Rose Jam

“Do you remember Asya’s recipe for rose jam?” I ask my grandmother as I return to the house with a basket full of rose petals. A craggy shrub by the fence has suddenly sprouted into a mass of frilly pink blossoms, and I feel inspired. “No,” says Valentina, with an expression that accepts no arguments. “She wasn’t much of a cook. She never made jam.” I’m confused, because I do recall gathering roses for jam with my great-grandmother. Did I make it up, just like I concocted the story of my father being a Bollywood actor? Then my grandmother reconsiders. “You’re right, she did. Every summer. But it was terrible. Dark and overcooked.”

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The saccharine stories that preface many cookbooks, of learning cooking at grandmother’s side as she tenderly explains the right way to cut carrots or hull strawberries, aren’t part of my childhood recollections. Valentina has so little tolerance for imperfection, or deviations from her way of doing things, that cooking with her is as relaxing as being a Top Chef contestant. Asya, her mother, had no patience for mincing and sauteing; her passion was the garden. Perhaps, this is why I don’t remember eating her jam, only the intense honeyed fragrance of roses as we picked them.

So I turn to another great-grandmother for advice. Olena, Valentina’s mother-in-law, is venerated in our family as a cook of incomparable skill. She left many notebooks filled with recipes and beauty advice, and while I don’t remember her–she passed away when I was an infant, I like to imagine that she would be the perfectly patient grandmother in the kitchen. The measured, calm tone of her notes feels reassuring, and the range of her recipes makes me envision endless feasts.

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As in any place situated on major trade routes, Ukrainian cuisine is diverse and rich. This land was the crossing place for anyone who felt like crossing it–Poles, Lithuanians, Hungarians, Moldovans, Russians, Ottoman Turks. Some outcomes of contacts with other cultures were—and remain—traumatic. Others, like food, were more felicitous. The blend of imported foodstuffs with local traditions produced such favorites as hearty borsch and elegant fish soups, pork charcuterie and cheeses, dumplings and noodles in all shapes and sizes, intricate cakes and breads, pastries and crepes, and a bewildering array of liqueurs and preserved fruit. Open any old Ukrainian cookbook, and you will see enough rosewater and saffron to inspire you to recite Persian poetry.

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Olena likewise includes several recipes for rose jam. The simplest one is to crush petals with lots of sugar to make a thick paste. “200g of sugar for every 100g of petals; use it to stuff sugar dough crescents,” I decipher from her messy scroll. But I’m after the real rose delicacy—petals slowly cooked in sugar syrup until they form into a dark pink marmalade that would make the roses of Shiraz envious. Just like recipes on the internet, Olena’s cookbook overwhelms me with information. Apparently, you can cook rose jam in a number of ways, but which one is the best? Why should you do the fiddly work of trimming the petals? Should you macerate overnight or skip the step altogether?

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Asya’s rosebush takes pity on me and releases a generous batch of flowers every morning. I experiment until I’m satisfied with my creation. Along the way, I learn a few important techniques: You must trim the white ends of petals; they taste tannic. Boiling roses in water till they soften completely and letting them macerate overnight results in a vivid color. (But ignore delusional cookbook instructions to blanch petals in water and then discard it, unless your aim is a tasteless brown paste.) Don’t skimp on sugar; roses smell sweet but they taste bitter.

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Think of rose jam not as a preserve but as a sweetmeat with a complex flavor. Sweetness hits the palate first, with the sensation of a thousand petals unfolding in your mouth, but what lingers is bitterness, the mellow bitterness of almonds, unripe apricots or green figs. The contrast is addictive.  Rose jam can accompany ice cream, garnish crepes, cakes or bread, but here I advocate for simplicity. A small saucer of jam and a cup of black tea is all you need for the ultimate rose flavored bliss. My grandmothers are sure to approve.

rose-jam

Rose Jam (Варення з Пелюсток Троянд)

I realize that few of us have access to fresh, unsprayed rose petals, but Olena writes that you can also make jam with dried flowers. Select brightly colored, fragrant petals. Rehydrate them in water. Once softened, bring them to simmer and cook till the petals are soft. Follow the rest of the instructions below. The proportions if using dry petals are 100 g (4 cups) of petals to 500 g (2 ½ cups) of sugar. Some roses are more bitter than others, so taste the petals before cooking and adjust the sugar amount. Add 1 teaspoon of rosewater once you take the jam off the heat. I haven’t yet experimented, but it’s already my next project. As I write this, the table around me is covered with drying flowers.

