Homemade rose syrup, how about that?
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!