Right now is the perfect time to use roses in some creative dishes. My roses are in full bloom at the moment. Every time I walk by them, I get a whiff of their romantic scent. There are countless opportunities to use rose petals in the kitchen. I’m going to share a few, and I hope you can try one or more. You will not regret the delicate flavor adventure roses can offer.
The great thing about cooking with roses is you can use any variety of rose. You do not have to look for a specific breed. Just head outside and start plucking some fresh petals. The only caution here is that you don’t want to use petals from a plant sprayed with pesticides. The more fragrant the bloom, the better taste you will have.
Once you have a basket full of yummy roses, you will want to remove any white area where the petal came off the plant. These areas are bitter and can throw off the flavor profile of your tasty creations. The extra work is well worth the result.
Rose Tea and Rosewater
Rose tea is a gentle and soothing beverage that can boost your mood and quiet your nerves. You can make it as bold as you like – however you make it, you will love it.
To make rosewater: add 1 part fresh petals to 3 parts water in a saucepan, cover and bring to a boil. Simmer until the petals have lost their color and then remove from heat and let cool completely. Once the rosewater is cold, strain through cheesecloth to catch the petals. Store in a glass bottle. The rosewater will keep longer if stored in the refrigerator.
To make rose tea: You will follow the same recipe as above, except you will skip the cooling step, strain the rose water into a mug, and enjoy.
See below for how to incorporate rosewater into your baked good.
The great thing about rosewater is you can use it for more than an addition to cakes or tea. It works great for sunburn relief and as a skin toner.
Now, take that rosewater you just made and substitute water used in the recipe for the rosewater. Add to cakes, cookies, bars, whatever makes your inner music play.
You can also decorate your baked good with rose petals. Adding rose petals to your baked goods will add romance and delicacy. You can add as few or as many as you like, and you don’t have to use only the petals. Try using small rosebuds on the bottom layer of a cake for something genuinely gorgeous.
Rose Infused Alcohol
If you are in the mood for a romantic and delicate sipping sensation, make rose-infused vodka. I did this last year, and it is yummy. Moreover, it is incredibly simple.
To make infused alcohol: Add rose petals to the bottom of a canning jar, and add the desired amount of vodka. Next, put a lid on the jar, shake it up good, and store it in a cool dark place. Continue to shake the contents every time you think about it – usually once a day. The infusion should be ready in a few weeks. I like to walk by and take a test taste every so often to see how the flavors are developing.
Rose sugar is unbelievably easy to make and delicious to bake with or sprinkle on cereal, wine glass rim, or anything you feel needs a romantic kick.
To make rose sugar: Layer petals and then sugar a few times in a glass jar, put a lid on it, and let sit for a few weeks. You will have fragrant, delicious sugar to adorn your creations.
Rose Petals on Salad
I eat salads a lot. However, every so often, I get a little bored with them. What better way to jazz up a boring salad than to add a few rose petals? Add some mandarin orange slices, strawberries, or blueberries along with the rose petals to make it even more magical.
I can think of nothing more delicate than spreading rose infused honey on a fresh, warm scone or biscuit. As with most of these recipes, making infused honey is truly easy.
To make rose honey: Fill a mason jar with fresh or dried rose petals, and then pour raw honey to cover the petals. Using a spoon, remove any air bubbles that developed. Add more honey if necessary, cover the jar and let the infusion work its magic for a few days. You can strain the petals from the honey, but you don’t have to.
Candied Rose Petals
Making candied rose petals is simple, and they are beautiful (and edible) garnish to anything. Add them to ice cream, drinks, cakes, or just pop them in your mouth.
To make candied rose petals:
Use an egg wash to cover both sides of each petal and then roll them gently in sugar. Lay them on parchment paper and let them sit overnight. That’s it.
These are just a few ways to use rose petals for cooking or baking. Have you used rose petals in your kitchen? Do you have some delicious recipes you would like to share? I would love to hear them.
Here we are with part two of our edible botanicals series. This week we are discussing something that I am passionate and excited about – lavender! Lavender is incredibly versatile. Its floral scent is calming, and its appearance adds romance and beauty to any dish. Lavender is perfect for drinks, baked goods, glazes, and as a garnish.
When cooking or baking with lavender look for the Munstead variety for the best flavor. You can use any variation of lavender, but each variety will give you a different taste outcome.
Baked goods are a great candidate for the addition of lavender. It is especially delicious as a pairing with citrus desserts. The lavender melds deliciously with citrus flavors – think lemon lavender pound cake, orange lavender shortbread. YUM.
There are a few things to think of when baking with lavender – you want to enjoy the floral flavor without chewing on the flower parts. The best way to grind up the flowers is to use a coffee grinder dedicated to herbs. The ground lavender can be mixed with the recipe’s allotment of sugar and combined that way. Alternatively, you may choose to make a syrup from your lavender (straining the flowers after the infusion is complete). The method depends on what you are making.
Pairing lavender with citrus flavors also reduces the impact of the strong lavender flavor. Lavender can easily overpower any dish, so use restraint when adding it to recipes that don’t have a guideline amount. When experimenting with adding lavender to recipes, start conservative and add more the next time you make the recipe, if necessary. No one wants to feel like they are eating straight lavender flowers.
