I dream of the day I'll be harvesting baskets upon baskets of rose petals from our gardens here at Ridge Pond Farm. That dream is likely a few years away still. To tide me over this year I had the opportunity in late June to pick rose petals at the home of a close family friend.
Cathy and my mother have been friends for more than 40 years. She and her husband live on the coast in Northport and have roses planted right along the ocean's edge of their property overlooking a lovely cove. Their roses are just gorgeous with huge, fragrant petals. I picked a few white ones but concentrated mainly on picking the pink petals for their color and fragrance. It took little time to fill my harvesting basket.
Their scent was simply perfection. I kept getting distracted the next morning in the kitchen by these beauties, repeatedly pausing whatever I was doing to deeply inhale their fragrance. Roses are known to elicit joy and that's exactly what I feel when I'm breathing them in.
With my small harvest (I didn't want to be too greedy with my gathering) I made 6 small batches of different rose products for personal use and as research for future Ridge Pond Herbals products: roses infused into sweet almond oil, a rose elixir, a rose oxymel, rose-infused witch hazel, rose vinegar, and rose sugar.
Arguably the prettiest concoction was the rose sugar. I pulsed equal amounts of rose petals and sugar (I use organic cane sugar) in the food processor until well combined, then added a tablespoon of lemon juice. The final product was deeply, intensely pink and absolutely delicious. A decadent treat is vanilla ice cream with a sprinkle of rose sugar. The prettiest of indulgences.
The runner-up in the pretty department is the rose vinegar. I packed a pint jar half full with rose petals and poured in warmed-to-a-simmer apple cider vinegar to fill the jar. Very quickly the petals gave up their pink and after a week and a half I strained the mix and bottled the rosy smelling and colored vinegar. It takes willpower not to use this in everything.
For the oxymel, I filled a pint jar 3/4 full with petals and poured in about a cup of raw honey (warmed to pour easily). After stirring the honey and petals thoroughly I filled the rest of the jar with apple cider vinegar. I'll be straining this soon to make a sweet-tart syrup to add to sparkling water (and possibly vodka...ok, definitely vodka).
For the rose petal-infused sweet almond oil I filled a jar half-full with petals, mashed them up a bit to release more oils and fragrance and then added sweet almond oil to fill. I still have it soaking and will strain it soon. Still pondering what future Ridge Pond Herbals prototype I'll use this loveliness in.
The rose-infused witch hazel is made from a pint jar 3/4 full of petals covered with organic witch hazel. I'll give it another few weeks and will then strain to test a facial toner/body spray idea for Ridge Pond Herbals.
At the moment my very favorite rose experiment from last month is the rose elixir. Made from a pint jar full of petals with warmed raw honey poured in to fill 1/4 of the jar amidst the petals. The last step was to fill the rest of the jar with brandy. After sitting several weeks I strained out the petals (they were boozy and delicious, by the way) and have been relishing small doses of utter bliss in every rosy sip of this elixir.