Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and whether you’re embracing it or indifferent to it, the shops and street corner vendors are filling their inventory with brightly colored roses that you can’t ignore. Now, I haven’t always been a rose fan but in the last few years, I’ve grown to appreciate them. If you’ve never been to a rose garden that is in full bloom, make the time in your life to do this at least once. It really is an amazing sight and can give you a whole new appreciation for the nearly endless varieties and colors of the “common” rose. Since February is the “Unofficial Month of the Rose” (or maybe it is official, who’s to say… Wiki, do you know?), I’ve dedicated this month’s columns to a series of recipes that all contain rose petals. So order the big bag of rose petals*, because you’re going to need them!
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I’ve started Rose Petal Month with two wonderful rose petal tea recipes and some sweet and fiery heart sandwiches. Gather a group of friends, or just one special one, and have a tea party afternoon filled with friendship and these delightful treats.
Rose petals have a gentle calming effect on the nervous system. So as you sit to enjoy this tea, inhale the floral scent and let it fill your senses. Close your eyes and as you take the first sip, let the flavor wash over your tongue and let the warm floral tea fill you with its calming essences.
Basic Rose Petal Tea .
Tea for Two: 1 1/2 c. dried rose petals*, 2 c. distilled water, honey or agave nectar to taste
Tea for a Group: 2 1/2 c. dried rose petals*, 4 c. distilled water, honey or agave nectar to taste
Place dried rose petals in a ceramic tea pot or large mason jar. In a separate container, heat the water until it begins to simmer. Pour the hot water over the rose petals and cover with a lid. Allow to steep for 5 minutes. During this time, the petals will become slightly discolored. Strain the rose petals out and discard or compost them. Serve the tea hot and sweeten with honey or agave nectar to taste.
Spiced Rose Petal Tea
Tea for Two: 1 c. dried rose petals*, 2 tbsp. Assam black tea, 3 pinches of ground cinnamon, 1 pinch of ground clove, 2 c. distilled water, honey or agave nectar to taste
Tea for a Group: 2 1/4 c. dried rose petals*, 4 tbsp. Assam black tea, 5 pinches of ground cinnamon, 2 pinches of ground clove, 4 c. distilled water, honey or agave nectar to taste
Place dried rose petals, tea and spices into a ceramic tea pot or large mason jar. In a separate container, heat the water until it begins to simmer. Pour the hot water over the rose petal mix and cover with a lid. Allow to steep for 4 minutes. Strain the rose petals and tea leaves out and discard or compost them. Serve hot and sweeten with honey or agave nectar to taste.
Hearts on Fire Sandwiches
These unique sandwiches combine the earthy spice of jalapeño with the floral, fruit flavor of apple jelly. The flavors meld nicely with the light flavor of either of the rose petal tea recipes above. Sip your tea while enjoying small bites of the sweet and firey sensation from these open-faced sandwiches.
Ingredients: thin sliced sunflower bread, apply jelly and dried, chopped jalapeño peppers
Use a small heart shaped cookie cutter (or free-hand it) to cut out pieces of the sunflower bread. Then spread each heart with apple jelly and sprinkle with the dried jalapeño peppers.
A Few Final Tips…
You’ll notice that I specify “distilled” water rather than tap water, and I also suggest you sweeten your teas with honey or agave nectar rather than sugar. I do this because both tap water and white sugar can damage the delicate constituents of the rose petals, leading to a loss of the finer flavors of the tea and some of the great health benefits, as well.
Don’t bring the water to a rolling boil, as it can burn the rose petals and give them a bad flavor. If you accidentally overheat the water, let it cool for a few minutes, then pour it over the rose petals.
I hope you enjoy these tasty treats and check back next week for rose petal massage oils!
*Never use store bought rose petals for eating, drinking or body products unless you can verify with 100% certainty that they were grown without pesticides. I always purchase my rose petals (and many of my other herbs) from Mountain Rose Herbs. They offer both rose petals and rose buds that are organic, good quality and appropriate for use in herbal products.
Images are my own.