When it comes to roses, many gardeners either love them or hate them. Prone to disease and covered with sharp, spiky thorns, I can definitely understand why some flower growers avoid this plant at all costs. Still, the plants produce a profusion of brightly colored and highly scented blooms.
Roses in the Garden
Growing as a shrub or delicately climbing over arched trellises, established rose bushes are a sure thing of beauty. In my personal opinion, every garden should have at least one rose. While most rose bushes are grown for their ornamental value, many lose sight of the fact that roses are actually quite multifunctional.
In my urban backyard, I have a very small planting of roses. Like so many others, I had initially purchased the plants as ornamentals. As a cut flower grower, I knew that the long stemmed roses would look beautiful in a vase. As the plants became more established, I soon found that I had more blooms than I could pick for vases. I started looking for additional ways to utilize the flower petals.
How to Use Edible Rose Petals
Luckily for me, I would soon learn that many rose types are prized for their culinary use. Using edible rose petals to create unique garden recipes would soon be one of my newest interests. Anytime you’re cooking with plants from the garden, proper research will be imperative. This means learning more about edible plant species, edible plant parts, learning to properly prepare the plant, and determining which varieties will taste best. This is especially true in my experience with roses.
While some rose petal varieties have flavors that are vibrant and robust, others may taste very bitter. Properly prepared petals can add bright color to salads or even be crafted into delicate jams and jellies. Those with a sweet tooth may find that garden recipes such as rose petal sorbet or rose pistachio cake may be more to their taste.
Whether crafting a sweet or savory dish, safety is always a necessity when cooking with plants from the garden. Rose petals from a florist should NEVER be used in any recipe. These flowers have been treated with harmful, potentially dangerous chemicals that should not be consumed. If using rose petals in the kitchen, only use those which have been grown organically and without treatment of any kind. After harvest, petals will also need to be washed thoroughly before use.