Last February on a whim I bought two pounds of dried rose petals. (In my defense they were practically a steal at less than $7 a pound…with free shipping!) Valentine’s Day was approaching and I had high hopes for them, with ideas like heart-shaped rose petal tea cakes, white chocolate rose petal mousse, rose petal sorbet, and rose petal punch dancing around my head. Since I posted no such recipes here, you can probably see where I’m going with this. :)
Time eluded me and I put my rose petal ideas on hold…until now (well, a couple weeks ago, anyway ;) )! I finally decided it was time to make something with my rose petals, and the first thing I wanted to try was jelly…first of all because I’ve always wanted to try rose petal jelly, second because I didn’t feel like making something that required turning on the oven and heating up the house in the middle of the gruesome heat wave we were in, and third because there’s a ton of stuff you can do with jelly.
In the beginning I was a little skeptical to use dried rose petals (since I had only heard of jelly being made from fresh petals), but I soldiered onward, thinking all the while of the two pounds of rose petals in my pantry. I was glad I did since the jelly ended up being really pleasant; it was sweet but not overly so, and subtly scented and flavored of rose. The color was gorgeous – a deep burgundy – even richer in color than my rose petals looked. If you have fresh, organic petals you can use them instead of dried, just be sure to trim off the pointy white base of each petal since it has a bitter flavor.
(Yield: About 1 pint)
1 ¾ cups water
1 oz (about 1 ¼ cups) dried culinary rose petals
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons powdered pectin
1 cup sugar
Bring water up to a rolling boil in a medium saucepan; add rose petals and boil 1 minute. Cover the saucepan, turn the heat off, and steep the rose petals 30 minutes. Strain the water through a cheesecloth-lined sieve, making sure to wring the cheesecloth to squeeze all the liquid from the petals; transfer the steeped rose water back to the saucepan.
Stir in the lemon juice, then whisk in the pectin and sugar until dissolved. Bring to a boil on high heat and boil 5 minutes (stirring frequently), turning heat down as necessary so it doesn’t boil over. Transfer to sterile jar(s), cool to room temperature, and then store refrigerated.