When we’re in England, we spend a lot of time at my in-laws’ house in the countryside. It’s an old oast house, and my husband says that judging by the plumbing it was built in 200 BC. It’s also rumored to be haunted, which freaks me out, because you know that some old 16th century English ghost is going to take a look at me and go, “Hey look! A Chinese person! I want to talk to her!”
At the oast house lives a dog, Musty. My kids beg me 382.7 times a day on average for a dog, and when we’re over they make it their personal mission to be Musty’s personal trainer, working with him for 90% of the day. They start with a morning run through the fields, during which Musty is required to fetch sticks through wheat, streams and over equestrian-type obstacles.
Here, my father-in-law Chris observes a never-ending game of fetch, shortly before Musty begged for mercy.
I write about Musty to offer these quality personal training services to your dogs. I’m not ready to commit to a pet, so it would be a great help if there are canine volunteers out there looking for some endurance training.
One thing you see a lot of in English gardens is roses.
And these flowers, whose name I forget, so I’m just going to call them St. Agnes Himmyhocks, because it just feels right.
My mother-in-law, Georgina, who is as famous as I am usually famished, had an idea that we should make rose petal jam with the roses in the garden. So she and the girls went around the garden and gathered petals.
They smelled soooo good.
Start by prepping a syrup of sugar, water and lemon juice and let it boil down until syrupy.
Throw in the rose petals — we had mostly pink but some blue (violet) roses which added some nice color — and let them boil 20 minutes.
Once we were done boiling we found that the petals were still rubbery, so Georgie ended up fishing them out of the jam.
I know, that’s not really the right picture for what I just said, but I didn’t get a picture of that.
The result? A brilliant violet-colored jam that tastes like it smells — a wonderful combination of the sweetness of roses and the brightness of lemon. Up top you can see that I had it drizzled over vanilla ice cream with raspberries on top…divine!
There are a number of different recipes online for rose petal jam, some of which involve soaking the petals in advance, or coating them with sugar overnight — they may result in softer petals and perhaps you would be able to leave them in. We haven’t yet experimented with those. But this one was lovely all the same. See how happy Georgina is with the jam?
ROSE PETAL JAM
- 1/2 lb rose petals, rinsed, brown petals removed
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 1/2 cups water
- Juice of 2 lemons
- 3 1/2 TBSP pectin
Combine water, sugar and lemon juice and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add in pectin and simmer for 2-3 minutes longer.
Add in rose petals and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Jam will begin to take on the color of the petals. With a slotted spoon, fish out petals, pour jam into jars allowing room for expansion, and cover with jar lid. Allow to cool and use or freeze (tip: if you freeze, use only jam jars with straight sides to avoid glass breakage from jam expansion).
Makes 2 1/2 – 3 jars.
Anyone else experiment with rose jam? Would love to hear your suggestions!