Makes 2 one pint jars

250 g (1/2 pound) fresh, unsprayed and fragrant rose petals (after cleaning, see below)
600 g (3 cups) sugar
Juice of 1 ½ lemons

If you’re picking roses yourself, gather whole flowers in the late morning when their perfume is at its strongest. Spread them out on a towel. Holding each flower upside down, snip the petals around the heart of the flower, using scissors. The idea is to cut off the white ends of the petals, which taste tannic. Shake the petals in a colander to remove any yellow stymens and weigh them. You should have 250g.

Cover petals with 2 cups of water and bring to a slow simmer. Let the petals shrink and soften, about 5 minutes. The petals will lose their bright color, but don’t worry, it will be revived later. Take the pan off the heat. Cover the pan with a towel, set aside in a cool place and let them macerate for 24 hours or overnight.

Next day, drain liquid from the petals. Add extra water to make up 2 ½ cups. In a large pan, add sugar and water. Bring to a boil and skim the foam.  Add the petals and turn the heat down to low. Simmer for 5 minutes.

Add lemon juice and watch the color become vibrant. Simmer until the petals are translucent and tender and until the syrup thickens and drips slowly from a spoon, about 40-45 min (how to judge if the jam has set).

Ladle the hot jam in sterilized jars (how to sterilize jars). Seal immediately by closing the lid of the jars tightly. Store in a cool, dark place. Refrigerate after opening.

Photography by Bois de Jasmin

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104 Comments

  • Ann: Victoria, gorgeous photos and a captivating story! June 15, 2015 at 8:55am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much, Ann! June 15, 2015 at 1:29pm Reply

  • Tijana: Yum!!!! June 15, 2015 at 9:10am Reply

    • Victoria: It also smells amazing. June 15, 2015 at 1:30pm Reply

      • Tijana: I must try to make it!!!!! June 19, 2015 at 9:38pm Reply

        • Victoria: You’ll enjoy the process, I know. 🙂 June 22, 2015 at 1:39pm Reply

  • Rachel: Your story really took me out of my stressful Monday. Thank you very much. How lucky to have your greatgrandmother’s recipe books! Please share her beauty recipes too. June 15, 2015 at 9:11am Reply

  • Rachel: In my rush to comment I forgot to mention how much I love your photos! June 15, 2015 at 9:12am Reply

  • Tammy: You’re making me hungry. At your recommendation I finally bought a bottle each of rose and orange blossom water to use in teas and desserts. Wonder what would happen if I mix a little rose water into a batch of strawberry jam. June 15, 2015 at 9:25am Reply

    • Jillie: Tammy, I’ve been doing exactly that (mixing rose water into strawberry jam), and it works very well. June 15, 2015 at 12:30pm Reply

      • Victoria: Roses and strawberries are naturally made for each other. June 15, 2015 at 2:05pm Reply

      • Tammy: Thank you, Jillie. I’ll try it. June 15, 2015 at 2:14pm Reply

    • Victoria: Yay! I’m very happy to hear that you’ve tried the floral waters. A bit of rosewater in strawberry jam will add a honeyed note and enhance the berry flavor. You can even add a little to the ready-made jam to give it something extra. June 15, 2015 at 1:33pm Reply

      • Tammy: I got used to drinking cafe blanc almost every night. I also tried Andy’s rose tea and your orange blossom lemonade is next. June 15, 2015 at 2:16pm Reply

        • Victoria: Isn’t cafe blanc terrific? It’s one of the best beverages, and you can also have it cold. A similar drink with rosewater is something else I make time to time. June 15, 2015 at 2:28pm Reply

