Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Wild Rose Petal Conserve

I found this recipe last year by chance and determined that as soon as our native wild rose the dog rose was in flower this year I would give this recipe a go. By the time I found it last year it was too late to have a go.

I have started it this evening - it smells lovely so far and is a pale yellow colour at the moment.

The recipe comes from A Country Harvest by Pamela Michael ISBN 1-85052-070-4.  This book if you are fond of foraging on the wild plants is a must it has lots of lovely recipes and practical uses. 


1 litre/5 cups/1 quart measure of dog rose petals
1 litre/5cups/1 quart of water
Juice of a lemon
1kg/5 cups/2 1/2 lb sugar


  1. Remove any insects, then strip the rose petals from their stems; discard any stems and buds etc, but keep any leaves to one side in a separate bowl.  We have a different use for these.  Place the petals in a saucepan with the water and simmer very gently for about 15 minutes.  Pour into a bowl and leave to go cold. (the liquid looks yellow at this point) and the smell is delicate and oh so very rose like which the petals hardly smelled of when fresh.
  2. Strain the liquid back into the saucepan, reserving the petals and adding the strained lemon juice, which immediately turns the liquid a much deeper pink;  then add the sugar.  Stir over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved then add the rose petals and bring to the boil, boiling fast for about 10 minutes.  Remove from the heat and pour into small warm dry jars. Cover with waxed circles while hot and seal with cellophane covers when cold.

    Note:  "This conserve has a more runny consistency but in order to preser the delicate wild rose fragrance it must not be boiled for long.  This conserve can be used to make an ice cream; a water ice; a syllabub and a baked souffle.  Another good way to use this is with strawberries; fold three or four tablespoons of the conserve into a large carton of whipped cream - no extra sugar is needed and the strawberries and rose flavoured cream are a good combination; try it this way sliced with fresh peaches and with sliced bananas.  It is delicious stirred into plain yoghurt.
      Update:   The petals I used were very pale and the colour of the liquid was a lovely golden yellow, but on adding the sugar and lemon juice they have gone this very orangey pink.  The recipe also said to use the rose petals in the jam.  I chose not to do this with the flowers I had as they seemed to loose all their colour.  I will make this again but will do as I have done here, but will add another fresh batch of flowers to add more scent  and so that the petals still look pretty. I also used my jam machine on the quick programme and only cooked the preserve for about 15 minutes from adding the sugar and liquid to the pan. I was very chuffed with this preserve, but may use a jam sugar with pectin another time to see if it will give a firmer set.

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