It’s summertime in Alaska and the wild roses are in full bloom. Last week my friend Kelly and I tried to make dandelion jelly and we added some wild roses on a whim. Unfortunately we didn’t follow the pectin directions so we ended up with dandelion syrup.
We weren’t discouraged and we tried again, but this time we just used rose blossoms. What we came up with was a delicate, sweet, fragrant treat that we can’t wait to spread on toast for the rest of the year.
Here’s how we made it.
1 quart tightly packed wild roses, free of pesticides
4 Tbs. freshly squeezed lemon juice
4 cups water
1/4 cup edible rose water (found at specialty grocery stores)
7 cups sugar
1/2 tsp. butter
2 packets liquid pectin
1-2 drops red food coloring (optional)
Pick the entire bud of each rose. Try to pick buds that are free of bugs. Rinse roses and remove any dirt. Reserve 8 whole buds for garnishing. Place roses in a saucepan with the water and rose water. Bring to a rolling boil then remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring a gigantic stockpot of water to a boil. This is for the sealing process.
Strain the rose liquid into a quart-sized measuring cup using a wire mesh strainer. Press the flowers with a wooden spoon to get out as much liquid as possible. Stir in the food coloring. Measure exactly 3.5 cups of the liquid and pour back into saucepan. Stir in the lemon juice, butter and sugar and bring mixture to a rolling boil, stirring frequently.
Once liquid is at a rolling boil that doesn’t stop bubbling if stirred, quickly stir in the pectin packets. Return to a full boil for exactly one minute, stirring constantly.
Remove from heat and quickly ladle liquid into jars, leaving 1/8-inch space from the top. Wipe the rims and threads with a damp cloth to remove excess liquid. Lightly set a rosebud on the jelly before sealing. Make sure the jar tops are totally dry. Seal the jars tightly.
Place the jars in the giant pot of boiling water and boil for five minutes. Remove jars and set them on a kitchen towel. Let cool unrefrigerated for 24 hours. Jars will keep for one year if sealed and three weeks once opened.