Rose refers to Rose Petals or Rose Blossom. Rose buds are generally picked from the damask rose, Rosa damascena, which is the type used for making rose oil and rose water as well due to its heady rose aroma. Damask rose plants grow to 2 metres high (7ft) and produce clusters of semi-double fragrant pink flowers. Rosebuds and rose petals are hand-picked in early summer during the morning when they have fullest aroma and flavour and then are either dried or use to make rose oil or rose water; like many spices this is a very labour intensive process. Although Iran was historically the traditional source for rose products, most rose now comes from Bulgaria, India and Turkey.
There is very little volatile oil (less than 1%) in rose petals so the aroma and flavour is truly subtle. The flavour of rose petals are floral and perfumed, and altogether very pleasing.
Roses and rose water are seldom used in European cooking, although they were very popular in previous centuries. Rose remains, however, a popular ingredient in Arabic cooking through to India. Rose is used in flavouring Turkish delight or making rose jelly. In Middle Eastern cuisine, it is found in ras al hanut, the trendy North African spice mix, or in India to marinade kormas or in desserts like rose flavoured kheer.
Rose is, also, popular in infusions whether Earl Grey with rose tea, or solo:
- Add rose petals to hot water and brew to give a calming, floral and sensuous tisane to act as a digestif.
Other Rose Flavours
- Norman, J. (2015) Herbs & Spices: The Cook's Reference, DK Publishing. ISBN 9781465435989.