  • Michaela: How funny! She never made jam… and it was overcooked… Bollywood actor… cookbook and Persian poetry… Love this story!
    I can almost smell the roses in you pictures and I feel the scent and the taste of rose jam, sweet elastic jammy petals. My favorite jam as a child, the second being raspberry jam. My mother didn’t make it herself but helped our summer hostess, a very talented cook and warm woman. Sweet memories. June 15, 2015 at 9:27am Reply

    • Victoria: Memory is a funny thing, and it’s amusing how we each remember the same thing differently. I have great memories of Asia’s cooking, and her borsch, cherry wood roasted pork and jellied meat are among my strongest food recollections from my childhood. But it’s true that she didn’t enjoy cooking as much as Valia, her daughter, did. Asia was a career woman and in her spare time she preferred to garden.

      As for my dad being a Bollywood actor, that’s just me being a whimsical kid. 🙂 June 15, 2015 at 1:43pm Reply

  • Annikky: This looks and sounds lovely. They sell rose jam in the Bulgarian shop here, but I’ll try making some when in Estonia. Also, I never know how it didn’t occur to me to have rose jam with black the. I always think of raspberry jam in that context, but of course rose would be perfect, too. June 15, 2015 at 9:35am Reply

    • Annikky: Oeh, I love and hate the iPad: “I’ll never know how it didn’t occur to me to have rose jam with black tea.” June 15, 2015 at 10:11am Reply

      • Victoria: The, tea. The Frenchness around you in Brussels must have rubbed off on you. 🙂 June 15, 2015 at 1:44pm Reply

    • Victoria: Bulgarian brands of rose jam (and Iranian ones) are invariably impressive. Of course, I say have it with tea, but I confess that I also eat it with goat cheese and yogurt. June 15, 2015 at 1:45pm Reply

  • irem: Your rose jam looks to die for. Just the right color and texture. I am sure it tastes even better than it looks. I am of Turkish origin and we make rose jam, too. My mother in law used to make a great jam from the rose bush at her summer house. I wish I had some. Also, I couldn’t agree more with your comment: all you need is a little spoon and some black tea. June 15, 2015 at 10:53am Reply

    • Karen: Merhaba Irem! My hubby is Turkish and one of my favorite Turkish discoveries was that rose jam is as common there as strawberry jam is here in the U.S.! June 15, 2015 at 11:05am Reply

      • Victoria: Me too! It was one of the biggest delights. June 15, 2015 at 1:51pm Reply

      • irem: Merhaba Karen! Are you familiar with green fig jam? If not, you have to try it too. But rose jam is definitely the Queen. June 15, 2015 at 2:18pm Reply

        • Karen: I haven’t tried green fig – but quince…. oh my my! Will put green fig on the list! June 15, 2015 at 3:40pm Reply

          • irem: I love Quince, too. Had almost forgotten it. It’s the only jam I’ve made and it is relatively easy to find quince in the US (esp. compared to rose and green fig). June 16, 2015 at 9:58am Reply

          • Hamamelis: Quince is wonderful. I received a sample of Ann Gerard’s Ciel Opale, which apparently has a quince note. I will report my findings! June 16, 2015 at 12:32pm Reply

    • Victoria: One of my favorite discoveries in Turkey was a spread of jams at breakfast. I remember we stayed at a rather basic hotel in Istanbul, but their breakfast was splendid. 10 jams to choose from, including rose.

      Another discovery in Turkey was how many words Turkish and Ukrainian share, especially when it comes to food. I suspected that the love for all things roses scented must have come from the same source. June 15, 2015 at 1:49pm Reply

      • Karen: Breakfast (and lunch and dinner) at any of the hotels is crazy good there, with so much to choose from! As much as I may try to replicate some of it here at home with breads, yogurt, cheese, olives, jams and honey, tomatoes, cucumbers and so on, it’s never quite the same.

        It doesn’t surprise me that many words are shared, when the Turkish language was created in 1922(??) as one of the unifying actions, they incorporated words from many people and tribes. At some point, I believe over 600 different languages were spoken throughout the Ottoman Empire – so one of the initial acts done was to create a common language. June 15, 2015 at 3:46pm Reply

        • Victoria: Ever since we visited Istanbul almost 10 years ago we have Turkish breakfasts on regular basis. Yes, it’s hard to replicate them here, especially since finding the right bread, cheese and flavorful tomatoes is difficult. Not to mention, kaymak! English clotted cream comes close, but nothing compared to the real Turkish kaymak.

