Rose Jam

Some challenges are just too tempting to resist.

At the back of my garden, I have a wall full of roses – three bushes which cover the space with large, dark red blooms with a lovely heady fragrance. As roses feature in a lot of Middle Eastern cuisine, this set me thinking: could I make something with them?

A few moments online suggested something very easy to try would be to make rose jam (or more precisely, rose jelly). The idea is pretty simple – just steep the roses in hot water to extract their colour and perfume, them mix the strained liquid with pectin-rich sugar and briefly boil. So rose jam it would be.


In working out how to make this jam, I found there were two approaches. One involved just using the rose petals and leaving it at that, while others suggest adding a few drops of rose extract at the end of the cooking process to enhance the flavour. Well, this second option seemed to me to be a little like cheating – the only reason to make rose jam in the first place is to capture their perfume, so if you’re getting that perfume from a bottle, then you might as well just boil up a sugar-pectin mixture, and throw in some flavour and not bother with the real thing. Needless to say, I opted for the “natural” approach and hoped for the best.

The first part of making rose jam is both interesting and alarming. You pop the petals into a large saucepan with hot water, then watch them wilt down and turn quite pale as their colour seeps into the water. At this point, the colour of the water can be quite surprising – either a murky brown colour is you use pale petals, while dark red petals turn the liquid almost blue. You have the scent of the roses, but the colour just is not what you would imagine. However, there is an all-natural trick which helps fix things. A simple dash of lemon juice does something to the murky rose water, and it changes, in my case from dark blue to a rich red, just like wine.

This recipe is easy, and while it is very sweet, it does have the colour and scent of roses. It’s not one to spread on fruitcake or gingerbread where the flavour would be lost. You want to serve alongside something simple, like scones with cream, so that the delicate taste is not overpowered by something else. That, or get more adventurous, and use it when making baklava, on yoghurt or in various desserts that might suggest warm evenings in Persian rose fields.

If you’re going to make this, just be sure to use natural flowers – ideally from the garden or somewhere wild, where you can be sure that they have not been sprayed with any chemical nasties. Sadly this means you will probably need to avoid the spectacular roses you can buy in your local florist. Just pop those into a vase and admire them!

To make rose jam (makes around 4 pots):

• 1 litre rose petals, lightly packed
• 1 litre boiling water
• 1 lemon, juice only
• 1 kg preserving sugar

1. Put the rose petals into a saucepan. Pour on the boiling water, bring to the boil, cover and simmer for around 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave to steep for another 20 minutes.

2. Add the lemon juice to the liquid, which should change the colour to pink or red. Filter the liquid into a large pot and add the sugar.

3. Put the pot onto a medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil, then simmer until you reach the setting point.

4. Once the jam is ready to bottle, leave to cool slightly, then spoon into prepared, sterilised bottles.

Worth making? If your garden has only three roses, don’t bother, and just enjoy them in their natural form. However, this is a lovely way to use roses if you have dozens and dozens of them, and helps to make summer last just that little bit longer.


Filed under Recipe, Sweet Things

9 responses to “Rose Jam

  1. Pingback: Rose Jam | Skipping Stars Productions LLC

  2. I love roses and would really love to try rose jam! Never even thought of it as a recipe so thanks for sharing it!

    • I know, it’s a strange one isn’t it? But the perfume is lovely and it’s amazing that you can bottle the essence of roses so easily at home. It will be interesting to open a jar in the middle of December. I’m going to try using it in chocolate truffles too – rose and dark chocolate is a very exotic combination.

  3. I think my mum said that rose petal jam was one her dad had made when she was a kid – he used to make a lot of chutneys, jams and jellies. I’ve been idly thinking about doing so too but never have. Love that you did, it looks so beautiful!

    • Thanks Kavey – it’s a real breeze to make, I recommend it. I’m also a bit of a chutney fiend, probably guilty of throwing too much random stuff in a pot and hoping for the best. I love lots of spice, so reason that everyone else does too!

  4. Pingback: Rose Jam | Skipping Stars Productions LLC

  5. Looks amazing. It must smell heavenly too! There is a traditional Indian rose preserve called Gulkand, used to flavor desserts and stuff.

    • Hi Anjana – it does smell lovely. Not long after I made this, we had very hot weather and all the roses bloomed and vanished. I felt quite happy that I had managed to capture their perfume when I had the chance.

  6. Pingback: Perfumer’s Nose: Roses to Bury Your Nose In | Tambela Natural Perfumes Blog

Tell me what you are thinking!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s