When we moved to our new home, one of the first fantastic things to greet us was the yearly blooming of our wild rose bushes. They cover and protect the front of our home from northern winds, fill the air with the sumptuous scent that only wild roses carry, and they also provide me with petals for making a wonderfully floral, sweet, Victorian treat.
One of the most important aspects of wild rose jelly is the quality of the roses. They must all be picked on the day you intend to use them. Processing requires picking, washing thoroughly and extracting the essence from the petals. To do the latter, simmer the petals in boiling water for 15 minutes — a ratio of about 6 cups of petals to 4 cups of water should do — take off the heat, cool, and strain through a cheesecloth into a bowl. You could also use a steam juicer to extract the goodness without having to strain.
The rose water can be covered and stored for up to 3 days in the refrigerator. Here’s my Wild Rose Jelly Recipe:
4 cups wild rose water
1 package fruit pectin
2 tbsp lemon juice
5 1/2 cups sugar
Prepare jars, lids and rings for canning. Whisk rose water, pectin and the lemon juice in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil. Add sugar and return to a full rolling boil. Boil hard for 1 minute. Remove from heat and skim off foam. Put into jars and process in a water bath canner for 10 minutes for either half-pint or pint jars. Makes about 3 pints or 6 half pints of jelly.
My daughter eats this on toast. I love it with fresh chèvre or aged extra-sharp cheddar and crackers.
Catalone Gut, Nova Scotia