          I doubt that Turks would use words from Ukrainian in the 1920s, whatever linguistic aims they had. The origins can be traced to much earlier times, and the borrowing was the other way around. It was mostly due to trading. June 16, 2015 at 9:34am Reply

          • irem: I use Mascarpone instead of kaymak. When I say Mascarpone I mean the thing that is sold under that name in the US, in plastic tubs. I have no idea how closely it resembles the authentic Mascarpone of Italy/Europe. But it is a very good substitute for kaymak, especially with sweets. June 16, 2015 at 10:01am Reply

            • Victoria: Thank you. I will try it. It never occurred to me that they might be related, if only in taste, but it makes sense, since mascarpone is also rich and creamy. June 16, 2015 at 10:08am Reply

  • Karen: This year is the first year in so long that I have not made rose jam and Rose syrup. There may still be the opportunity later when some rebloom, but as much as I miss making it we always end up with so much left over from the year before. I, too, have searched for the perfect recipe, trying all different methods as you have – and your sounds similar to what I’ve ended up making, although I always love the syrupy part best! June 15, 2015 at 11:03am Reply

    • Karen: And your beautiful photos made me a bit sad as my roses are pretty much over and done! And now I’m regretting not making any jam!! June 15, 2015 at 11:07am Reply

      • Victoria: Please don’t regret it! They will bloom again next year, and meanwhile there are so many berries and fruit to turn into jam–apricots (with cardamom and vanilla), cherries, peaches, nectarines, plums…

        “It is the season for wine, roses and drunken friends. Be happy for this moment….” Or so says Omar Khayyam. June 15, 2015 at 1:56pm Reply

        • Karen: Sour cherries from our tree are cooking as I type! We’ve never beat the birds to them to collect enough for jam, so this is very exciting! And I left the pits in to give it that rich almondy flavor. June 15, 2015 at 3:39pm Reply

          • Victoria: Pits are a must for a good cherry jam. For me at least. They add such great flavor. Can’t wait for our sour cherries to ripen. June 16, 2015 at 9:30am Reply

        • Hamamelis: Ha! My favourite poet. June 16, 2015 at 12:33pm Reply

          • Victoria: I mentioned liking him to an Iranian friend, and he shrugged his shoulders. Apparently, he’s one of the less appreciated poets in Iran (mostly known as a mathematician). But of course, they have such a wealth of poetry–Saadi, Hafez, Ferdowsi, Nizami, and many many others–that they can afford to be picky. We have the problem of translation, on the other hand. I haven’t read any decent translations of Saadi in English, for instance. June 17, 2015 at 4:56am Reply

            • Hamamelis: A case of a poet not being appreciated in his own country….I love some of Andrew Harvey’s translations of Rumi, especially the quatrains. I don’t think they are easily available. Will have a look at Saadi. June 17, 2015 at 8:48am Reply

              • Victoria: It’s not that he’s not appreciated. Rather when you compare his work to Saadi or some other Persian poets, it pales in comparison. Persian culture is so rich in poetry, and it was not the preserve of the elite at all, the way much of Western poetry has been. That’s another fascinating aspect. June 17, 2015 at 2:01pm Reply

    • Victoria: On the other hand, it’s also good to take a break one year and plunge into it again when the next season comes.

      This was the first time I made rose jam, but I really felt like experiencing those tastes again. Thinking about the past, people who were around us then, and their stories inspires these kind of little projects too. June 15, 2015 at 1:51pm Reply

  • Helen19: I’m delurking to say how much I love your blog and especially your posts about your family, scents and food. I feel like you invited me into your garden to pick roses and then to make rose jam together. Thank you for this gift. I’m a city girl and we have no roses for jam here, though I’m curious to try the dry petal version. Would they soften enough do you think? June 15, 2015 at 11:43am Reply

    • Victoria: Helen, welcome and thank you very much for such lovely words. I’m, of course, inviting all of you into the garden to have tea with jam. I’m only too happy when others join.

