apparently i'm on some kind of flower jam bender. after all the fun with lilac, and with the collaboration of my garden, ta-da. rose jam. (if i wasn't so very tired, i'd put a few exclamation points after that ta-da, but in my current state the sight of a cold cosmo appearing out of thin air couldn't provoke a tingle of excitement, and that's all i have to look forward to momentarily). of course the most fragrant of them, the red, velvet ones died away as i was looking for recipes. and while we're here, let me tell you: i couldn't find one i liked. this jam is a dessert in itself, the old-fashioned preserves served with a tall frosty glass of water. i want jam. jam i can spread on toast on copious amounts, that won't make my teeth fall out the next day. that won't make me feel there's not enough water in the world to quench my thirst. those preserves - together with the green walnut preserves - were a thrill when i was six. now, not so much. so i've pretty much had to wing it.
don't ask what kind of roses i used. i'll say pink. i'm as clueless as they come, i have no idea about species. i used some orange and red ones that were very fragrant. but i didn't have a lot of those, so i bulked it up with some pink ones. thankfully you don't need their latin names to make them into jam.
one important thing is to use flowers that have not been sprayed. you also need to cut the lower white part of each petal, as it can render your jam bitter. you can snip the whole flower with scissors, you don't have to do it petal by petal. (i only thought of it rather accidentally, towards the end. sigh.) that's why it's not recommended to work with white roses - you'll never know where the white spots begins.
as i wanted something that's not terribly sweet, i used the zest of two lemons, in addition to the juice. it's not tart, but it has a nice acidity to it, and the zest only enhances the fragrance. i also added some mint, not enough to make a statement, just enough to bring another note, to make you wonder. i considered adding a few white peppercorns to the mix, but look at it. it's the uber princess treat. no way my daughter would not pierce my eardrums if she couldn't have it.
so here's how you get four 10 oz jars of this amazing jam. get 5 cups, packed, of petals into a pot, and pour 5 cups of water over them. then add 2 cups of sugar, the juice of a lemon, the zest of 2, finely grated, and a ts of vanilla extract and stir. bring to boil and then simmer for 20 minutes. add 4 sprigs of spearmint. simmer 10 minutes more. remove mint and discard. add 2 pouches liquid pectin while stirring constantly. bring to a rolling boil - one that no amount of stirring can simmer down - and cook one minute, stirring the whole time. remove from heat and pour into clean, hot jars. sterilize or keep refrigerated.
as it often happens with me, as it was time to add the pectin i find there's not enough powdered stuff, and not enough fluid stuff either. so i used 1 liquid pouch, and 1 tb powdered, dissolved in the juice of a small lemon. probably 2 tb should suffice, if you're using dry pectin. if you're very cool, you can make your own like celia, and never have to use cheap tricks like that. you can also put the petals with the sugar and a bit of water in the food processor before cooking. but you should know the petals melt down and add nice texture, so it's entirely not necessary.
those petals strewn about? we'll talk about them tomorrow.
p.s.: that label on the jar, that looks like it might've been made by a blind bat (which i am, but nevermind)? actually made by my daughter. pretty cool, huh. not bad cursive for 2 1/2. of course, by 'made' i mean she was having a taste test right next to me while i realized i didn't have my glasses on, immediately after sticking it on the jar.