An Island in Bloom
Beach roses are blooming all over the island right now. These fragrant, fuschia, pink, and white blooms are a welcome sight and their scent is like a warm hug from summer. Their floral aroma and flavor make them a lovely addition to your seasonal kitchen. Their petals are easy to dry as well and can keep for months when stored properly so you can use them year-round. I’ve turned this batch into a lovely pink-hued floral rose simple syrup to use in cocktails and kid-friendly drinks or ice pops for the next month.
Press play on the video below to watch me make this syrup.
tips for foraging roses
When foraging any wild edible plant avoid harvesting from roadsides as runoff water from the roads picks up chemicals and oils that are taken up by plant roots, and they are not really something you want to be ingesting.
All rose varieties are edible, even the ones in your garden, but some have better flavor and edible qualities. Nantucket is covered in invasive Rosa rugosa or beach roses so we usually can pick them in abundance along the beaches and coastline. There are wild rose varieties here as well but they are not as abundant.
Picking roses in the early morning hours when possible is best to retain their aroma. Darker-colored petals will produce a more vibrant-colored syrup.
Do not use store-bought bouquet roses are they have most likely been sprayed with chemicals and have traveled far.
Infusing rose petals into a simple syrup is a simple and easy way to capture their color and flavor in food. Rose simple syrup can keep for 1 month when stored in the refrigerator. Add it to cocktails, teas, iced drinks like lemonade or iced tea, or even freeze it in an ice pop mold for a cooling summer treat.
This recipe and method is an update to the wild rose syrup I posted here on the blog a few summers ago. This time instead of infusing the roses into the water first and then having to bring it to a boil, I prepared the simple syrup and poured it over the petals, and let it brew like a cup of tea. This way you won’t degrade the delicate rose flavor by boiling it.
As the mixture cools the color seeps out of the rose petals and into the syrup. The acidity from a bit of fresh-squeezed lemon juice will help intensify the pink color of the syrup.
The more petals you add the stronger the color and flavor will be so do be shy and add as much as you want. As a guideline, you’ll want at least 4 packed cups of rose petals.
You can try this method for infused simple syrup with other edible flowers and herbs that are in season in your area if roses are not readily available where you are. Happy and safe foraging! Be well.
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- 2 cups water
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 packed cups edible rose petals*
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- Bring water and sugar to boil to dissolve sugar and remove from heat.
- Add clean, unsprayed rose petals to a heat safe bowl or large liquid measuring cup and pour simple over them.
- Stir petals into the syrup and let the mixture brew until it cools to room temp, about 30 minutes. The color from the petals should intensify as it draws out into the syrup.
- Squeeze the juice from half of a lemon into the mixture. The acidity of the lemon juice will intensify the pink color.
- Strain the mixture into a clean bottle. Seal and store in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks.
- All roses varieties are edible. When foraging be sure to check a guidebook to identity the plant and variety. Don’t use store bought rose bouquets as they are most likely sprayed with pesticides and not meant for consumption. I use rosa rugosa or beach rose petals that grow on the island. They are not wild to the area but are invasive and abundant.