other ways to get their daily intake of vitamin C, and rosehip syrup was a great source of this essential vitamin.

When I first discovered this recipe, of course I had to have a go at making it. My only mistake was not being careful enough with straining the syrup for the fine hairs. Other than that, it turned out beautifully.

Have ready 3 pints (1.7.litres) of boiling water, mince 2 lbs (900 grams) of hips in a coarse mincer, drop immediately into the boiling water or if possible mince the hips directly into the boiling water and again bring to the boil. Stop heating and place aside for 15 minutes. Pour into a flannel or linen crash jelly bag and allow to drip until the bulk of the liquid has come through.

Return the residue to the saucepan, add 1.5 pints (850 ml) of boiling water, stir and allow to stand for 10 minutes. Pour back into the jelly bag and allow to drip. To make sure all the sharp hairs are removed put back the first half cup full of liquid and allow to drip through again. Put the mixed juice into a clean saucepan and boil down until the juice measures about 1.5 pints (850 ml), then add 1.5 lbs (560 grams) of sugar and boil for a further 5 minutes.

Pour into hot sterile bottles and seal at once. If corks are used these should have been boiled for 15 minutes just previously and after insertion coated with melted paraffin wax. It is advisable to use small bottles as the syrup will not kept for more than a week or two once the bottle is opened. Store in a dark cupboard.

Rose Petal Tea

While this recipe makes a lovely refreshing cuppa, you could also try using the rose petal syrup mixed with hot water instead (recipe further up this page).

Rose Petal Tea
Recipe will make 4 cups of rose petal tea


  • Rose petals, two cups (the fresher and more fragrant, the better). This could be up to 15 roses, depending on how double the flowers are..
  • Note: Make sure that your roses are pesticide free. Most store bought roses are NOT.
  • Three cups distilled water
  • Flavoring to taste (mint, honey, sugar, etc....)

  • Remove white areas from bottom of the petals. Wet petals and lightly pat to dry.
  • Put the cut petals in a small saucepan on medium heat. Add water. Make entire mixture go to a simmer. Allow to simmer for 5 minutes, or at which point petals darken.
  • Remove the mixture from heat. Use a strainer and pass the hot tea into cups. Flavor and sweeten as needed.
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