I have been meaning to try this recipe out since last year, when I made Rose Hip Jelly. From the amount of Hips, I knew that were a tremendous amount of wild roses in ‘our back garden’ and wanted to make something yummy from them.
Sadly the weather here as been atrocious, we have loads, and I mean loads, of rain – oh and of course wind.. so trying to get out to collect the petals has been hard.
However, this weekend, we seemed to have had a break from the deluge with just the occasionally heavy shower. So I decided that I would go for it, and head out with ‘Madam’ I bravely put on my ‘wellies‘ and grabbed a bag and wandered up the avenue and behind the football pitch were I know there are a number of wild rose bushes.
I managed to fill approx a quarter of the bag, before the rain came again and we had to make a hasty retreat.
As I mentioned , the rose petals I managed to picked in the park are the wild variety, open and free, and while they do have a delicate fragrance they are not as aromatic as many of the garden ones, though I think there are as pretty.
However, I really wanted some of that strong Rose perfume, and I remembered that there were some stunning Roses, which were attempting to make their escape from the mundane and the tame, as I walked home from work.
These Roses were slowly working their way through the high hedgerow, which shielded an idle of 1970’s flats from the hustle and bustle of the trams. Once cultivated and refined, these musky ‘girls’ were tarting it up and flashing themselves to all who passed them by.
A real cacophony of come up and see/smell me some time for the unknowing passer by.
So with one large wet dog in tow and against the elements I bravely made a mad dash to see if I could ‘nab’ a few.
I managed to ‘pull’ a few heads before the torrents returned and finally beat us back.
However, when I finally got back into the warmth of the Lodge, I realised that perhaps there was not as many petals as I hoped, or the recipe required.
After a few minutes of thought, and a well earned cup of the ‘Earl’, I decided that I would bring them together them with another well known Jam making constituent, the Great British Strawberry. Now we do have wild Strawberries growing in the park, but they are not ready yet, so a dash to the local supermarket, where I found not only punnets of this wonderful British Soft Fruit, but they were reduced to.
I do love a bargain!
And so a marriage made in heaven began!
- 1 litre rose petals – as I mentioned I did not have 1 litre’s worth, I think perhaps just over a half a litre, so I substituted with…
- 500grams of strawberries, [or perhaps just over a half., have to admit that there was a little more, but the fruits were so juicy and tasted divine that I had to partake – it would have been rude not too!]
- 75mils of water
- juice of two lemons
- 1 kilo sugar [ you can use Jam Sugar, but I find that everyday granulated sugar works just as well, and it ‘s much cheaper]
- Before starting, place a saucer [or 2 or 3 ] in the freezer for testing the set of the cooked jam.
- Then prepare your jars – you can do this in four ways 1. pour boiling water on them [ obviously you would do this in the sink]; 2)put them in a low oven for half an hour; 3) fill them with just off the boil water and place in microwave and heats for 3-5 minutes, till the water is boiling, and then carefully empty down sink and leave to air dry on some kitchen roll’; 4. run them through a hot dishwasher cycle if you are lucky enough to have one [ I don’t!]
- Also remember to sterilise the lids too. I tend to put them in a pan cover with boiling water and let them stand for a few minutes
- Squeeze the juice from the 2 lemons and put to one side, as you will need it later!
- Remove the petals from the roses and wash under cold running water. [Now the recipe says that you need to cut off the bitter-tasting white base from each petal, but as I was using wild roses I didn’t need to do this as they petals are not that big. I would suggest you do this if you are using ‘garden’ roses – or bought roses].
- Check for insects! [I know sounds yucky but be worse if you found an earwig in your jam ! ]
- Put the petals in a saucepan with a 75mils of water of water, and bring it to the boil. Turn the heat down and simmer for 15 minutes. [The petals will quickly loose their colour, and the water turns into a rather yucky shade of reddish-brown, although it is wonderfully scented. Fills the kitchen beautifully.]
- After 15 minutes strain the juice into a glass bowl and let it cool down.
- Now hull and halve the strawberries. [ See above] and place in large good size and heavy pan. [A preserving pan is great if you have one, but if not just your biggest and deepest pan will do. it needs to be deep for jam making. Mine is my pasta pan, I bought when in Italy many years ago – but am planning on buying a preserving pan this summer as I have lots of plans!!]
- Add the sugar and place pan on a low heat, keep stirring while the sugar dissolves slowly, making sure the the sugar does not catch and burn on the bottom of the pan.
- Next you add the juice of the 2 lemons to the cooled Petal juice, and watch as magic happens before your very eyes. – the yucky brown suddenly becomes a beautiful pink. Pour this back into the pan,with the strawberries and sugar. Bring to a rolling boil for 10 minutes. [ a rolling boil is the point in boiling where stirring the pot has no calming effect on the bubbles, you can put a wooden spoon in and it won’t stop or calm it].
- After 10 minutes get one of your saucers from the freezer and take the jam of the heat. Pop a tea spoon of the jam onto the saucer and wait for a minute. if the jam is set it will ‘wrinkle’ on the plate when you push it with you finger. – if your not sure what I mean check out here for what is called the ‘wrinkle test’
- if it doesn’t ‘wrinkle’, then pop it back on the heat and bring it back to a rolling boil for 3-5 more minutes and test again. Rememberer that too much boiling can kill the pectin. [If you have a jam thermometer will help at this stage, if not then it’s practice I’m afraid! ]
- When ‘set, take of the heat and let it cool for 15ms before filling your prepared jars.
- Cover with wax disc, and pop on the lids . the jam will still be warm surprisingly and the heat helps to seal the jars.
I managed to get 4 x 1/2 lb jars out of the above recipe, but there are only 3 pictured as my daughter and her boyfriend turned up half way through and
stole took a jar home with them.
I have to say, that this jam taste heavenly, it’s light and delicately fragrant.
And Yes that is the real colour, I know it’s Pink – very Pink, but very beautiful!
It would be lovely on fresh home made scones*, with some clotted cream for a real English Summer Afternoon Cream Tea…the only decision will be the Cornish way or Devon?
I am going to experiment with this Jam, with different kinds of Roses, colour and fragrances, I will of course keep you updated.
If you have a go I would love to hear how you got on and what you think.