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For the ROSE lovers! Edible Flowers: The Red Velvet Rose of Love edit

1_1_2 I discovered flowers were edible back in my early pre-chef adventures, when I had the perfect height to hide in my great grandmother’s garden and eat her favorite miniature white roses without being found. Those were great days full of pure innocent adventure and joyful rewards from mother and father nature.

The diversity and mystery of our tropical rainforest always captured my attention. Learning the value of natural medicine through my life, the healing benefits of plants and flowers, have helped me develop a natural instinct to preserve the traditional knowledge that has been carried by our cultures over the ages.

In the kitchen, this beautiful flower has a very important roll. It might sound a little odd because of the rose’s romantic connotations, but in fact, roses have been eaten since ancient times. Romans were used to sprinkle rose petals on food, the table, and all over the banquet hall.

Rose petals, fresh, dried and crystallized can be added as a garnish to a salad, made into an infusion for tea and other beverages, desserts, as well as prepared into candies, marmalade, sauces, rose sugar, and soups. Rose petals, rose water and rose syrup are still widely used in the cuisines of the Middle East. Greek baklava, for instance, is originally served with a drizzle of rose syrup.

The best quality flowers for consumption are the young and fresh. Consumers have to be cautious to eat only flowers that were produced for that purpose and to avoid flowers from retail florists where they may have been treated with modern systemic pesticides and chemicals not intended for consumption; they have made the flowers highly toxic.

For some edible flowers, it is important to eat only the petals to avoid the bitter taste found in the rest of the flower. But, when it comes to roses, petals from all varieties are edible as well as the leaves which are used in some concoctions with curative properties that are prepared in Latin America.

The following excerpt has been extracted from "Rosita Arvigo’s: Rainforest Remedies, One Hundred Healing Herbs of Belize":

"Red Rose (Rosa Roja, in Spanish): Traditional Uses: As a "cooling" plant for fevers and as a binding or astringent for infantile or childhood diarrhea, 1 red rose flower and 9 leaves are steeped in one cup of boiling water for 15 minutes; this is strained before drinking. A stronger infusion using 3 red roses and a handful of leaves steeped for 15 minutes in 1 cup of hot water is consumed for adult diarrhea and uterine hemorrhage. All infusions are allowed to cool before drinking. To treat red, inflamed eyes in people of all ages, including newborn babies, 1 flower is steeped in 1 cup of boiling water; when cool, this is strained through a cloth and 3 drops are placed in the affected eye 3 times a day until cured."

Anyone wanting to buy roses or other flowers to eat should purchase them directly from an organic farm or from a farmer or gardener who has raised the flowers to use as food.

1_6_1 Roses and other flowers generally taste similar to their fragrance, or in the case of herb flowers they taste similar to the leaf of the plant. Most herbs that we use in the kitchen produce edible flowers, such as garlic, chives, dill, mint, sage and thyme. So, in your quest for the perfect tasting rose, do not forget to put your nose to work and check out the bouquet of each one! Remember that its aroma and the texture, in association with their eye appeal which makes them a "very sensual food".

"Flowers are the plant’s sex organs, and they evoke the sex-drenched, bud-breaking free-for-all of spring and summer." An explanation of the aphrodisiac power of flowers as only Diane Ackerman can say it. A Natural History of Love.

 

We have to thank the organic farming movement for the return of edible flowers to the American cuisine. The chemicals & pesticide-free roses used to cook by most American chefs come from organic gardens in California who send them by air to specialty food suppliers around the country. Chefs pay around $15- $ 20 for fifty fresh thumbnail-sized blossoms.

1_7

Now, the fabulous recipes:

Recipe #1: CRYSTALLIZED ROSE PETALS (for garnishing salads, soups and desserts)

Ingredients:

  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • handful of fresh, organic rose petals

Directions: Beat the egg white in water until foamy. Use a small pastry brush to paint each of the flower petals with the egg white mixture. Then, dip the petals into sugar. Allow petals to dry overnight on waxed paper.

Recipe #2: BOUTONS DE ROSE INFUSION

1_8 To prepare this infusion I use the "Fauchon’s Boutons the Rose".  They are dried miniature red rose buds that come in a small 50g plastic jar directly from France. The 50g jar costs $17.50 here in Panama City. In a future post I will teach you how to dry your roses to assure the best taste and texture.

The procedure to prepare the infusion is very simple: just bring water to a boil and put a handful of dried rose buds in an infusion pot. Then, cover with the hot water and let it brew for 10 minutes, or more if wanted.

Recipe #3: ROSE-THYME VINEGAR

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup fresh organic red rose petals (or pink, or a combination of both)
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 l., distilled white salad vinegar

Directions: Place the rose petals and the thyme in a container with the vinegar and close hermetically for 1 month. Store in a dark place. Then, strain the liquid through a fine sieve or cheese cloth and discard the rose petals. The thyme sprigs could be saved for future use as garnish.

If you bottle this beautiful and fragrant vinegar (with the help of a funnel), into decorative bottles, it would be the perfect holiday gift for your loved ones and foodie friends!

For best flavor: store the bottled rose vinegar for no more than 6 months in a dark, cool pantry.

Uses for this vinegar: in addition to using this vinegar to prepare your favorite vinaigrette, you can also use it to create a "rose homemade mayonnaise". Yes, I know…, it sounds deliciously beautiful smile Just the way we like it!

To prepare this "mayonesa con esencia de rosas" or, "rose mayonnaise", just use the "rose-thyme vinegar" when your favorite homemade mayonnaise calls for vinegar or lime juice.

Recipe #4: ROSE COCKTAIL

Ingredients:

 

  • the juice of 4 lemons
  • 1 l. water
  • 2 teaspoons-rose water- (store purchased or home made)
  • 3 tablespoons organic honey, or agave syrup
  • a pinch of salt

Directions: combine all of the ingredients and stir until the honey and salt are dissolved. Serve COLD, garnished with a lemon wedge.

  • by Chef Melissa
  • April 04, 2011
  • 1:15 pm

Comments

Picture of Concepción Amaya Concepción Amaya said on...
04.05.11 at 10:29 PM |

Love Your blog!
Thanks for all this great information.

Picture of Maya Maya said on...
04.13.11 at 10:30 AM |

Pues la receta la verdad es que tiene muy buena pinta y no me importaria probarla algun dia, asi que a ver si me animo y pruebo

Picture of Janice Kurks .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) said on...
04.17.11 at 05:38 PM |

Wow! How knowledgeable this post is. Very exciting and wanted to know how this was done. A very rare creativeness. Good job! <b><a

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