Last weekend, my husband and I picked a bunch of wild rose petals to make syrup. I had about 4 cups of petals, twice what the recipe called for so I thought I’d double it. To start with, you use twice as much water, bring it to a boil, add the petals and simmer for 30 minutes (reduce heat as you add the petals). So I did that. The end result was not a great tea. I wondered if I had done something wrong or if we had missed that perfect time for the petals. I just couldn’t imagine it would make a good syrup.
I let it sit overnight after I had strained out the petals. It was this dingy brown sour liquid. We had worked so hard so I thought – maybe I could turn it into jelly. It still had a hint of rose and jelly has a tendency to just taste sweet. We could use it for glazing or something.
I pulled out the cookbooks and looked for a recipe that used tea. My “normal” tea jelly recipe used apple or white grape juice and I didn’t have any. Being that this could completely fail, I didn’t want to spend any more money on the experiment.
In my Ball Canning book, I found a recipe for mint jelly. I had all the ingredients so why not.
The catch was I had too much liquid. Even doubling the jelly recipe (which I did), I had twice as much tea as I needed. So I boiled it down. All that boiling did something miraculous. That dingy brown became a beautiful jeweled red color and the sour flavor went away. Okay, maybe we’re on to something.
So I boiled my almost 8 cups of tea down to 3 1/2 cups. Once I had the right amount, I put the tea in a large saucepan or soup pot (go bigger than you think because I always end up nearly boiling over because I think I have a big enough pot). To that I added 4 tablespoons lemon juice and 7 cups sugar. Always use bottled lemon juice in canning recipes because it has consistent acidity.
I should note that this particular jelly comes together very quickly so at this point, cut the top off the liquid pectin and get it ready.
So bring that to a boil over high heat, a good hard boil that won’t subside as you stir. Add the pectin, making sure to get all of it. Boil a minute. I’m never sure I cook it hard enough because I always have to remove the pot to keep it from boiling over. And I never learn.
Once the time is up, let sit for a moment so that the foam reduces. From what I understand, removing the foam is about correct head space. Leaving a little won’t cause a problem. So letting your jelly sit for a minute or two gets rid of most the foam. I, personally, don’t like to waste the jelly that you remove with the foam.
Pour into jars. I was thinking it needed a 1/2 inch head space but it’s actually 1/4 inch so my jars have a little more space than recommended. However, it takes a lot for a jelly like this to spoil because of all the sugar.
To process – 10 minutes in a boiling waterbath. I always put my freshly done jars in hot tap water and bring that to a boil. Since I am at a higher elevation, I always boil for 15 minutes – sometimes longer because I’m never in a hurry. The longer time has yet to ruin a batch and works to kill more bacteria.
The end result was amazing. It’s light, sweet, with a hint of rose. It’s so beautiful, I am tempted to decorate my house with it. As you can see a double batch got me a total of 80 oz of jelly (7 regular 8 oz jelly jars, 2 wide mouth 8 oz jelly jars and 2 4oz jelly jars).
Wild Rose Petal Jelly (single batch)
1 3/4 cup rose petal tea
2 TB lemon juice
3 1/2 cups sugar
1 pouch liquid pectin
In a large pot, mix together the tea, lemon juice and sugar. Bring to a rolling boil, stirring constantly. Add pectin, making sure to remove as much as possible from the pouch. Continue to stir and boil for 1 minute.
Remove from heat and let sit for 1-2 minutes to reduce foam. Pour into jelly jars. Process in waterbath for 10 minutes. Enjoy!!