Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Rose Petal Jelly

After finding this recipe for Rose Petal Jelly that calls for using native Nootka rose blossoms, and after having recently admired the fragrant blossoms, I decided to throw my agenda out the door and make the most of the moment in the waning days of May.  I’ve never made jelly before, but am familiar with the process from jam-making.  Somehow it all came together.  My favorite part was watching the rose petal “tea” turn from a pale yellowish color to a lovely rose color.  This is because the molecule, an anthocyanin, that gives the petals their rose color changes hue with changing pH. 

I was hoping for a stronger rose flavor, as the kitchen really did smell like a perfume factory for a while there, however I did make a double patch, so it took a lot more boiling to reach the jelling point.  Since the essential oils that are responsible for the scent, and also the flavor profile, are highly volatile they boil off quickly.  I suspect that adding rose otto right before canning would punctuate the flavor.  I may try a recipe that incorporates this next time. 

This was a fun recipe to make and the byproduct (the jelly) possesses both beauty and subtle flavor that will no doubt entice me to continue working toward the perfect jar of rose petal jelly.

Any roses can be used to make rose petal jelly.  All roses are edible, but do take care to use ones that are organically grown.  Wild roses have a unique scent that I have always found endearing.

Rose Petal Jelly

Yield:  5 half-pint jars
3 ½ cups water
1 cup, lightly packed fresh rose petals or 1/3 cup dried rose petals
2 whole cloves (optional)
juice of 1 lemon
1 box powdered pectin
4 cups sugar
·         Boil water.  Remove from heat and add rose petals and cloves.  Steep for 10 minutes.
·         Strain into a tall pan for jelly making.   Add lemon juice and pectin, stirring until pectin is dissolved.  The color of the mixture will turn rose colored with the addition of  the acidic lemon juice.
·         Bring to a boil over high heat.  Add sugar and stir until dissolved.  Boil until mixture reaches 220 - 222° F, as indicated by a candy thermometer, or until it passes the “cold spoon test.*”

*Sheet or spoon test
"Dip a cool metal spoon into the boiling jelly mixture. Raise the spoon out of the steam, about 12 inches above the pan. Turn the spoon so the liquid runs off the side. The jelly is done when the syrup forms two drops that flow together and sheet or hang off the edge of the spoon. See Figure 1."