Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Goodness Rose

Since I sold my house nearly two years ago, there have been many things I've missed: having two compost bins, having a private backyard with clotheslines, and having several gorgeous perennials to enchant me anew each year.

My favorite, of course, was the pair of rambling rosebushes outside my back door. Their deep red velvety petals with a tinge of vibrant cherry pink, their spicy fragrance, and their abundance always signaled to me the start of an excellent growing season in my garden.

Not only did I appreciate their visual beauty, though -- I also loved to eat them. Whether I steeped petals in a sugar syrup to add to homemade sodas, simmered petals with berries for jam, or dried the flowers and added the petals to tea or baked goods, those roses had a welcome place in my kitchen.

This year, I've been fortunate to find a source for those same lush scarlet blossoms, unsprayed and running rampant, under the care of none other than the Renaissance Man. (My hero!)

Seeing the canes growing earlier this spring behind his house, I naturally asked him about them and was rewarded with the answers I wanted to hear -- including the invitation to pick as many as I liked.

I don't need to be asked twice.

Last evening, with the sun shining brilliantly on them, the roses had opened in a first wave of bloom, so I headed out with a bowl and plucked all the full-blown flowers.

As we watched a movie, I took meticulous care in pulling the petals from each rose, arranging them on a couple of plates and a cookie sheet and setting them on the sunny back porch to dry.

Today when I stopped by in the rain, yet another round of blossoms had unfurled, so I picked all of those in the hopes of shredding the petals and covering them with sugar, the prelude to a harmonious sweet syrup.

I saved a few for baking, clipping the petals into a tender scone dough, and enjoyed rose petal scones dusted with rose geranium sugar for tea time.

How many different dishes can I possibly make from this year's round of roses in bloom? There are cakes and cookies and salads and savory dishes and even an exotic sharbat to sample. How will I try them all?

Goodness knows... but I'm going to give it my best effort.

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At 6/04/2008 11:23 AM, Anonymous Janet said...

I have an oversize rose bush that I don't like all that much. Too big, too spiny, and too prone to creating babies. You're making me look at it with new eyes, although its blooms are just about spent for this year. Next year, though, look out!

At 6/04/2008 11:25 AM, Blogger The Baklava Queen said...

What can I say, Janet? I see food almost anywhere. Except maybe for those snails you're dealing with... ;-)

At 6/04/2008 9:16 PM, Blogger Tina said...

I recently finished the rose hip jam I picked up while visiting you last spring. It was a very sad day indeed.

At 6/05/2008 7:05 AM, Blogger The Baklava Queen said...

Oh, Tina, that is sad... but a good way to celebrate your birthday! :-) Now, if only these roses produced hips I could use for cooking...


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