Happy Valentine’s Day!!
If you’re lucky, you may receive roses from your Sweetie for Valentine’s Day. They’re such a traditional and classic gift and I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like receiving roses. At least no one I know has complained to me about it. While lovely, like all cut flowers, they eventually wilt and die. If we’re quick, we can pull them out of the water before they’re past the point of no return, hang them upside-down, and dry them in bouquet-form quite successfully. Alas, I’m seldom that on top of things. I’m sure I’m not alone in having dead little roses bent all kitty-wampus at the neck. Such sad little guys. At that point I usually pull the petals off them and tuck them away. There’s all kinds of things you can use them for:
– put them in potpourri
– simmer them in a pot of water on the stove or float in a warming-pot
– crush them up and make rose beads
– use as confetti
– use in bath salts, bath teas, in soaps
– add to homemade paper: see below
I found this adorable fan online: you can find it HERE
Of course, if you’re on top of things, you can get those beautiful petals before they start to dry out. Use them like this:
– as packing material for a gift
– tuck inside a card or envelope
– tuck a few into your sweetie’s packed lunch or coat pocket
– write a message on a bed, scatter on pillows, or tuck into pillowcases
– float in a bowl with some candles and glitter
– hide inside the book your honey is reading
– float in a bath
– garnish a salad or dessert (use only pesticide free petals)
But my all-time favorite use for rose petals is to make Rosewater out of them. Not only does Rosewater smell divine, it’s an amazing light astringent and can be used as a flavouring in edible delicacies. To make Rosewater, it is important to use either roses you’ve grown yourself that are pesticide and chemical-free or to work with your florist to ensure that the petals will be contaminant free.
You will need a small canner with a jar rack and a curved-top lid.
Place the jar rack on the bottom of the canner and add fresh rose petals up to the level of the top of the rack. Add distilled water just until the petals are covered with water. Place a shallow bowl on top of the rack, making sure it is steady and stable. Bring the water to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Invert the lid and place it on top of the canner. If it doesn’t seal well because it’s bent or warped, you can use a wide aluminum bowl, double-boiler style, but it must curve down over top of the shallow bowl beneath. Fill the lid or bowl with ice. As the rose-steam rises it will hit the cold lid, condense, and drip into the bowl inside the pot. Every 10 minutes or so, quickly lift the lid and pull the bowl out to remove the Rosewater. Replenish the ice when it melts. Do this until the distillate no longer smells of heavenly roses. Often, after an hour or so all you’re getting is faintly-scented distilled water, and you don’t want that. Keep your Rosewater in the fridge and it will last a very long time. I add a capsule of vitamin e to mine to keep any rose oil from going rancid. This Rosewater is lovely in facials, skin creams, and yes, even in Indian, Jamican, Persian and Middle Eastern food. I love it in icing on pretty pink cupcakes with a sugared rose petal on top.
So, if some total sweetheart gifted you with roses this Valentine’s Day, don’t just let them fade slowly away….DO something with them. Come on….you can do it. Just Make That Mess!