Joanie Lapic has been gardening in Pennsylvania for about 45 years, at first alongside her Daddy in his vegetable patches, and the past 20 years or so as an intent Herb grower and studier. Master Herbalist, owner of Everlasting Gardener in New Brighton,  Herb grower and teacher, lecturer, therapeutic horticulture teacher,  developer of Pocket Therapy aromatherapy products.


The Rose, “Gift of Angels”
by Joanie Lapic - posted 07/06/12

The Rose,“Gift of Angels”

     There is no equal for the lovely fragrance of the Rose, and its soft beauty. Rose (Rosa species) essence is one of the mildest healing substances known.
For these reasons, and more, the Rose has been chosen as the Herb of the Year for 2012, by the International Herb Society.
     Roses have had important uses since ancient times in medicine, ritual, cosmetics and perfumes.
     Roses were first cultivated in China and Persia and have been enjoyed for thousands of years for their delicate perfume and therapeutic uses. Now they are grown throughout the temperate zones of earth. To successfully cultivate Rose bushes, give them a sunny position (or very light shade), open-air (but not too windy), in well-drained, fertile loam. Several Herbs serve as helpful companions to Roses. When Parsley is grown alongside Roses, their scent and vigor is improved. Garlic and Chives discourages greenfly and other insects. We tend several beautiful roses in our Everlasting Gardener Herb garden: a David Austen “Graham Thomas”, a White Rose of Yorke, a Moss Rose, a row of 'Simplicity' and the apothecary’s Rosa gallica.
     The modern day uses of Roses are many: cosmetic, decorative, medicinal,aromatic, and culinary. It is the petals of the flowers which are most often used.
Rosewater, Rosehips and the essential oil of Rose are also commonly used.
Aromatic uses include using the petals as an ingredient in potpourri and in sachets. Roses are used decoratively in fresh and dried arrangements. Rose petals are distilled for their essential oil and for rosewater, a delicate flavor excellent in cooking.
     There are numerous culinary uses for Rose petals. Historically, Rose petals have been important for making jam, pies, etc., and as garnish. Sprinkle fresh petals (with the bitter white ‘heels’ removed) on salads, or make into jelly, or bake into apple or cherry pie. They also make wonderful syrups, vinegars and sorbets. To harvest the flowers, pick the buds when still tight, and the petals when they first open. You can also crystallize the petals, to use on confections. Try the simple Rose petals recipes at the end of this article.
     Confections and drinks of many types can be flavored with Rosewater. The candy called Turkish Delight is made with it. Rosewater is our favorite flavoring ingredient in Baklava.
     Rose hips/fruits (which are the seed pods), are harvested when ripe. After the irritant hairs are removed, they are used in tea, wine, syrup and jam. They can also be made into jellies, syrups and candies, also dried and ground to make a supplement high in vitamin C. Puree Rose hips, sweeten and add lemon juice to season lamb.
     In cosmetics, Rosewater makes a mild antiseptic tonic which soothes skin of many types, and in particular, inflamed, dry, sensitive and mature skin. Splash Rosewater in the eyes to help clear conjunctivitis.
As medicine, the essential oil of Rose is used in Aromatherapy, blended with a carrier oil, to tone capillaries, cleanse the blood and help the circulation.It is an aromatic calmer and stress-reliever. The essential oil of Rose is used for countering depression, anxiety, grief and negative feelings. Alone or in combination with other essential oils, Rose makes a lovely perfume.
     No wonder we breathe deeply of the Rose whenever we get the chance. Here’s  hoping that this summer you’ll often have occasion to “stop and smell the Roses.”

Crystallized (Candied) Rose Petals

You'll need:

1 extra large egg white, room temperature
Few drops of Rose water
1 cup superfine sugar
Rinsed and dried Rose petals (try to get a variety
       of colors, and always fragrant ones)
one or two small paint brushes

 1. Lay a sheet of waxed paper on a baking rack.
In small bowl, combine egg white with Rosewater and
beat lightly with a fork or small whisk until the white shows
only a few bubbles.
2. Pour sugar into a shallow dish.
3. Dip a paintbrush into the egg white and gently paint the petal while holding
between your finger and thumb. Cover completely, just to coat. Hold the petal
over the sugar dish and sprinkle sugar evenly over both sides.
Place petals on wax paper to dry. Continue until all petals are coated and drying on the wax paper.
3. Petals need to dry completely, which takes about 12 to 36 hours. You can make this process go
quicker by putting them into an oven that has the pilot light on, or an oven that has the interior light on for a few hours.
The petals must be crisp, and can then be stored in airtight containers in the refrigerator.
This recipe coats quite a few petals, up to a few hundred.

Rose Scented Sugar

You'll need:
Clean pint jar with lid
2/3 c. very fragrant Rose petals (such as R. damascena - white Rose of York - or R. gallica)
about 1 3/4 c. white OR raw sugar

Fill jar 1/3 full of sugar.
Sprinkle on a small handful of Rose petals.
Add layers in this way, adding sugar to top off the jar.
Put on the lid and gently shake the jar.
Store in a cool, dry, dark place, gently shaking occasionally.
Let age for about 3 weeks, though this sugar will acquire more flavor if stored longer.
To use, strain/sift out the petals, if desired. Makes a good ingredient for white cake,
especially if the Rose sugar (WITH petals) is ground in a blender
and made into the icing for same cake.
Try adding a little water to the Rose petals and use as a syrup for ice cream, waffles, baklava, etc.
Makes 1 pint.
You can make Violet or Lavender Sugar the same way, reducing the amount of Lavender flowers,
as they are much more aromatic.
Go here for Rose-Infused Vinegar recipe.

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