Even if you have just a few roses you can complement them with good quality organic dried rose petals, together with good rosewater, as I have done for many years, in order to make some hauntingly aromatic jam to serve with fresh cheese, with ice cream, or with yogurt, and of course with the light yogurt mousse that our guests love!
Makes about 1 1/2 cups (375 ml) jam
5-6 packed cups fragrant rose petals or whatever amount of petals you manage to gather, plus 1/3 cup crushed, dried organic rose petals
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 -1/3 cup rose water, to taste
If using fresh rose petals, rinse and dry with paper towels. Sprinkle with about 1/2 cup sugar and massage with your fingers to wilt and soften the petals. Let them macerate and release all their fragrance for 1-2 hours, or cover and refrigerate overnight.
Bring the water and the rest of the sugar to a boil in a saucepan, add the rose petals (wilted fresh and/or dried) and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the petals are tender. Add the lemon juice and 1/4 cup rose water and simmer 5-10 minutes longer, stirring often, until the syrup thickens somewhat. I don’t bother to make it too thick. Turn off the heat, taste, and add more rose water, if you like. The result is not going to be a thick jam, but more like a fragrant sauce.
While the jam simmers, place 2-3 small (1/2 cup) jars (not the lids) in the oven and heat at around 180ºF (80º C) for 30 minutes.
When the jam is ready, fill the jars almost completely with the boiling jam and close the lids, which will seal as they cool.