The lavender sprig is a gorgeous addition to baked goods and meat dishes. Its scent can calm and ease stress, and its appearance is something that adds whimsey and delicacy. Adding decorative touches of lavender to cakes, drinks, and meat dishes can take the visual presentation of a plate up a level or two. Try this for your next dinner party or birthday event and wow your guests.
You can also utilize the leaves of the lavender plant to make your own Herbs de Provence to flavor potatoes, salmon, lamb, chicken or pork. Add dried lavender leaves with thyme, rosemary, sage, and oregano for a delicious homemade herb mixture. Bonus points if you grow each of the herbs in your garden and dry them yourself! The flavor and appearance of the herb mix will be worlds better than anything you can buy in the store.
Try adding dried lavender flowers or leaves to different sauces to make homemade meat glazes. You can add these to anything from chicken to salmon. You can use many different glaze mediums – honey, vinaigrette, butter, olive oil. Imagination and the lure to your tastebuds are your only limitations when it comes to cooking with lavender.
Lavender can even make drinks more exciting. You can dry your homegrown lavender to make a homemade hot tea blend. You can start with a simple syrup containing lavender and add to iced teas, lemonades, smoothies.
You can start your day with a lavender infused smoothie, and end it with a floral libation. You can make lavender infused vodka by adding ¼ cup lavender flowers per 750ml of vodka. Shake the mixture and put it in your freezer for four to seven days for a delicious alcohol infusion. Also, check out the Yummly website for tons of great lavender drink recipes. You will not regret it.
I hope you found some inspiration to add lavender to your diet. As we all know, lavender is fabulous for calming the body, but it also adds some great flavor to food and drink. Have you cooked or baked with lavender? If you have, I would love to hear what you thought of it.
Most people think dandelions are a weed – a nuisance that should be sprayed with weed killer and mowed over. However, there are some great reasons to let your dandelions grow, or at least harvest them from someplace other than your lawn. These little ‘weeds’ are full of flavor and vitamins.
Dandelions contain a vast amount of vitamins and minerals. Those include Vitamin C, calcium, Vitamin A, Vitamin K, potassium, folic acid, iron, magnesium, and fiber. It’s astonishing that we trash these loathed little plants, and treat them so poorly when they provide such benefits to our health.
One of the best things about the dandelion is - you can eat the entire plant – from the leaves, flowers, roots, and crowns. If you choose, you can gain benefits from every piece of the plant – and use each part in different dishes or applications.
Dandelion flowers are very versatile – you can make syrups, jellies, honey, vinegar, and wine. They can be used to make dandelion tea and added to salads.
The entire flower head(or crown) can not only provide nutritious elements, but it can also add a unique and exciting look to any dish. You can batter and fry the heads and use as a side dish or an edible garnish.
Dandelion leaves are a great addition to green salads. They can also be stir-fried with other veggies for a delicious and nutritious meal. Most people find the older leaves to have a bitter taste and prefer to use the small young leaves when eating them raw. You can remove some of the bitterness from older leaves by cooking them.
The roots can be roasted and used to make dandelion coffee. I suppose if the world runs out of coffee beans, I might resort to dandelion coffee, but until then, I think I will stick with what I know.
Do you cook with dandelions? I would love to learn how you utilize them in the kitchen!
*A word of caution – make sure you harvest your dandelions in an area that does not use weed killer or other pesticides or herbicides that can be harmful when ingested.
Perhaps you’ve heard of bergamot, and perhaps you haven’t. Bergamot comes from the rinds of the bergamot orange tree. It is used in Earl Grey tea, many perfumes, as well as skin care products. It has a spicy citrus scent and is a great option for beautiful skin and hair.
While bergamot has many healing properties which include reducing depression symptoms and increasing digestive functions, this article will focus more on the skin care aspects of bergamot.
Like so many other herbs and essential oils, bergamot contains antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that can benefit skin irritations and acne.
Bergamot is a great skin cleanser. You can find beauty products that contain bergamot or add some oil drops to the products you already own. It is best to use at night as bergamot can increase your skin’s photosensitivity.
If you suffer from oily skin and clogged pores, bergamot can help. It will remove the icky buildup in your pores and even out the oils in your skin.
Due to cicatrizant (a property that encourages healing) in bergamot, it is a natural scar healer. It can reduce the appearance of scars and works well to even out skin tone. If you have acne scars or dark spots on your skin, using the bergamot oil can make your skin tone even and youthful looking.
Bergamot is also an excellent oil for taming wild curls or frizzy hair. The oil will soften the hair and leave a gentle scent behind.
Add a few drops of bergamot oil to your shampoo and wash and condition as normal.
Always dilute bergamot oil with a carrier oil. Never apply directly to the skin. Some people can have a sensitivity or an allergic reaction to the oil.
It is always a good idea to spot check a small area on your arm before applying to the face to ensure you do not have a bad reaction to the oil.
Spot treatment for Acne
Mix bergamot oil with a carrier oil of your choice. I recommend Jojoba oil as it is great for Acne prone skin.
Apply bergamot mix directly to the pimple or blackhead.
Leave this on your skin overnight.
*Using it during the day can have ill effects if you expose your skin to sunlight.