September 11, 2011

A fragrant treat: rose petal jelly

This year's rose crop was excellent (even the deer thought so :P ); it was a very good year for rose petal jelly.  I took photos this year during jelly making, as the transformation is fairly striking.

The roses I use are primarily 'La Ville de Bruxelles', my favorite of my Damasks:

I remove the petals from the calyces, measure,

soak to rinse and remove rose beetles if there are any (none this year; the beneficial nematodes were a success!),
  and simmer. 

When the color and flavor have been extracted,

 (and how glorious the house smells while this is happening!),

I strain the petals, pressing the marc to extract the flavor.

and add lemon juice which revives the roses' color and corrects acidity for jelling.

There is a merest shimmery rainbow of essential oil floating on the surface, I tried to catch it in the photos but my camera (my mp3 player!) couldn't see it.

Then I finish the process with pectin, sugar, lids and rings, water bath and when cool, a pretty topper and label.  This year I found little satin roses to add for a whimsical touch, and to help color code my jams and jellies. 
As I believe gardening, and life really, should be about joy, and this was a great rose jelly year, I kept a couple of jars for my own pantry and for gifts; the rest I'll sell at market.