Rose petals are very common in South Asian, Middle Eastern, and Iranian cuisines. Since culinary art is in existence, floral ingredients are being used in preparing dishes, especially desserts. Rose petals are one such floral ingredient that is highly used in culinary art.
From fresh to dried, rose petals are being used as a flavour and garnishing ingredient. There’s no doubt in asserting that rose petals are used as a staple garnishing agent and centrepiece of the dishes, making them look appetizing. It helps in adding the needed colour and texture to the platter.
While roses are undoubtedly a unique interior décor item, you should definitely bring them to the kitchen and give your platter an appealing makeover.
History of Rose Petals
Edible rose petals were originally used in ancient Egypt, but it is believed that rose plants were first found in Asia. The Chinese seem to have cultivated rose plants almost 5,000 years ago. The petals were also popular in Greece and Rome, with rose oil being used as a perfume for wealthy Romans as well as in medicinal form. Romans also considered the addition of rose petals to wine instrumental to the prevention of drunkenness.
Persian cuisine has made of rose petals for over 3,000 years. Along with various Persian staples, rose petals were adopted across the Middle East after the Arabs conquered Persia. Eventually, its uses have been found in Chinese and Indian cuisines as well.
Selecting Your Roses For Cooking
As mentioned earlier, every rose is edible, which means you can use any variety of roses in cooking. All you need to do is search where to buy rose petals. But, it is essential to understand that some of the roses have a distinctive flavour than the others. So, you need to select the rose according to the dish you are preparing and the flavours you want to add in them. For instance, more fragrant roses can bring more flavour to your meals.
Damask roses are known for their powerful fragrance. These roses are being long used in scents, oils, and rose water. Rosa Rugosa, garden roses, and heirloom roses are also great to pick for preparing your delights. You can also pick pink, yellow, and white roses as well for extra flavour and fragrance.
Various Health Benefits
Rose petals are not used just for the addition of flavour, but for nutrition as well. They can increase quantities of the following nutrients in your diet:
- Minerals– Potassium and calcium are commonly found in rose petals
- Vitamins– The vitamins E, D, and A are present in rose petals. Along with this, B vitamins such as B3 are also present.
- Antioxidants– Important antioxidants such as quercetin and myrcene are present. Even vitamin C, which has several beneficial antioxidants, is a part of rose petals.
- Traditional medicines– Rose petals are valuable traditional medicines for:
- Heavy periods and menstrual pain
- Respiratory problems such as bronchitis
- Strengthen the immune system
Dried rose petals are suitable for lending delightful fragrances to satin sachets and potpourri. They can also be used for creating romantic confetti at weddings and for adding colour to interior decorations. The petals can easily be stored in glass jars for long periods of time, although care needs to be taken to prevent insects from getting in. Also make sure they are not stored in direct sunlight.
Preparing Your Roses For Cooking
Though you can use any rose for cooking, you need to make them differently. For instance, the wild roses and garden roses need to be plucked in the mid-morning. Before using the rose petal for cooking, you have to clip off the white portion at the bottom of each petal. This white portion of the petal is generally bitter and can ruin the flavour of your entire dish. After cutting it off, wash the rose petals gently and lay them on a dry towel. If you want to use the rose petals fresh, you would need to use them within two hours of washing them.
Infuse Beverages with Rose:
Bring alive your lemonade, iced tea, and juices by adding rose petals. They bring a subtle floral taste that is sure to linger on your mind for a long time. Just muddle the rose petals for releasing the flavours and str them to make a refreshing and fruity beverage. Create a delicious punch by freezing rose petals into ice cubes. You can also prepare a delicious cup of rose tea by steeping dried rose petals in hot water.
Make a Simple Syrup:
Did you know that making rose syrup is extremely easy and delicious? Mix sugar and water in equal parts and bring them to boil. Stir until sugar completely dissolves and add dried rose petals to the mix. Remove it from the heat and allow the mix to steep for about ten minutes. Use a fine sifter to strain out the rose petals and let the syrup cool. Your rose syrup is ready to be used with teas, cocktail, and lemonade.
Make a floral sugar by using rose petals with sugar. Pour this sugar into a covered tin and let it rest in a cool, dark place for about a week. Sift the mix and enjoy this sugar with tea or use it as a sprinkle on your sugar cookies.
Make Pure Rose Water:
It is needless to say that rose-infused water is a delightful addition for any sweet or savoury dish. You can incorporate the floral flavours of edible rose petals into your sponge cakes, custard, or other desserts.
Making rose water is a simple process. All you need is clean and pesticide-free pink rose petals and distilled water to make it in your kitchen. Home-made rose water remains fresh, and you can choose your favourite variety of rose to use in it.
Prepare Rose Petal Jam:
From afternoon tea time to holiday platter, rose petal jam is a classic recipe. Spread this jam over your cookies, crackers, or biscuits for a burst of floral flavour into your mouth. With simple ingredients, you can make your rose petal jam. In Indian subcontinent, it is traditionally prepared as Gulkand that uses pink rose petals with white sugar.
For better fermentation, place the jar of unprepared jam in a sunny place where the mixture can ferment for 8-10 days. It produces a creamy consistency in a jam. Once you prepare the jam, keep it in an air-tight jar.
What Rose Petals Go With:
Rose petals pair well with saffron, dried apricots, honey, coffee, and cardamom. Rose flavouring works well with desserts like semolina puddings and almond sponges. Rose-flavoured food like Turkish delight is popular all across the globe. You will also find dried rose petals in the North African spice mix ras el hanout. Rose petals make an appearance in sweetened rice dishes, wedding cakes, and a classic English afternoon tea.
Rose petals can also be added to cocktails, refreshing rosewater, or to a festive rose punch. ‘Potli masala’, used to prepare a number of several Hyderabadi dishes, makes use of rose petals.
Demonstrate Your Creativity:
You can demonstrate your culinary prowess by using rose petals in the following ways:
- Rose tea- Dry rose petals can be steeped in hot water to prepare a delightful rose tea
- Rose butter-Here you need to chop rose petals and incorporate them into softened butter. The butter should be packed into a ramekin and then chilled before serving. This butter is perfect for crackers, biscuits, crackers, and fruity muffins.
- Use in granola-Add dry rose petals into a sweet granola mix that consists of apricots, honey, and dried cranberries. Pair it with yogurt and turn it into a healthy snack.
- Rose water-Make use of rose-infused water for lending rose flavour to sponge cakes, custards, and a number of baked goods
The Bottom Line
It is rightly said that the first impression is the best impression, and that rightly fruits in the case of dishes. The presentation of the dish creates a significant difference in the appetizing quotient of your meal. After preparing the dish with utmost dedication, you need to spend a considerable amount of time in garnishing. The above mentioned were some of the ways in which you can use edible roe petals in your kitchen.