While your roses are prime, use the petals from some of the more fragrant varieties to make rose infused honey. Preserve the rose scent in honey for weeks, after the blossoms have faded. I used wild roses for this project, but you can use any fragrant roses that you have provided that you follow a few safety rules.
“Love is much like a wild rose, beautiful and calm, but willing to draw blood in its defense.” Mark Overby
Rose honey is a fragrant rose-infused honey that’s easy to make
There’s something wonderfully satisfying about visiting rose bushes in the early morning sunshine, just after the dew has dried when the fragrance of their booms is the richest. Your spirits lift, as you breathe deeply of the rose scent. Jangled nerves relax, your heart rate slows, and your spirit is refreshed as you pick.
Unfortunately many roses – especially the old fashioned fragrant types, only bloom once, in June. I wanted to save this fragrance and savor it all winter long, a treasured gift to remember summer.
Medicinal benefits of rose petals and rose honey
Roses are a relaxing nervine. They are mildly sedative and anti-inflammatory. They open and strengthen the heart, as many rose-family plants do, like hawthorn. While you can harvest and dry the closed rosebuds for tea, and the rose hips for syrup and jam, or even buy commercial rose water, this recipe uses freshly picked rose petals for a sweet infusion.
Roses have an important role in food, perfumery, and cosmetic industry. Besides this usage roses have other benefits. They are sedative, and relaxing. They have also been used for their styptic properties. They aid digestion with their mild bitterness supporting the liver. They are beneficial for skin support because of their anti-inflammatory properties. [source]. Aside from the medicinal properties, rose-infused honey is wonderful in tea, or by the spoonful, anytime you’d use honey.
Some rules to keep in mind when harvesting rose petals:
- Only use organic rose petals
- Don’t use roses that have been sprayed with any chemicals, pesticides, herbicides, even organic ones
- Don’t use roses from a florist – they are very heavily sprayed
- Pick the rose petals early in the morning as soon as the dew has dried
- Pick twice as much as you think you’ll need
- Don’t pick more than 1/3rd off of any single bush – leave some to make rose hips
- Preferably pick the petals before the rose has been visited by bees
How to make rose infused honey:
- 8 cups of fragrant rose petals, such as wild rose, rugosa roses, Persian roses, cottage roses, or fragrant heritage roses
- 4 cups of local, raw honey, warmed (do not microwave)
- 1-quart jar with lid
- Clean the rose petals of calyx and any leaves – you only want the petals. Compost the remaining calyx pieces.
- Remove any insects or weevils from your petals.
- Put the petals into the Mason jar.
- Push the petals down into the jar and add more until the jar is at least 3/4th’s full of firmly packed petals.
- Pour warmed honey over the rose petals in the jar.
- Stir well with chopsticks or a butter knife to remove any air pockets.
- Cap tightly. After several hours the rose petals will rise to the top of the jar. Stir them back into the honey and top up with more warmed honey, to completely cover the rose petals.
- Leave in a warm place for one month, stirring when you think of it.
After one month, strain the honey
After a month, gently warm the jar in a pot of hot (not boiling) water. This may take 30 minutes or more, depending on the number of crystals that have formed. Strain the warmed honey through a coarse sieve and into a clean jar. Be sure to press the rose petals to get any remaining honey out of them, you want to get every drop.
Cap the jar and your infused honey is ready to use.
The remaining petals will be sticky and full of some of the honey. I use these when making syrup for drink bases. So don’t toss them. Get every last drop of rosy goodness.
11 Ways to use rose-infused honey
- Use rose honey to sweeten hot tea
- Pour it over vanilla ice cream
- Sweeten whipped cream – 2 tsp per cup of heavy cream
- Spread rose petal honey on toast
- Have a tea party and serve infused honey with your afternoon tea (remember to spread a linen table cloth and serve it with your best china dishes)
- Just eat a spoonful when you are feeling anxious and depressed
- Stir it into hot oatmeal
- Mix rose honey and rose infused vinegar for a tasty salad dressing
- Drizzle over fresh strawberries and top with rose-infused honey-whipped cream (see above)
- Feed a spoonful to your children or grandchildren and watch their eyes light up when they taste it
- Heat and serve as a syrupy treat on crepes
How to use dried roses for rose flower honey:
If you can’t get fresh rose petals you can use dried. My two favorite sources for dried, organic herbs are Starwest Botanicals and Mountain Rose Herbs. They carry dried roses for tea, in their bulk herbs. If you are using dried roses fill the jar only half full, the dried rose flowers will expand and fill the jar.
Other ways to use roses for food and medicine:
Using roses for body care
How would you use this amazing gift of rose-infused honey in your pantry this winter?