The Many Wonderful Uses Of The Rose
Any one who is into a spot of foraging will know that the rose hip is a treasure. Containing a whopping 2,000mg of vitamin C per 100g pre processing. And the petals of a rose flower can be used in all manor of things. But did you know that the leaves of roses have a use too?! Well neither did I until quite recently.
While hopping from page to page on the 'tinterweb' I found an absolute gem and I for one cannot wait for the fresh leaves of spring! The rose leaf contains tannings which are also found in tea leaves (camellia sinensis) While the rose leaf has no real flavour to speak of you can combine them with other herbs to make a delicious brew! All you have to do is pick a few fresh rose leaves and combine them in a pot with your herbs of choice.
Perhaps try growing monarda didyma (Bergamot) alongside your roses. Combine the two together for a refreshing home made Earl Grey for free. With the price of a cup at around £3 in a high street café what's not to love about that?
Now I must add that this isn't something to try if you use any chemical sprays on your roses. The same goes for collecting/foraging for rose hips and petals. Ensure you collect them from somewhere you know is chemical-free. Preferably your own home grown.
One thing I have tried myself is rose petal jam. This requires no more than jar, some sugar, some highly scented rose petals and a warm windowsill. That's right no cooking and no nail biting while you wait for the ever elusive setting point and possible burned pan! All you have to do is layer the sugar and rose petals in a jar and leave in a warm window to 'mush' down into a sticky delicious spread!
- Gerturude Jekyll for its mind blowing scented petals
- Rugosa Alba & Rugosa Rubra for both scented petals and juicy fat hips
- Guy Savoy and Henri Matisse both have wonderfully scented petals.
There are many, many more besides so get planting and remember cut flowers are not just for the vase, they're for the teapot too!
By Jack Kitson