Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Dried Rose Petals... and the time I plucked all the roses in my garden.

What is in the soil here?? This rose was the size of my hand!!

So... I've been known to do some pretty out there things in the name of food. I once went to Dundee with John only to have his eyes bug out at the 1kg of fresh garlic I was bringing back from the Asian supermarket to make my own garlic paste. I haven't done that in a while, there were days when my fellow biology classmates could smell me coming from a mile away so it seemed like a good idea to stop.

Since buying the Honey & Co.Baking book I have been obsessed. I've gone through it atleast once a day,lovingly stroking the pages in a mildly disturbing yet eerily accurate Gollum-esq manner. I've been a kid in a candy store, scrambling to figure out what to try first. There aren't too many crazy ingredients featured in the book, yet living on a student budget you have to be prudent about spending on exotic ingredients. I shopped around for ages before buying some rose water and orange blossom water, scouring the internet to save as much as I could. I've just finished shelling a bag of pistachios by hand cause it worked out a little cheaper than ready shelled nuts (next time I won't bother, turns out the shells make up half the weight of the bag so you get a lot less anyways =.=;). In a mildly thrifty haze I was looking up the price of rose petals online when it suddenly hit me... YOU have roses in the garden, Mallini.

Ok...so I didn't actually plant them. But it seems a shame to waste if all they're going to do is look pretty till they fall off and die, no? Might as well put them to good use!

So I plucked 3 of the largest blooms there were, and got to drying them. I have to say it is a mildly tedious process to save £1.99, but if you have a bit of time and Mock the Week playing in the background it can be a pleasant experience.

Rose petals laid out to dry.

A couple of tips, don't use any petals that have turned/ are turning brown because that will cause your final product to be completely brown as well. If it just has one or two brown spots, it is worth just tearing those bits off. You want to submerge the petals in a tray of water, just to clean off any nasties that may be on them. Even after doing that you'll still have to pay attention and look out for the tiny mites that wander around. You don't want those ending up in your cooking. Finally, dry the petals by patting them with some kitchen towel first before laying them out to dry. If you lay them out damp, there's a good chance they won't dry out properly and will just go moldy. Lay the petals out on clingfilm covered trays so that they have some space between them, and leave them in an airy place that has plenty of indirect sunlight. I put the trays in our conservatory and turned on the dehumidifier to help dry them out faster.

My petals took about 2 days to dry completely, thanks to the dehumidifier. Don't be tempted to store them away before they're completely dried out and crispy, or else the petals will just go moldy later on.

And that's it! It really was amazing that these shrank to about 1/4 of their original size. They smell quite faint...not so much like roses but like grass. :-/ I don't know if that's because they had to dry for such a long time, or if the commercially dried ones are further perfumed as part of the process. The colour of the petals do intensify upon drying, and they're going to add lovely pops of colour to whatever you put them in. So now I've now got a small jar full of dried rose petals to play around with! Stay tuned, it won't be long till they're used!

All those petals into one wee jar...

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