A taste of roses for Herbfest – Rose 2012 herb of the year

by TeaLady on July 27, 2012

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The rose is the flower chosen by the International Herb Association for the 2012 Herb of the Year. The rose can be hearty, wild and prolific like the provincial flower of Alberta, or as spoiled and fragile as a variegated hybrid tea rose. Either way, there is no mistaking the scent, the tight buds, the slightly curled petal unfurled or the honour given to the thing in florist circles and amateur horticulteralist gardens.
Is there indeed a flower such as rose which has been the muse for so much poetry, song and inspiration? Is there one which more aptly represents the delicate, sweet and fickle nature of love or friendship?

The colours in your bouquet are generally accepted to relay different messages like passion, devotion and love in the case of red roses, friendship and forgiveness in the case of yellow roses; gratitude can be expressed with an extension of pink roses and the white rose represents bridal happiness and innocence.

Did you know that rose essential oil is so rare and requires so many flowers that it fetches a price of $25-$45 per ml? If you are purchasing rose oil that is much less costly, you can be sure that it is in a carrier oil; don’t be duped.

Luckily we can grow roses and there are ways to enjoy the essence of them in our very own kitchens:

  • Prepare rose butter by mixing a half-cup to 1 cup of chopped rose petals in a cup of sweet unsalted butter. Let the blend stand at room temperature for 24 hours, then mix again and refrigerate to fully flavour the butter. This can be rolled into tubes wrapped in wax paper and frozen to easily take out and slice into pretty little circles. Serve on fresh scones, biscuits, pancakes.
  • Infuse rose water by adding 2 cups rose petals to 1 quart water. Bring to a gentle boil, then turn off heat and let cool. Filter out the rose petals and bottle the water. Refrigerate the water for use in ice cubes or tea or mixed in equal parts with honey for a dessert syrup.
  • Rose Sugar is easy to make. Seal fresh rose petals into a glass jar with sugar and leave for at least three weeks to infuse the scent into the sugar. After this you can even dampen the sugar with a spray bottle of water (or rose water) and press it into tiny heart shaped ice cube or chocolate moulds to make rosy sugar hearts.

Rosebuds and rose petals are found in herbal teas and black teas around the world and they have long been used to soothe emotional turmoil and ease heartache….as well as numerous other claims upon the body. We do know in fact that rose-hips, the dried bright red pod left after the flower is finished blooming, have an incredible amount of vitamin C. Many of our grandmothers made rose-hip syrup or rose-hip jam and this was used to prevent colds.

The Herb Garden will be highlighting the herb of the year, rose, at the 17th Annual Herbfest on July 29th and are thrilled to present to you three local chefs who will be preparing a gourmet dish for our judges using the herb of the year. It should be positively divine. The Chef Cook Off is always great fun and things will surely be coming up roses for all three of them, and especially for the rose dish tasters at this fantastic event. Don’t Miss it!

as published in “The Humm” Summer 2012

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