Wild Rose Rosa species
There are a number of wild roses including; Dog Rose, Sweet Briar and Field Rose. The petals are great for decorating cakes and mixed with whipped cream. The most fragrant petals can be used to make jelly or dried for tea. Traditionally it’s the seed bearing rose hips (packed with vitamin C) that have been gathered to make rose-hip syrup.
What to look for:
The flowers can be white or pink; sometimes they are a ‘Mister whippy’ blend of pink and white. The large flowers along with the thorns make roses easy to identify. The fruits form orange / red rose-hips in the Autumn.
Where to find it:
Hedgerows and woodland edges are where the wild roses grow. Often there will be several different species growing in the same hedge.
When is it about:
The flowers are most abundant in June and July. The fruits or ‘hips’ ripen in August and September.
Rose Petal Jelly
(taken from Hedgerow – River Cottage Handbook No.7 by John Wright)
You will need the most fragrant roses you can find for this recipe. If your local wild roses are not up to the task you can use Japanese rose (which also grows wild) or heavy scented garden roses.
250 ml (10 fl. oz) water
250 ml (10 fl. oz) fragrant rose petals
Juice of 1⁄2 lemon
350g (121⁄2 oz) jam sugar (sugar with added pectin)
Pour the water into a medium saucepan and bring to the boil. Take off the heat and stir in the petals. Pour mixture into a bowl, cover and leave for 4 hours or ideally overnight.
Strain the infused liquid through a fine sieve (to remove the petals), back into your pan and place over a low heat. Add the sugar, stirring gently until dissolved, then add the lemon juice and bring to a fierce fast boil. Keep this rolling boil going for 5 minutes, then take the pan off the heat.
Allow the mixture a couple of minutes to calm down, then pour into hot sterilised jars, filling them to the brim before screwing on the lid.
Makes 2 small jars.
Note: Do not eat any wild foods unless you are 100% certain about your identification.