By Sarah Watson, Forager, Wild Feast
All rose petals are edible, but when collecting rose petals for syrup, choose a fragrant rose variety that hasn’t been sprayed with chemicals. Japanese rose (Rosa rugosa) is ideal as it’s naturalised in the wild but is a non-native, robust shrub that can be quite invasive.
Pick flowers that have recently opened and look fresh and clean. Take only the petals –
leaving the rest of the flower means rosehips may still be produced later in the year. Laying the petals
on a tray outdoors for around half an hour should allow any lingering insects to escape.
Makes a small bottle of syrup
- A handful of rose petals
- 500g sugar
- 400ml water
- Half a lemon, zested and juiced
Layer several handfuls of fresh rose petals with 500g of white, granulated sugar. Massage the rose
petals gently with the sugar until they start to soften and bruise. Cover and leave for two to four days.
Add the sugar and petals to a pan with 400ml water and the lemon zest. Gently heat the liquid, stirring gently until the sugar dissolves. Strain through a fine sieve (you could dry the leftover sugary petals to use later), bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes or so, until the syrup thickens a little. Then just before taking the pan off the heat, add the strained juice of half a lemon and stir.
Funnel into a sterilised bottle and seal. Once opened, store in the fridge and use within a couple of weeks.