      I haven’t made the dried version yet, but I googled “rose jam dried petals” recipes and it seems that others have made it this way and it works. You might have to boil the petals for a bit longer before you add them into the sugar syrup, but they should soften. June 15, 2015 at 2:00pm Reply

  • Floramac: What a fabulous story. If one could make peony jam, I’d be all set, but I’ve only one lonely rose bush– fragrant and lovely, but alas I could never collect 250 grams of petals. I’ve only ever made quince jam, more of a paste really. I brought it to Thanksgiving and my brother-in-law ate most of it himself with a spoon. June 15, 2015 at 12:13pm Reply

    • Victoria: Mmmm, peony jam sounds wonderful. I have no idea whether it would work (or whether peonies are edible), but their scent is related to roses.

      I’m not surprised your brother-in-law did that; quince jam is a special delicacy. June 15, 2015 at 2:02pm Reply

    • Karen: Hi Floramac, peonies are edible so you could try making jelly or jam. I’ve seen peony flowers in tea, but haven’t tried it.

      Another fun thing to do if you have lots of them is to cut some stems before they open, keep them in water in the frig with a plastic bag over them and bring them out anytime in the fall. They will open and you will have fresh peonies in November! Just remember to check the water as it does evaporate. June 15, 2015 at 3:50pm Reply

  • Jillie: My two grannies were not really typical grandmas either and I am always surprised that my parents were as adventurous with food as they were. In England we have a saying “looking through rose-coloured spectacles”, and I think you could apply that to your childhood memories almost literally …..

    Rose jam is my idea of heaven, and I love your beautiful photos – I can almost smell the roses!

    What about violet jam??!! Have you either made that? June 15, 2015 at 12:37pm Reply

    • Jillie: Whoops – should be ever, not either! June 15, 2015 at 12:38pm Reply

    • Victoria: We have that expression as well! Memories of time spent in the village with my grandparents are among my happiest. But as for learning to cook, it was mostly with my great-grandfather. Apart from being too anxious that I might cut myself, he was an embodiment of patient virtue.

      I never had enough violets on hand to try jam or syrup, but wouldn’t that be wonderful! June 15, 2015 at 2:05pm Reply

  • solanace: Beautiful pictures to enliven my grey Monday, thank you, Victoria. My gramma was very no nonsense, too. She was a widow with nine children in the Brazilian outback, the sertao, so I guess there was not much room for flourishes, lol. She made wonderful tapioca crepes, though. June 15, 2015 at 1:24pm Reply

    • Victoria: Do you eat tapioca crepes with something or on their own?

      Your grandmother must have been formidable! June 15, 2015 at 2:06pm Reply

  • Aurora: The photos are a treat as is the recipe. Thank you for sharing childhood memories with us, your grandmother and great-grandmother seem like women full of character.

    From time to time I buy rose jam from the Turkish store and you’re right, it’s perfect with tea. June 15, 2015 at 2:28pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you!
      We’re a family of women with strong characters. Occasionally, when everyone gets together it does have its challenges, but it’s also fun. 🙂 June 15, 2015 at 2:37pm Reply

  • Joy: Your photos and story today were beautiful, Victoria. I loved the roses in the white bowl. I also enjoyed reading the comments from the people who were familiar with rose jam. I have never tasted rose jam. No one in my family made it. So something new to try. It looks absolutely luscious! Thank you for such a charming story and photos. June 15, 2015 at 2:30pm Reply

    • Victoria: Rose jam really tastes the way roses smell, but it’s not at all perfumey the way fake rose scent can be. The petals are soft, syrup, with a slight squeaky texture. You have no doubt that you’re eating petals. If you have a store catering to the Middle Eastern clientele, I recommend looking for it there.

