Wednesday, June 8, 2016

A "Rosey" Beginning

I have been trying to sit down for weeks to get this written. We had a few extra twists in our world the last few weeks, and then of course the weather got nice, and it was time to get into the gardens. Never a dull moment!!

My roses exploded this year with buds, and I have so many flowers I am literally doing everything, and trying everything, I have ever wanted to do or try, with my roses!

Yesterday I posted a picture on IG of my Rose Petal Sugar and how I make mine. Last year, I made a super yummy Lavender Mint Sugar. Same process, just different flowers and leaves. In a few weeks the Lavender will bloom and I’ll have a recipe for Lavender Mint Lemonade to share with you!!

The most important thing to remember when you are consuming fresh flowers and herbs – be sure they haven’t been sprayed with anything! While you may not want to have aphids, you also don’t want to eat poison. Plus, I’m sure it would ruin the flavor!

I also encourage you to visit the library (I am a former Library Director so I always pick books over google!), and check out some books on edible flowers. There are so many that you can eat, or eat part of. It is a fun way to plan your flower gardens, and a great summer learning project with your kids. (I am a big believer in ‘accidentally’ adding education to everything – that would be the homeschooler in me!)

Here are some other fun facts about using roses. Rosary beads were originally (insert ‘way back in the day’) made using crushed rose petals, which became almost a clay when processed correctly. I have a recipe for making my own rosary beads, and it uses SO many rose petals!! This is on my list to try for the year. I’ve never had enough petals to do this, so this is the year!! If successful, I’ll have a few available in the shop!

You can add unsprayed rose petals to your tea, your bath water, and your face! Roses are great for skin as it begins maturing, as they actually help fight the aging process. Roses are okay with combination skin, but work the best with over 25 skin.

One of my other plans for this year – a small jar of rose petal honey. I have locally grown honey available to me, so I plan on placing about a cup of honey into a small canning jar, mixing in my fresh petals, and letting them sit for a week or so. Not sure how it will turn out, but will keep you posted.

You have two options for drying your roses. Either cut long stems and hang them upside down to dry, blooms intact, OR, you can pluck the petals when fresh, and lay in a single layer on a paper towel, out of the sun, in a cool room in your home. You can also try a preservation method I have never used, but have heard works great – place stems in glycerin, in a vase. The roses suck up the glycerin as they would water, and it is supposed to keep the flowers softer and suppler during the drying process. This is perfect for drying roses for use in bouquets, floral arrangements, etc… DO NOT eat these roses! (The exception would be if you used the edible glycerin found in some specialty and health food stores.)

Since all my rose bushes produce rose hips, which are the fruit of the rose, I have always left tons of flowers behind. This year, I am trying something different, I am going to pull the petals off without cutting the whole flower from the plant. My hope is this will actually hurry along the hip formation, so I will have some fruit to harvest sooner this summer, and they will be better. We shall see!

I am off to do more harvesting! Be sure to follow me on IG & FB for pics and some extra tips throughout the week. 

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