KODIAK — Untamed cousin of the tea rose, wild rose bushes stand loose and raggedy along the front of our cabin.

I can see why English poets compare wild roses to the blushing innocence of young love, because for a moment of summer, wild roses are all magic.

Each pink bloom of five simple petals is skirted with tendrils as charming as lover’s ringlets. Bees cuddle the fuzzy yellow centers. Plucking a single petal, I see the outer edge is dipped and the roundness of the sides come to a pointed tip into a heart shape. I am enchanted until the rain comes. 

The hard drops beat fragile flowers to the ground like a ruined wedding. Then the empty tendril sits above a swollen green ovule. This develops over the late summer into a red orange hip holding seeds.

For use in the recipes below, collect wild rose petals or domestic roses that contain no pesticides.

Rose petal jelly

This jelly glows translucent pink with a subtle perfume. I give these away in tiny 4-ounce jars with a heart-shaped note explaining that I think the word ambrosia was created to describe the traditional gift between lovers in Greece.

1 cup rose petals (collect rose petals that contain no pesticides)

2 1/2 cups water

2 teaspoons lemon juice or 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

2 1/2 cups sugar

3 tablespoons or one half package of powdered fruit pectin

Prepare seven 4-ounce jars with lids, each holding about 1/4 cup, by washing in hot, soapy water, rinsing and pouring hot boiling water over them. Let stand in hot water until ready to fill with jelly.

Wash rose petals only if you have collected them from a dusty spot.

In a sauce pan with a lid, mash petals in water. Bring water to a boil.

Remove from heat and add lemon juice or vinegar. Cover and let stand for 10 minutes until the color washes out of the petals. Strain the liquid and measure.

You should have about 2 cups. Return liquid to the pan and add sugar. Return to boil.

Stir in pectin and stir and boil at a hard boil, one that can’t be stirred down, for 1 minute.

Skim off any foam that rises to the top.

Pour into sterilized glasses, seal or cover with paraffin. Store in refrigerator or process in a hot water bath described in the instructions in the package of pectin. 

In “Rose Recipes from Olden Times by Eleanor,” (Dover Publications, 1973) Sinclair Rohde had this idea for a romantic sandwich:

Wrap a stick of butter in rose petals then plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.

The next day, warm to room temperature, unwrap and spread this butter on fine textured sweet bread, layer on rose petal jelly and a petal or two. Serve with lemonade with rose petals frozen within the ice cubes.

Rose syrup

Rose syrup enhances berry compotes of raspberries, strawberries or salmonberries. It is luscious on peaches or nectarines. Add this syrup to whipping cream for flavor and fragrance.

1 1/2 cups water

3 tablespoons sugar

1 vanilla bean

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 cup rose petals (collect rose petals that contain no pesticides)

In a small sauce pan, scrape vanilla bean and drop scrapings and rest of bean into water and syrup.

Bring to boil and reduce to 1 cup. Remove bean. Add lemon juice.

Crush rose petals and add to hot liquid. Let set until cool. Strain the petals and reserve syrup.

This lasts for five days in refrigerator.

Rose vinegar

In this recipe, rose petals yield pale pink vinegar with a dreamy fragrance. Use in salads where the acid of vinegar isn’t associated with love. 

Place the following ingredients together in a wide-mouth jar, shake and set aside for three days.

1 cup rose petals (collect rose petals that contain no pesticides)

1 cup white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon sugar

After three days, strain out the rose petals and discard. Refrigerate the rose vinegar.

Rose vinaigrette for green salad

1 1/2 tablespoons rose vinegar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

3 tablespoons mild olive oil

Shake or whisk with a fork about 30 seconds. Use immediately or cover and refrigerate.

Mix or shake again before using 1/4 cup with 2 quarts of salad greens. Sprinkle a few fresh rose petals on the salad just before serving. 

Candied rose petals

Place crisp, fragrant candied rose petals on top of rhubarb dessert, simple vanilla pudding, or on top of whipping cream and chocolate cake. 

Choose a dozen perfect pink rose petals (collect rose petals that contain no pesticides)

Whip one egg white till foamy.

Dip rose petals one at a time in egg white, let drain a moment and drop in a bowl of granulated sugar.

Use fork to cover with sugar. Remove with fork and set on fine hardware cloth or  a sheet of parchment paper.

Let dry for two hours, turning over once or twice. I have put these in a warm oven to hurry the drying process. 

Ann Barker writes the blog “Wild Salmon Kitchen” from her home at Olga Bay. Visit her online at www.wildsalmonkitchen.com.

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