      Glad that you liked the story. June 16, 2015 at 9:28am Reply

  • Jennifer C: I’ve never tried rose jam, but I love rose and orange blossom waters and usually have some of each around. There is an import grocery store that I go to sometimes that carries carries things from all over the Middle East and Eastern Europe, and I can’t believe I’ve never thought to look for it there. I think I’ll have to see if they have it next time I’m there. June 15, 2015 at 6:29pm Reply

    • Victoria: I’m sure they carry it. A Polish store next to my apartment building in Brussels has its own Polish brand of rose jam as well, although it’s not that great. Iranian, Bulgarian, Lebanese or Turkish brands are much better. June 16, 2015 at 9:35am Reply

  • Ariadne: Gorgeous photos!! I have eaten rose hip jelly (made from the hips of the beach roses on the Cape of Massachusetts), and I just had rose ice cream at Zaytinya’s in Washington DC. Both were out of this world yummy and I expect the jam from the petals is the same! June 15, 2015 at 7:02pm Reply

    • Victoria: Ah, rose hip jam is another delicacy. It’s very complicated to make, since each berry has to be rid of spiky hairs and seeds, but the taste is out of this world. I’ve seen rose hip ratafia in France, but I still need to try it. June 16, 2015 at 9:37am Reply

      • Hamamelis: Rose hip jam is very easy to buy in the Netherlands. Happy to provide a pot if you crave it (with additional buckwheat porridge if need be 😉 ) June 16, 2015 at 12:35pm Reply

        • Victoria: Thank you for your kind offer. 🙂 June 17, 2015 at 4:57am Reply

  • Neva: Oh, how beautiful – rose jam <3! The whole idea is so romantic. I love it! But the little devil in me immediately decided to take the basic ingredients and mix them with a good brandy and leave it in the sun for a few weeks. I bet it will make an interesting rose brandy 😀
    Wonderful pictures Victoria and I specially adore the enamel pots. I use them too. June 16, 2015 at 4:25am Reply

    • Victoria: I bet it will be something wonderful!

      This Catalan rose liqueur recipe has been tempting me. I just need more roses and some jasmine…

      http://boisdejasmin.com/2011/08/jasmine-ratafia-and-rose-liqueur-flavor-fragrance.html June 16, 2015 at 9:41am Reply

      • Neva: Thanks very much for bringing it to my attention! I’m looking forward to trying something of it out. The rose and jasmine petals I could gather at my mother’s neigbors. That would be fun from the first moment on because I would have to explain to them why I need the precious petals and it would probably start a lively conversation 🙂 June 16, 2015 at 12:16pm Reply

        • Victoria: Can’t wait to hear how it turns out! 🙂 June 17, 2015 at 4:51am Reply

  • Andy: No fragrant roses here, but I’m smitten with this year’s mulberries, so I may try my hand at making a jam with those this year. Several times now, I’ve taken a lunch break at my favorite mulberry patch–I always leave gorged on the berries, hands and lips stained inky purple, and very happy.

    Even without fresh roses, I may like to try this sometime with the dried petals, so do report back on how your dried rose petal jam turns out! June 16, 2015 at 7:50am Reply

    • Victoria: Or you can try granita. The best one I had in Sicily, apart from almond served with coffee, was a mulberry granita. I never thought these berries had such a complex flavor.

      There are lots of mulberry trees around here, and the roads are stained deep purple from the fallen berries. June 16, 2015 at 9:43am Reply

  • tamuna: Thank you for the rose jam recipe and the beautiful photos Victoria ! June 16, 2015 at 10:20am Reply

    • Victoria: Can you get rose petals at your market, Tamuna? Today I spotted a couple of sellers at the central market in Poltava offering rose petals “for jam.” I was tempted to make another batch. June 16, 2015 at 10:23am Reply

  • Hamamelis: Lovely post, thank you! It is a very busy time for me so making rose jam is out of the question, but I enjoy it vicariously. June 16, 2015 at 12:36pm Reply

    • Victoria: Then I’m happy to share! June 17, 2015 at 4:57am Reply

  • mj: I loved your story and particularly the pictures. They bring back memories from my grandfather, who loved gardening and tended his daughter garden faithfully. My aunt loved garden roses, so she had bushes and bushes of the best smelling roses I’ve ever come across.

    I have never made rose jam, as it’s not popular in Spain; but know I’m curious and will try it.

