Our nameless roses are in bloom. A few years ago I decided to see what would happen if I sowed seeds from rosehips collected from a red Rugosa in our garden. After some time, the tiny plants grew and these lovely blooms emerged, fragrant, healthy, and a crimson red. Not one plant was the same, we have pale pink dog roses, some that clearly came from Teas or Gallicas that grew nearby, and others that have the thorns and single petals of the mother Rugosa, and a white one too .... I was not very scientific in my methods ... merely curious! I grow them organically (no cosseting or tender care permitted, only the strongest may remain) and that enables me to happily use them in the kitchen.
This is a favourite seasonal recipe that I use for extending the taste and scent of early summer. Simply gather a cup of rosepetals (checking they are clean and have had no sprays applied to them) and place them in a processor to break them up into slightly smaller pieces. Toss them gently through a cup of sugar and lay them out on a lined oven tray. You can then put this in a very low oven (say 50 C.) for an hour or so until very dry - if the petals were damp when they were placed into the sugar you may need to break up the sugar a little more with the processor at the end - I keep a few dried petals whole for decorating.
And so what to do with this fragrant blend? We scatter them over cupcakes or warm shortbread. With a simple vanilla snap biscuit recipe, you can swop the vanilla essence for rosewater, and then fold a little of the rose petal sugar through the dough. It can also make a lovely gift in a little airtight jar ... although I think I have previously perplexed a few with this end of year offering, so maybe a few tips for its use on the label could be helpful this year!