Homemade Rose Syrup, Rose Jam, and Rose Drink Concentrate

June 26, 2012

in Appetizers & Misc., Desserts, Drinks, Preserving, Recipes, Russian & Azerbaijani

Homemade rose syrup, how about that?

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Rose, or “golden flower” in Azerbaijani, is traditionally used as flavoring and jam material in both my native Azerbaijan and the surrounding countries, and both rose water and rose syrup can be purchased from Middle-Eastern ethnic grocers. Being the kind of snob person that I am, I made a batch of homemade earlier this summer with the petals of the incredibly-fragrant roses from my prolific climbing bush, thereby bypassing the shipping charges and the potential preservatives. The results were simply spectacular, if I do say so myself.

How is one to use rose syrup, you might wonder? In a variety of ways! You can pour it over your pancakes, use it as a mild sweetener, drizzle it over ice-cream, or reduce it to the soft-ball stage for some rose-flavored French buttercream.

Myself, I envisioned it as a kind of a drink concentrate that could be added in small quantities to a pitcher of water I put on the table at suppertime, much like throwing in cucumber slices or lime wedges or a bunch of mint. My kids absolutely love this “roseberry juice.”

As far as preparation, the process couldn’t be more straightforward – just pick a few handfuls of unsprayed rose petals, throw them in a pot with sugar and water, bring everything to a simmer and cook for about five minutes before adding lemon juice (important for both the color and the flavor!), removing from heat, and allowing everything to infuse overnight. All you have to do the next day is strain it.

Alternatively, you could leave the petals in and reduce the syrup-petal mixture to a spreadable consistency, giving you rose jam. Although I haven’t done it this time, the taste of rose jam is still one of my most persistent childhood food memories.

If, after straining your syrup, you decide that you would like it a little more viscous, simply put it back in the pan and reduce it to your desired consistency (just remember that hot syrups and jams are much thinner than they would be after cooling – run a freezer test by drizzling a small amount onto a plate and sticking the plate in the freezer for a few minutes to cool it quickly and give you an idea of the final result).

While the absolute exact proportions are less important than the method itself, here is what I used:

  • approximately 3 cups loose, unsprayed rose petals
  • 5 cups cold water
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

Just follow the above directions and enjoy!

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Don June 26, 2012 at 8:31 pm

Well, I might be willing to give this a go if I could get my hands on that much rose petals. The one bush outside my front door is bare and the other one might have a cup or so of pink petals, and I am guessing that red petals are preferred. But why so much sugar? It sounds more like home made Kool-aid. That is a lot of sugar. Is it necessary in that quantity to preserve or extract?

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2 Rhonda June 30, 2012 at 7:20 am

Jellies and Jams take alot of sugar. I was wondering if you could buy roses at the florist or if they have pesticides on those?

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3 Sofya June 30, 2012 at 11:16 am

I would say not. Roses from a florist will not only be sprayed, they will not be as fragrant (and what you need the most is fragrance) as they are bred for looks rather than smell, and they are shipped from far away. You need fresh (as in picked today), local roses – fragrant climbers are great because there are lots of roses on those bushes – they don’t need to be big roses or tea roses and it’s fine if they are not red – white or anything should be fine, as long as the fragrance is strong.

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4 Sofya June 26, 2012 at 9:42 pm

Because this is a syrup whose purpose is to sweeten rather than merely preserve, but the exact amount of sugar is really up to you. My rose bush I made this with has pink petals, not red. Pink is fine. The rose in the photo is from a different bush.

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