    Every fall, my mother makes quince meat, from my sister’s quince tree. If I’m lucky apart from my mother quince meat I will get some quinces to scent my house. June 16, 2015 at 2:49pm Reply

    • Victoria: There is nothing like the memory of rose gardens, or grandparents’ gardens in general. I think that it remains for one’s whole life.
      I love membrillo, and I brought a big round from my last trip to Barcelona. Maybe, this year I will also try making it myself. June 17, 2015 at 4:59am Reply

      • mj: oh! you’re right! Now, my own children have a grampa-gardener, my father, who, as his father before, tends a garden for enjoyment. However, my dad is more into vegetable gardening and my boys help him with watering the cherry tomatoes or picking strawberries when in season. I hope, when they grow up that they will remember, the flavours, the smells, the joy of a loved garden. June 17, 2015 at 2:18pm Reply

        • Victoria: I’m sure of it! I can never forget the scent of tomato leaves or the feel of a new cucumber from my great-grandparents’ garden. Whenever I come to visit my grandmother, the garden is the first place I run to. June 18, 2015 at 4:00am Reply

  • Hannah: There’s this Turkish breakfast place that I like to go to that had this breakfast that was: rose jam, honey, black olives in pomegranate molasses, and bread. But they took it off the menu. June 16, 2015 at 4:16pm Reply

    • Victoria: That’s a pity! June 17, 2015 at 4:59am Reply

      • Hannah: The basic vegetarian breakfast comes with a jam/marmelade and they give you whatever, so sometimes I get the rose jam. I could probably request actually, but I like getting something new each time. I don’t know if it is a Turkish thing but they’re always really good regardless of the fruit (or flower). June 17, 2015 at 4:21pm Reply

        • Victoria: Jams in that part of the world are definitely in the category of their own. For instance, my grandmother makes a delicious jam of candied apricots stuffed with almonds. Or tiny whole pears that are cored to look like bells. June 18, 2015 at 10:22am Reply

  • Lavanya: oh my!! *drools*. I love rose jam and rose preserves.
    One way of eating rose jam that I indulged in only as an adult in the U.S. (i wonder why?) is with cream. I used the cream from a bottle of ‘cream top’ Strauss milk with ‘gulkand’. I must try that again. Also yummy with ghee I think (it’s been a while I don’t remember the combinations too well).

    I would LOVE to make my ow rose jam sometime..thanks for the recipe and tips. June 16, 2015 at 8:00pm Reply

    • Victoria: In Gujarat I once tried a milk shake flavored with rose, and the milky substance was essentially clotted cream. It was sinfully rich and totally Indian. Gilding the lily–or in this case, the rose–with cream, cream, and more cream. I loved it.

      Making rose jam take time, but every step of it is so enjoyable–the scent!–that I can’t recommend it highly enough. June 17, 2015 at 5:01am Reply

  • Girasole: I’ve been lurking on your site for a few months but just couldn’t resist commenting on this beautiful post! The photos are lovely and now I’m intrigued by the idea of rose jam. I think it would be absolutely delicious with scones and clotted cream. I also sometimes like pairing jam with cheese – I crave the contrast between the creamy richness of the cheese and the sticky sweetness of jam (spread both on a coarse, crumbly oatcake and I’m in heaven!). Do you think rose jam would pair well with any particular cheese?

    Thank you so much for sharing your recipe, and the lovely story behind it. This may be my first comment but I’m sure it won’t be my last! June 16, 2015 at 9:54pm Reply

    • Victoria: Welcome and thank you for commenting! 🙂 Yes, rose jam, scones and clotted cream is a heavenly combination. Whenever I have enough rose jam that I feel like experimenting, I try different pairings. For instance, it’s perfect with sharp, tart cheeses or dairy products such as yogurt, fromage blanc, goat cheese or sheep’s milk cheese. Manchego, for instance, stands up well to its sweetness and flavor. I don’t recommend anything too mild like Swiss cheeses or Gouda; they just get lost, but mozzarella is a surprisingly successful pairing with rose. June 17, 2015 at 5:07am Reply

      • Girasole: Mmmm – Manchego sounds perfect. I’m visiting a friend in Spain next month so maybe I’ll have to hurry up and get my hands on some rose petals! June 17, 2015 at 9:12am Reply

        • Victoria: Oh, perfect! I envy your Spain trip. You can stock up on Manchego, membrillo (quince paste), and the wonderful Spanish almonds (flat and sweet variety called Marcona). It would make for a great cheese plate. June 17, 2015 at 2:02pm Reply

          • girasole: I haven’t tried the almonds but I once made myself almost sick by eating so much membrillo (fortunately, that hasn’t changed my love for it at all!).

