Roses are in bloom here in the East. My own New Dawn climbing rose, trained on an east-facing wall of my house, is spectacular. Beneath it, on the brick path, is a bed of pale pink fallen petals.
Now is the time to make simple syrup, a rose-petal colored syrup that I like to use in many different ways:
Drizzled over vanilla ice cream, a lovely sweetness to delicate ice teas, a refreshing addition to an icy cold glass of water . . . you can think of other ways to use it, I’m sure.
Making the syrup couldn’t be easier. I make it with my son (it’s a simple, fun project for adult-kid collaboration. All the collecting is fun, too) and we have a great time thinking up new syrups to make: lavender syrup, for example.
The syrup itself is easy to make:
All you need is a sauce pan, 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar. Increase the 1 to 1 ratio to make bigger batches.
To make rose syrup, collect a cup of rose petals right off the plant. The fresher the better. We just pull them from the flowers still on the stems.
Add the water and petals to a saucepan, boil until the water is the color of the petals, but softer. Scoop the petals from the water with a slotted spoon. Next, add the cup of water and bring to a boil. Boil until all of the sugar is dissolved.
We like to pore the syrup into pretty class bottles. Cool, then put tops on. Refrigerate. To save syrup, you will want to sterilize jars in hot water bath or dish washer (from which you remove them when they are still very hot), pour in syrup, and then put on sterile lids. Make sure they seal. Give as gifts or store as you would jams and jellies. We like to use our syrup right away, however, so we just refrigerate.
If you use it right away in a tall glass of icy water, you might even put in a rose petal or two – so beautiful. I’ve served this to dinner guests and it has always been a dinner favorite.
To make Lavender syrup, you collect the fresh purple blossoms, taking them carefully off of their stems. A tablespoon or two will do the trick. Boil as you would rose petals and follow the same procedure as above.
My grandmother used to do the same with violets. To this day, I can’t see violets without thinking of her. I have let them take over one side of the house and we call it violet valley. In Spring, it is magical.
Both Lavender and violet syrup have a pale purple color but Lavender syrup takes on the distinct flavor of lavender. It is very exotic and fantastic over ice cream.