            I was just visiting friends in Maine in the US and discovered ‘beach roses’ which I had never encountered before. They are so fragrant – and all I could think of was this wonderful post and recipe! June 26, 2015 at 10:06am Reply

  • Austenfan: I think your grandmother ought to enter as a contestant on Masterchef. Special edition; Grandmothers!

    Loved the story, love the smell of roses, but only enjoy tasting them in tea. Must be a lack of familiarity. Dutch cooking traditions, even if they exist, don’t include flowers, or floral waters.
    I wouldn’t mind being a fly on the wall when you cook with your gran 🙂 June 17, 2015 at 4:16am Reply

    • Victoria: She would be something else! I’d love to see such a show.

      You guys were to busy building ships and exploring other faraway lands. No time for fiddly flower jams. 🙂 June 17, 2015 at 5:09am Reply

      • Austenfan: I just realised that a I once bought rose hip jam that had been flavoured with rose water, and I loved that. But it’s true, I do from day to day prefer slightly plainer food. Must be my viking ancestry.

        Have you ever watched Masterchef? I think the 2014 contestant on the BBC show originally came from Malaysia, her dishes looked wonderful. June 17, 2015 at 7:03am Reply

        • Victoria: I haven’t watched Masterchef at all. Out of BBC’s food show, my favorite is the Great British Bake Off. June 17, 2015 at 1:54pm Reply

          • Austenfan: I’ve never watched the Great British Bakeoff, although I’ve seen interviews with Mary Berry, another formidable lady. Masterchef isn’t that great a program. I did watch part of 2014’s version as I liked Ping’s cooking and style so much. She made a great advocate for Malaysian cooking. June 18, 2015 at 5:20am Reply

            • Victoria: She really is! I saw a documentary about her, and how she survived polio and how she started writing about food. It’s an inspiring story. June 18, 2015 at 10:33am Reply

  • The Blue Squid: Lovely article, Victoria I especially think the light where you were when you took the photos is great, sort of cool, but radiant. Enjoy the rest of the summer! June 17, 2015 at 8:32am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much. The top one was taken early in the morning, as I recall, just when I picked roses. I like this kind of light the best. June 17, 2015 at 1:58pm Reply

  • Julie: I can smell the roses coming from the screen on my PC!!! Lovely photos and post. Thank you Victoria. 🙂 The first official day of summer is right around the corner here in New England.
    Have a wonderful week of scents! June 17, 2015 at 8:56am Reply

    • Victoria: Enjoy your summer, Julie! Hope that it will be full of roses. June 17, 2015 at 2:01pm Reply

  • Raquel: Beautiful pictures, just looking at them bring me joy. I’d love to try rose jam. I live in a tropical country so not many roses around instead it’s mango season. Love this post and please if possible share more of your grandmother beauty recipes, I enjoy reading about natural beauty treatments as much as fragrances. Thank you. June 17, 2015 at 12:53pm Reply

    • Victoria: The mango season! Such a treat. Please enjoy a couple of mangoes for me, Raquel. 🙂

      Since others were interested too, I will post more beauty recipes from her books. June 17, 2015 at 2:14pm Reply

  • Katy: Are the beautiful white flowers in your pictures Mock Orange? Some friends of ours have those and I always float one on the top of my beer, especially nice in an orange blossom saison. June 18, 2015 at 5:50am Reply

    • Victoria: Yes, they are. From the very bush that gave Bois de Jasmin its name (in Ukrainian, we call mock orange, incorrectly, jasmine). 🙂 June 18, 2015 at 10:33am Reply

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